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It's 'Cool' to Not Buy Stuff

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If people viewed their finances rationally, there would not be credit/debt problems...

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Part of my overall market thesis is that we are just now seeing the very early stages of a long-term conclusion to excessive consumption based on psychological and economic factors. Just as excessive consumption is fueled as much by psychological factors (it's cool to wear the latest fashion and own the most recent toys) as the economic factors that give rise to it (too much liquidity, easy credit, devaluation of dollar, destruction of savings incentives via artificially low interest rates), so too is its polar opposite.

Part and parcel with the economic factors that make it no longer possible to continue consumption and take on still more debt are the psychological factors that make it possible to embrace the alternative to excessive consumption. This is very important. If people viewed their finances rationally, there would not be credit/debt problems. Period. Therefore, part of the psychological process that allows us to accept the inevitable end to excessive consumption is the embrace of anti-consumerism trends. This is a long-winded way of saying that it must become "cool" to not buy stuff.

In Monday's New York magazine I ran across a brief review of a book called

"Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping," by Judith Levine. According to the review, "Lefty intellectual and her life partner, Paul, buy "only necessities for sustenance, health, and business" for a year." And in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle I ran across this article on a small Bay Area group of about 50 who have made a vow to "not buy anything new in 2006 - except food, health and safety items and underwear."

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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