Driving through Arizonans nature I begin to understand something about the American consumerism.
First of all this land is big. Very big. It seems everything is available in masses. And I am not talking about the filled shelves in the supermarkets, I am talking about the nature. Endless forest, long rivers, huge mountains, wide desert ... and still everywhere you "go to" it is touristy as hell and then again it seems as if you just walk away from the street you will find a wild and dangerous wild-life - far away the from plastic eagles sold at the sidewalk.
The United States of America already build something we still have trouble with in Europe. Any state in USA is united by the fact that its people understand themselves as Americans.
This sounds very simple according to the fact that this is one country. But actually it is not.
I repeat. Its a huge and empty country!
(Something which is important to me never to forget and or to determine: Of course this is also due to the fact that the first settlers after Columbus did a pretty need job clearing this county from its original people - a harmful people killing which is way to underestimated in my opinion.)
People today, from east to west, understood to supply each other with goods from their region. And different than in Europe, it is not something which is agreed on trade agreements, which puts one country above another, its agreed about the good of one people. From east to west, covering a huge region, of this rich and diverse continent - all of the people feel themselves as Americans, no matter how different their lifestyle is.
(Leaving out Indian Reservats) Today American Staates seem pretty untied by their national pride. And according to their nature they have a lot, a lot, lot of everything. There is no little forest with a little bit of wood, there is a big forest with a lot of wood. Cotton fields in the Staates are as big as nowhere else in the world. Its simply possible to grow, produce and buy in masses due to space. Seeing this, it becomes natural to think big with nearly any other product as well. If you making Donuts for California isn't just fair to make them for New York too? And while you able to make them in California and to bring them to New York, why not making them for the rest of the world also?
So another point: it seems Americans are used to diversify in working, for the same reason they are also used to the fact to be supplied by everything and consuming becomes a good thing: The farmer in Kentucky needs to sell his crops anyway.
Well, to me this a very new perspective. Because so far I judged the consuming behavior of Americans very harsh. I thought it's all about wasting: buying and throwing away too easily, not seeing value in the things they use.
Now I start understanding that their way of living makes actually sense in their country. The bad in this is that Americans tend to expect that the rest of the world is able to produce and consume in the same way. This seems to work out of the consuming part in Europe but not for the producing one.
Europe misses on space and the United Staates missing on people/workers. Countries like in India must have looked to an American like a endless supply of workers. America, a huge country with less people and a lot of land. India, a huge country crowed by people begging for work.
What happens is that companies outsourced labour, still using own recourses.
Because of different culture and economy this relation started with a big gap of expectation and developed into a sick system about valuing labour.
Labour, done by humans, does not stand in relation to the value of resources of the land anymore - especially while one is happening in front of your house and the other one is done far away at places they call third-world-country.
The unemployment rate of the Staates is very high, but finding jobs people would like to work in is hard. Bringing actual production like sewing back to the country is too expensive. Paying an American worker in a way that he can live by his wage in America, with American consumerism makes a T-shirt incredible expensive and couldn't compare with the ones done outside of the States.
Not paying right to the third-world developed with globalization and overrating economy. Advertising also played a big part in this. Circumstances in these third-world-countries were long time explained in many ways like people there didn't asked for more and as a good seller you always ask for less (economy laws...), living-costs are lower there, they don't need more, they have a different way to consume, without this work they don't have other options of work...
Now imagine none of this would be true and the lifestyle of a third-world-country is like this only because they didn't had the opportunity to have a different style of consumerism yet...
No matter what, it comes down to that:
Clothes are too cheap done by outsourced workers. And people in the Staates consume too cheap, which is why they consume so much. Everything seems endless in this huge county with this wide landscapes - not seeing that the rest of the world is not that empty or rich of recourses.
In my opinion this is the turning point. If the USA would bring back their own production, prices of labour-based goods like clothes would change and this would have an affect of consumerism, expectations and value of these things.
It could be as simple as that. In Europe you can not argue that easily. Countries are too small, cultures and environments are too different to care for themselves. If Germany brings back their own production in clothes they still would face problems like not having the right weather to grow cotton for instance. Turkey has. Still Europe, not partner of the European Union and very different thinking of people belonging together, caring for each other.
It comes back to where I started: Its awesome that the USA united his states and work in the way they did. This has an incredible huge potential to change!
So if I can make a wish, and I will for 2017, that one day in history economy, consumerism, culture and global trade change so much that the value of labour gets back in balance with the value of nature-based goods, a world where all of us become united and produce and supply for each other: one valuing the wood from someone's forest as another one is valuing the work of sewing clothes - than this world would be a better place, a place I would love to experience while my lifetime.