My problem with "The Story of Stuff"

Was watching the Colbert Report lately and happened to catch Annie Leonard on there. If you don’t know, Leonard is the creator of the hit Youtube info-video, The Story of Stuff, of which I think there is also an abridged version available. Colbert’s interview with Leonard is available at her website: and on Colbert Nation. She also has a “Story of Bottled Water” out now.

The problem with Annie Leonard, though, is that she perceives the problem (out-of-control cyclical consumption) but doesn’t address the root causes. Basically, she says, “Stuff is great, but we shouldn’t treat it like junk - we should treasure it instead of continuously replacing it.” That’s like saying, “Water is great - I’m just opposed to the evaporation / rain cycle.” If everyone were to do what Leonard suggests and conserve resources, the economy would be f*cked. Factories would close. Unemployment would skyrocket.

And far from saving us, social security and other welfare systems would utterly collapse. This is the facet classic new deal liberals don’t tend to see - socialism is utterly dependent on the very cycle Leonard condemns and liberals in general despise.

What Conservatives, on the other hand, don’t realize is that the American / British economies weren’t in the tank back in the 70’s because of liberalism - it was because our economy was still running on a ‘per need’ basis. Technology could provide abundance and efficiency - the problem was, people pretty much had everything they needed (I should say, those with MONEY had everything they needed. Those without were still screwed.)

So in comes business with the answer: use recent innovations in the field of psychology to figure out how to overhaul the human psyche. Basically, TRAIN us into the behavior Annie Leonard so innocently observes, IE making repetitive consumption the central purpose / function of our lives.

BINGO. The Reagan/Thatcher “Revolution”.

It’s all in the outstanding BBC documentary, “The Century of the Self”, which is in my opinion the most important documentary ever made. Interested people should also watch Chris Martenson’s “The Crash Course” and the vimeo presentation, “Awakening” to understand the repercussions of and prognosis for all this.

The Century of the Self:
The Crash Course: … ee-beliefs