We have read about how there were near-riots by shoppers to get into stores on Black Friday.
What if we were in a major crisis? What if these people could not afford to buy necessities? How much self-restraint would they show?
Robert Ringer has offered some sobering thoughts. Ringer is a libertarian. He is the author of the best-selling book of the 1980s, Looking Out for Number One. I have known him for 30 years. He is a good marketer. Like all good marketers, he understands people’s motivation.
The shopping mantra for American consumaholics this year is, “We know the future is hopeless, but we’re not going to allow the bad economy to ruin our holiday season.”
He’s right. The shoppers are ready to spend, despite the obvious vulnerability of the U.S. economy.
During the three-day Thanksgiving shopping marathon, some consumaholics were punched, elbowed, stabbed and even shot. You have to admire the brave men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to get their fair share of discounted playthings that they desperately need to keep their gray matter anesthetized.
Then he asks a crucial question:
If none of this phases you, try imagining what these lost souls will be like when they’re on the hunt for the basic necessities of life: little things like food, water and weapons. But that could be two or three years away; there’s no sense in their getting exercised about it right now. Today, focusing on discounted Xboxes takes all the energy they can muster.
Here is their problem: “They are very materialistic, they are angry about what they don’t have and they have no qualms about resorting to mob violence.”
To get wealth, you must create it first. You don’t get something for nothing.
The reason the Western world is broke is because it doesn’t have a workforce that is willing to work at wages that are competitive with non-Western nations. And the reason workers are unwilling to accept internationally competitive wages is because they can afford to be choosy. Unemployment benefits, food stamps and other forms of welfare remove the motivation to work at any job that is available to them, at whatever wage is being offered, in order to feed and clothe their families.
Speaking from personal experience, the two threats that motivated me to work so hard early in my career were homelessness and starvation. But these two factors no longer motivate people who are unemployed, because the government forces those with wealth to provide food, clothing and shelter to those who don’t have the necessities.
With these factors removed from the survival equation, people can afford to camp out at Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart for days on end and elbow, stab, shoot and pepper-spray those who would stand in the way of their getting their fair share of stuff at the lowest possible prices.
Then who is poor in the United States? Ringer provides this list. It is provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Forty-three percent own their own homes.
- Eighty percent have air conditioning in their homes.
- Almost 75 percent of poor households have a car, and 31 percent have more than one.
- Ninety-seven percent have a color television set and 62 percent have cable or satellite TV.
- Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens.
Here is the problem in the West:
The problem is that the Western world — from Greece to California, from Italy to New York — is running out of wealth. That being the case, the masses are fully prepared to vote for politicians who will assure them that their benefits will not be cut — provided they aren’t drunk, stoned, dead or in jail on Nov. 6 .
Now hear this: There is no constituency for cutting entitlements!
What does that mean? It means a worthless U.S. currency, which in turn means that, ultimately, the masses will not have the resources to take part in those midnight pepper-spray riots on Black Friday.
It means big trouble.
To see what he thinks we will be facing, read the entire article.