I can probably make this very simple without simplifying things to the point of banality. So here goes:
By the time World War II ended, America had more productive capability than the entire rest of the world combined. We had the largest economy the world had ever seen and it was cooking on all four burners. In other words America’s ability to supply was unprecedented.
The same could be said for our demand. Millions of soldiers were being de-mob-ed and after four years of war—and a decade of Depression before the war—demand for things—for houses, cars, clothes, children, etc. had never been higher.
Things were, in a word, overheated.
The policy makers and plutocrats that run our country didn’t even tap on our supply and demand brakes. They kept the engines of production and consumption running at full throttle. Fueled of course by the engine of cheap credit and cheap money.
About 20 years ago I read a long interview in “The Wall Street Journal” with John Updike. Updike said that the central problem with Rabbit Angstrom and all America is that we do not cotton to the word “enough.” There is never enough. There is always the desire for the insatiable “more.”
Some of that desire for more is created by us in the advertising industry. The constant blaring of messages that proclaim we haven’t enough. We do some of that. We all feed the beast—the all-consuming consumption machine.
Things seem different here in New Zealand. The nation has fewer than five million people and in the scheme of things New Zealand is a small economy.
Last Monday I went with my wife and daughter to see Paul Simon and Rufus Wainwright in concert in Auckland. There were no ads on my ticket stub. No giant logos festooning the stage. No blared out “thanks to our sponsors” before, during and after the show.
No, it was just a concert. An event staged so you can hear music.
Not what we do too often in the States.
Stage an event so you can shout commercials.