I just read through the blog post from Rob below and I agree with 98% of it. In fact, I argue the same point a lot of the time! But reading it through it made me consider the point that has been raised somewhere on this blog before (I think around this time last year?)
The blog asks us to consider the following questions before making a purchase..."Do I really need it? Or can I do without? If I really need it, then...Can I avoid buying a new one? Can I borrow, share, swap, grow, make, or find it secondhand?"
These questions create an economic dilemma. If we exit the market (rather than just switching to a fairly traded company) then we could do massive damage to damaged people. If we don't spend our money on areas that require our investment, we will continue to be fine, but those poor among us will be left without a market. For example, do I need fair trade chocolate? No, of course not. But by buying it, I support an industry that supports poor people. Do I need this Thai bracelet? No, of course not, but it helped some poor widow scratching a basic living.
Anyway, I am not trying to stir the pot or disagree. I totally think we should be reducing our excess. BUT the savings we make from the reduction of frivolous spending must then be transferred into mission spending or targeted market spending. Our economy is delicate, and as we see in this current economic crisis, when the bubble bursts, a lot of disadvantaged people get hurt. So by all means, do your best to reduce your spending, but lets be careful not to hoard our wealth and our goods sharing amongst our wealthy neighbours.
Hope that is helpful!