Although no one is probably going to give two shakes of a mongoose's tail, ideas like this are the brainchilds of idiots imho. I'd go as far as to say it's a noble, but dangerous idea, with no grasp of the practical economic realities we live in. Consumption isn't just the basis for a market economy, but in a sense for *all* economies. Less consumer spending potentially results in a downward confidence spiral, generally a bad day out, even for those strange "anarchists" organizing themselves into groups to support it
On an ideological level, I agree with CT- what is wrong with the availability of consumer goods? Price dictated by the free market allows for choice, competition and availability of everything from basic essentials, to luxury goods, which is I assume, where this protest is directed. The hilarity of the situation is, I could do my shopping on the previous day, spending like the greedy capitalist pig I am, and yet still adhere to the no-shopping day.
Now, on to the assertion that 20% of the global population consume 80% of global resources- to put things in perspective, human beings comprise less than a thousandth of the nitrogen cycle, and play a part in roughly a millionth (5 millionths if you count global warming) of oxygen and dioxide byproduct cycling. Now that isn't a lot- the world bovine population contributes more. Not to say that we shouldn't take the environment into consideration, this is where NGOs put pressure on governments to find a balance between productivity and sustainability of scarce natural resources. These "greedy 20%", while consuming a great part of global resources, are actually the only
governments even considering
the use of alternative sources of energy. Millions of dollars of R&D and actual investment goes into these technologies every year in California alone.
As for the idea that globalization and MNCs affect the developing world, well, that's where market protection, and sensible trading cooperation comes in. If developing countries' governments want to "sell their souls" to prosperity and consumerism to the detriment of their own people, then it is they who must reform, and they who need to look inward- not
the MNCs or governments selling to them. This is a basic principle of free-market economics- if the product isn't harmful, and people purchase it, don't blame the guy who's selling it
If I were to buy products that I knew would cause long-term destruction of the social fabric in my nation
, I certainly wouldn't protest to the guy selling said products. I would merely refuse to buy them. However, the idea that I should stop spending merely because other nations' governments haven't a clue how economic development proceeds within the boundaries of a sensible international trade partnership, is a preposterous one. A well-defined multilateral trading arrangement that protects fledgling industries in a developing economy is the responsibility of those nations' governments, not of the free market agents making a quick buck on the back of corruption reaching to the highest levels of 3rd world government.
The developed world, on its part, must also make concessions- the renouncement of third world debt is one, the dismantling of ineffective conditional loans from the IMF and World Bank is another, aid should ideally be untied. It must be said, that the develped world has made far greater progress along these paths than the developing world has along its corresponding goals- which include the elimination of corruption, and the stabilization of international trade arrangements. Their power structures are simply to ridden with corruption, devoid of transparency, and void of public conscience to make the right decisions (for the most part).
The idea that the West is to blame for all these evils is a popular one in several decolonized nations, some of them have a case. But most are simply providing an excuse for "their own way of doing things" which is often to the public detriment in their societies. Blaming the corporate world for political ills is an ultra-simplified view of the so-called "evil" of globalization. The same globalization that brought about international law, the United Nations, GATT/WTO and the same globalization that allows NGOs to operate on an international scale with the freedom to express their views. If the message of anti-consumerism includes anti-globalism in its policy line, I reject it utterly, and without reservation.