Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The 2016 Alternative Christmas Message.

This intermission web-log typically takes a periodic break from its central raison d'etre - presently Brazil's increasingly 'glocal' auto-sector – to offer its typical annual 'Alternative Seasonal Message'.

[NB Before doing so, obvious condolences to those affected by the recent tragic apparent 'retributional act' in Berlin. An undeserved unfortunate shadow has been momentarily cast upon the good name of Scania Trucks].

This intermission web-log simply seeks to highlight that whilst, for good reason, news reports shock, the foundations of Christian morality have been under a broader cultural attack from within (far more so than from outside) for many decades; the results obvious and spanning much.

Examples being: many adults' extended immaturity, resultant poor child-rearing, ravenous materialism, self-centredness, loss of balanced critical thinking, egos built upon over-intellectualised manufactured ideologies and so identities, thereafter power-seeking politicisation, much increased 'group-think' to enact sliding-scale 'activism' (open, hidden and indeed criminal) against 'the (seemingly) oppressive other'. 

As many recognise, the once conservative values which strengthen nations and continents have been decaying because of such trends to inevitably create a very fractured society.

All too ironically Donald Trump's win had more to do with the fact that the majority who populate the 'Fly Over States' of America have closer conservative alignment to devout Southern Baptist Christians (White or Black), who themselves in turn ironically have 'values' that relate more closely to most Muslims than the much encroached far left.

In short, it was recognised that the centre-ground civil aspect of 'civilisation' was so subsumed that even the tenets of basic reasonableness, fairness and decency was at risk of becoming lost.

The action has caused a major reaction and there is now a resurgence of 'the quiet (wo)man' against the evident social fragmentation and shattering of the last three decades by overly vocal grown mass of self-identifiers, many of whom actually lead relatively privelidged lives compared to those truly suffering 'under the radar' and so forgotten.

An improving US economy that should see the lives of the truly long- disaffected, conservative majority improve. But undoubtedly a flashpoint was reached via the appearance of Trump, so giving voice to their socio-economic frustration and societal disaffection.

The acute irony of course being that the 'reviled' bankers will have greater power still as presidential aids and advisors, with in turn, examples of greater "LGBTQ" representatives now seen at the top of the investment banking world, as previous seniors move into influential corridors of power.

Those disaffected in the West themselves seek ideals, and recognise that very unfortunately, long ago Christmas shifted from its original spiritual intent of higher reflection and toward that of little more than a much condensed, cultural event.

The iconography having lost its emblematic meaning, or long since re-orientated to absorb political, national or commercial interests.

Holland's 'Schwartz Pete' (helper to Santa Clause) was created in its colonial times to better absorb Africans and Indonesians into Dutch culture. Father Christmas' red and white suit arrived thanks to 1920s Coca-Cola press and poster advertising. Whilst the Christian Cross has more emotional relevance to young video-gamers in the guise of an anti-Muslim warrior monk than the sanctity of a church alter.

[NB The hatred embued by game play thereafter soaked into the minds of the unemployed, under-employed and more intellectually susceptible, so agrevating cultural clash']. 

The fact is that the “holy-days” are a shadow of their former incarnation.

Instead, the true social relevance behind the Xmas period itself is regards to basic socio-economics; spanning from the end of year wish for a boost to overall national growth statistics, through to the norms of manic shopping, preparation, organisation and over-idealism – with all its attendant pettiness. So denying true spiritual connectivity and philosophy.

The true standard advantage then is that the Season should be the usual sizeable boost to the national economy, thus supposedly of advantage to all those across the economic spectrum.

However, UK consumer spending statistics have recently trended downward, with approximately a -2% drop YoY amongst the major supermarkets and high street retailers. Which itself is of concern when broad national growth measures have been trending upwards, albeit at a measly 0.4 - 0.5%.

This is then of concern.

This may well be because people continue to pay-down their personal debt, or having done so, prefer to (instead of spending unquestioningly) build what they can in terms of a small cash-cushion in still uncertain times.

This understood, there is still concern.

In decades past the start of any new economic cycle might well see such blips as a generation of 20-somethings shift from one phase of life into another – singlehood / marriage / family – so foregoing personal consumption and celebratory consumption so as to save for deposits toward the ideal of their own home.

But the general steadiness of apartment and house prices keeps such a dream out of reach for many, especially given the over-hang of student-debt, the delayed phase of initial consumer gratification (goods and experiences) the increasing the tendency toward single-hood so as to enjoy such 'delayed gratification', and critically the high levels of separation and divorce, with also the emergence of often (in reality) shorter-lived (non-traditional) relationships within the critical 20-something / 30-something phase; as people of whatever gender and orientation become increasingly dissatisfied with previous long-term choices, or indeed choose a more erratic 'menu-based' lifestyle.

Thus, with many of the traditional 'white picket-fence' conventions cast aside, and such greater focus on 'YOLO' (you only live once) attitudes, any such consumer-spending blip as now measured becomes harder to qualify.

Either the money just isn't there for many individuals, and / or those individuals with potential spending prowess have become far more cautious about their futures.

However, such a time should be used to conject whether such signs of socio-economic change could indeed underpin a favourable sea-change in consumer spending, that could be to the advantage of the UK at large.

Essentially a turnabout from the 'Primark' era of low quality in high quantity purchases enabled by a 'cut to the bone' (and sometimes slave-like) global supply chain, toward what could be termed a 'Pride-Mark' future of domestically produced goods and services of higher quality purchases in lesser quantity.

[NB the use of the term 'Pride-Mark' with no relevance to the gay community's use of the word; simply continuation of its historic normative use].

In short, fewer annual purchases of better quality, so as to proffer greater physical, emotional (and so intrinsic) reward. 'Considered Consumerism instead of 'Crass Consumerism', where discernment supercedes proliferation, and gratification comes directly from expectations and appreciation, instead of the now entrenched tendency toward immediate purchase satisfaction; which itself masks so much social discontent.

Economic growth obviously depends upon the creation and satiation of people's needs, wants and desires, yet the reality of the massive schism between (consumer) idealism and (societal) reality has never been greater in the West since the Great Depression of the early 1930s.

The after-effects of the 2008 Financial Crisis remain a decade on, with unfortunately an increased misalignment of societal and social perception between the sexes, races and critically the younger, the middle-aged and those older.

As the US heads toward expected protectionism – setting off a possible worldwide trend amongst other nations (Britain looking to the Commonwealth) - the time has come to fundamentally re-imagine the image that more locally grown and better attuned 'glocal' consumerism should take.

A deeply philosophical perspective is needed that can engender both mono-cultural and multi-culturally inspired consumer solutions.

To prompt new everyday value creation and drive economic impetus, better quality (of much in life) must now be put above mere quantity of arbitrary (almost OCD-like) purchasing habits.

To this end...

“Less Shopping...More Schaupenhauer”.