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This post was derived from  a phrase in “The Call of the Toad,” in which novelist Gunter Grass writes of “succumbing compulsively, as it were, to the principle of capitalist accumulation.”  Consumers swarm the malls like locusts buying up everything in sight, mostly stuff they don’t need.  The buying frenzy creates jobs; the jobs beget more consumers; who, in turn, buy more stuff they don’t need – none of this activity adding to happiness or enriching existence in any meaningful way – simply an endless cycle of consumption.  Should we not ask ourselves, to what purpose a life, to seek vibrancy in what is high and noble, or to sleep-walk through our consuming diversion? 

(To tune of, “Who Will Buy?”  by Lionel Bart, from musical show, “Oliver”)

What I buy
Hangs in my closet
Why I buy?
I don’t know why
I have eyes
I see and I want it
I’m a creature
Taught to buy

I get high
Wanting new fashions
Firms supply
Knowing my need
Won’t deny
These insecure passions
We’re a culture
Built on greed

Yet this consuming weaves no pleasure
Leaves me always lonely here
With what I’ve lugged home as a treasure
That I will throw away next year

What I buy
Dangles on my wrist
No alibis
Won’t try to resist
Spend don’t save
The board-rooms encourage
Like a slave who’s
Soul has died,
Lives a creature
Taught to buy

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

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