The “Occupy Wall Street” movement makes the distinction between shopping locally, and shopping for products where big banks and corportations are involved. If you do your holiday shopping at a supermall or a chain store, you are participating in the financial markets on some level. If you shop at a neighborhood shop that doesn’t have an international logo hanging over the front door, but rather people working there whom you know from living life in your community, chances are that a high percentage of the money you pay to the proprietor will come back to your community, and be spent in your community, right before your very eyes. Estimates on the amount of money that comes directly back into your community when you spend a dollar at Walmart is 50 cents. The other 50 cents disappears into the money markets, into the great casinos in the sky, into investments and mysterious financial instruments, metals and commodities, gambling, and so forth. The accumulation of capital by the one percent is so profound at this time that it has corrupted our governments, and even corrupted our holidays.
Shopping local — “localujah” as we say at the Church of Stop Shopping — from traders who have gathered their products personally, are modern-day artists. Macy’s and Walmart and Lowe’s are not artists at all — they’re merely investors. It’s irresponsible, in the year 2011, to be merely a consumer; we must not aid and abet this economy. Corporations are not making prosperity and making jobs — the American people are making prosperity and making jobs, and doing it quietyly by creating partnerships with our neihgbors, starting tiny business, and building new start-ups out of our garages. There is a quiet revolution happening in our country.
Rev. Billy Talen is an activist and preacher for the Church of Stop Shopping.
Reach Arts Editor Juliet Linderman at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-8309.