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The underclass wants to become the overman! - click opera
February 2010
 
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Wed, Dec. 9th, 2009 04:50 am
The underclass wants to become the overman!

100CommentReply

krskrft
krskrft
Wed, Dec. 9th, 2009 10:23 am (UTC)
Re: wtf

Is Japan's consumerism really any big surprise? It is, after all, the second largest economy in the world.

What's worth mentioning is that, while Japan and America are on the same wavelength consumerism-wise, there is far greater access to consumer goods in Japan than in America. in other words, Japan is far more equal in terms of wealth distribution.

Now, one might argue that it doesn't much matter if more people have access to a bunch of useless shit they don't need, but certainly such a society is better off than one in which a disproportionate number are too poor to even really participate in the economy. You know, since money isn't just for buying McMansions and Ferraris, but also for buying things you need like food, paying rent, etc, etc, etc.

Not all mass consumerism is created equal, which is why you can't just paint with a broad brush and say, well Japan is consumerist and America is consumerist, so therefore they're both equally shit.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Dec. 9th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

yes, good point. what's so great about a majority of a populace being able to buy tons of shit they don't need...

and no, not both equally shit...both materialistic/overly-consumeristic societies. why is this such a fucking unbelievable fact???


ReplyThread Parent
krskrft
krskrft
Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
Re: wtf

Yes, both consumerist/materialistic, but with a major difference, which is that access to wealth is far more equal in Japan than in the U.S. Again, this may not mean a whole lot if we reduce consumerism to bitching about people buying McMansions, or whatever the Japanese equivalent would be. But then again, the vast majority of consumerism has nothing to do with that. The problem isn't with pointing out criticisms about Japan. It's with pretending that there's an equivalence where there really is none at all.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

the fact that japan has a more equal distribution of wealth, is hardly an argument against it's hyper-consumerist mindset; in fact, the fact adds to the fact that EVEN MORE people are able to get in on the bullshit game...


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

indeed, the original point wasn't about distribution of wealth, but about how first world places are shameless about their mindless consumerism and are reaping havoc on the world's resources as a result. the fact that this activity is distributed more "fairly" in japan is HARDLY something to tout. "Japan's culture is noticeably materialistic." "Yes, but the mindless materialism is engaged in rather equitably!!!" LOL


ReplyThread Parent
krskrft
krskrft
Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

Did you even read that last bit? You don't only buy unnecessary shit with money. I hate this Puritanical attitude some people have where they'd rather see people go poor than be able to sustain themselves, simply because there's the risk that they'd be subject to the eternal damnation of aspirational consumerism.

And also, the more equally distributed the wealth, the less a culture begins to reflect being designed only for the wealthy to play in. Fewer Ferraris and McMansions, more sensible family cars and middle class housing. Equal distribution of wealth actually helps to curb the most rabid, detestable aspects of consumerism, even as consumerism marches on. And let's all admit, it will march on, whether the majority of people can afford to "play the game" or not. Using anti-consumerist attitudes in order to justify poverty--which almost never has to do with an explicit choice to be anti-consumerist--is despicable.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Fri, Dec. 11th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
Re: wtf

dude, the point of these over-consuming first world places is precisely that they're buying SHIT THEY DON'T NEED. we're not talking about rent and food, and subsistence for fuck's sake. we're talking about CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION. wastefulness, over-consumption, hypermaterialism, importing millions of tons of overseas resources to satisfy their disposable lifestyles. this kind of shit.

and as for the distributed wealth of japan, it's hardly lead to "sensible" tastes. unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the japanese are WORLD FAMOUS for their "tastes" for super-high-end products. it's almost cliche at this point. good god.

WTF? nobody's talking about poverty!


ReplyThread Parent
krskrft
krskrft
Fri, Dec. 11th, 2009 07:17 am (UTC)
Re: wtf

If wealth is more evenly distributed, more people will have access to middle class luxuries, but fewer will have enough money to engage in the stuff that exemplifies overboard materialism (i.e. having entire fleets of luxury cars, yachts, multiple mansions and/or luxury apartments around the world, etc).

What you (or other anons, I'm not sure) seem to be saying is that there is absolutely no distinction between a country with materialism problems that has less economic equality and a country with materialism problems that has more economic equality. Obviously, there is a clear distinction here, though. Just one which you, for whatever reason, deem unimportant.

The entire point of this argument is that you think America/Japan are sinning in the same way, and others of us think it's wrongheaded to simplify things like that.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Fri, Dec. 11th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

no one said overly materialistic "in the same way." but they they both are indeed indicative of wasteful societies with a ravenous appetite for capitalist consumption.

that they have different degrees of wealth distribution is noted and not germane to the above (and original) point.

and, in fact, as has also been noted, that the japanese have a more equitable economic society has not tempered their tastes for conspicuous, over-priced "brands" from around the world. not to mention their (and america's) relentless demand for finite natural resources.

lastly, have you even been to japan??? modest tastes are scarce ; it's the BLING capital of the earth!


ReplyThread Parent
krskrft
krskrft
Fri, Dec. 11th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

But the point is germane, because there's a supposed equivalence being drawn between America and Japan regarding consumerism, when the overarching economic conditions of the two countries are vastly different. To say that the overarching economic conditions are not germane is to say that economic conditions have absolutely nothing to do with consumerism. Which would be a doltish statement, to say the least.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Sat, Dec. 12th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
Re: wtf

but they're BOTH resource-wasteful, hypermaterialist cultures; one where the majority of people can afford to be and one where fewer and fewer people can afford to be.

the fact that japan's wealth is distributed more equitably and they STILL behave in this way makes it even WORSE.


ReplyThread Parent
krskrft
krskrft
Sat, Dec. 12th, 2009 08:20 am (UTC)
Re: wtf

Well, not only are the economic conditions of these two countries pretty radically different, but I'm not convinced that Japan is anywhere near as resource-wasteful as the United States. So that's another area where we can't draw a simple equivalence.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Sat, Dec. 12th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

The Japanese are world-famous for having a hyper-consumerist, hyper-capitalist culture. When you land i n tokyo you realize, "My God, they're mad for it." Puts Americans to shame, really.

The Americans are materialistic too, in their own way. No denying the fact.


ReplyThread Parent
krskrft
krskrft
Sat, Dec. 12th, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

Oh, please. We're talking about urbanism here. As if things aren't just as hyper-consumerist in NYC, LA, Chicago, etc, etc, etc on down the line. Give up.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Dec. 14th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Re: wtf

"Is Japan's consumerism really any big surprise? It is, after all, the second largest economy in the world."

I dont think the original poster meant it's surprising, only that it's lamentable and that both Jp and the US could do much much more in terms of conservation and being less of a burden on the world's resources.


ReplyThread Parent