Today in part 3 Brandon started with a great paragraph: "In the previous installments of this series, we discussed the hidden and often unspoken crisis brewing within the employment market, as well as in personal debt. The primary consequence being a collapse in overall consumer demand, something which we are at this very moment witnessing in the macro-picture of the fiscal situation around the world. Lack of real production and lack of sustainable employment options result in a lack of savings, an over-dependency on debt and welfare, the destruction of grass-roots entrepreneurship, a conflated and disingenuous representation of gross domestic product, and ultimately an economic system devoid of structural integrity — a hollow shell of a system, vulnerable to even the slightest shocks."
Of course, i don't totally agree all of his terminology. What Brandon calls 'welfare' i call 'wealth re-distribution'. Nonetheless his logic and conclusions are right on regardless of semantics.
The fact is that demand for needless crap is imploding not due to high the minded motives of those few of us folks who see the folly of materialism and live lives of simplicity in response. Instead the implosion is, as Brandon eloquently explains, being driven mainly by spiraling personal debts and underemployment, both of which are in turn driven by systemic inequalities of opportunity and education inherent in extractive capitalism and it's fallacious logic of endless growth.
He says in part 1: "Despite the assumptions in the mainstream media that lower oil prices would result in high retails sales, this fantasy refuses to materialize. Retail sales continue the dismal trend set during the Christmas season of 2014,with the largest decline in 11 months in December, and continued declines in January [as it did in Feb as we now know]. As to why, Brandon says, "Beyond unemployment as a destroyer of consumer demand, there is also personal debt."
In part 2 he focuses more on how imploding demand for needless crap is the driver behind across the board declines in the prices of all commodities and how that rebounds throughout the consumer economy: "...global shipping giant Maersk Line now openly admits that the primary detriment to shipping rates, the reason the BDI [Baltic Dry Index] is falling to historic lows, is because of falling demand in nearly every market; ship supply is secondary. Falling demand for goods came first, the number of unused ships came second. This is the reality."
The size of the drop in consumer demand isn't huge and it doesn't have to be in economics or any system that's balanced on a knife edge. Imagine a teeter-tooter perfectly balanced by huge sumo wrestlers on either side, if a tiny baby climbed onto either lap the results would be 'upending'. The fact that: "a hollow shell of a system, vulnerable to even the slightest shocks" is neither a left or right concept, it's just true.
The message of living simply, of wanting and consuming less may not sell, but it doesn't really have too. In reality we're already seeing how the limits to growth are creating deflation and slow degrowth as a result of both debt and wealth inequality. That drop is now curtailing the demand for all types of commodities including fossil fuels by the manufacturers and shipping industries without consumers having to buy into the concept of choosing less consciously.
Slow degrowth is inevitable in a deflationary world. Avoiding the alternative - a massive environmental and/or financial collapse - can happen through 'co-operative self-limitation' but it can also happen by choosing bread over oreos, needs over wants, by even the most addicted consumer. In a slowly degrowing world where a modest 2%-3% deflationary economic sceneri,o like we're seeing right now in many 'developed' world will lead to another way of being, a way that's in tune with the reality that we - the flora, fauna, microbes, minerals, forces and faeries - are all cousins, all in this together, and that only by destroying our cousins can any one individual or group 'profit' from such inequality.
There is no left or right, they are artificial divisions created by those who wish to enslave us.