If there is a movie that explains why Trump was elected president of the USA it is the documentary Saving Capitalism by Robert Reich, the former Labor Secretary of the Clinton administration.
It’s Black Friday Weekend 2017 and thousands of people are flooding the shopping centers, alone, with their friends or even as a family outing. Average shoppers spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need to give to people they don’t even like as Stephen Colbert so fantastically describes. Stephen Colbert on Xmas Shopping.
These kind of events, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Xmas Shopping are designed to help shops empty their warehouses at the end of the year and get rid of soon-to-be outdated goods. It happens on the fourth Thursday in November and marks the start of the Xmas season. Known for it’s extreme sales on appliances it attracts a huge amount of people every year and the numbers are increasing. But Black Friday is also known for people being ruthless when shopping or hunting for bargains and there are reports of people being trampled to death even.
In the USA 69% of the population is planning on hitting the stores this Black Friday, 10% more than the previous year. The average shopper spends around 967$ on Black Friday which will amount to an expected total of 682 billion dollars in 2017. An expected increase in spending of 4%.
These numbers are crazy especially when considering how fed up people are with the economy, the government and their personal financial situations. So why do we shop (it’s not only the Americans) like there is no tomorrow and we need a new flat screen TV, microwave and washing machine to survive? Is there a secret way to build a spaceship to mars from Black Friday goods? Or maybe a time machine?
While science fiction might have the explanation a lot of the blame is given to the economic system. The left and many individuals labeled too green or too hippie don’t see Capitalism as the solution but rather the virus that has infected our society. Individualism above community, a career focused life rather than a balanced one including family and community and of course the wish for a big house, two cars and the fancy holidays are seen as results of capitalism.
Documentaries, books and movies show that at the end of the day capitalism only benefits the 1% while leaving more than a billion people struggling for their daily survival in developing countries and in the rich Western world. Time.com found that 73% of Americans never get out of their debt before they die.
But is it really good enough to blame the economic system for the misery of the working class? Robert Reich tells us that our economic problems are man made, and more specifically made by the 1%. They use their political power to suppress the middle class and keep the status quo. Capitalism is misused in Washington and any other political capitol by the policy makers who need to pay back their donors.
This weekend, instead of joining the Black Friday insanity, I am going on a trip through the USA with Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton, to find out how average Americans feel about their economic situation and to understand how the current political disaster has come to be.
- Financial Times: Black Friday: Shopping by the numbers
- The Balance: What Is Black Friday? Sales and Trends
- Time.com: Americans Have So Much Debt They’re Taking It to The Grave
- Our World in Data: Extreme Poverty
- Black Friday Death Count