Alcohol and gun sales surge, Budget is a moral document, Darker side to the Indian economy, Essentials around the world, Jim Wallis, Pandemic Shopping, What we deem essential, What will your purchases buy you?
What a country considers essential tells us a lot about its culture.
BBC, Coronavirus: The unexpected items deemed ‘essential’
“Pandemic shopping” has become the term to describe obvious trends in purchasing that exposes what a culture values. In Canada sales of alcohol, coffee, cleaning products, and family planning products surged. Pete Evans reported:
“With going out to a restaurant or bar no longer an option, grocery store sales of alcohol were up 76 per cent in the third week of March, suggesting Canadians were buying more products than usual “for diversion and comfort” inside their home [Stats Canada]…
Another product category that saw a surge was family planning products. Pregnancy tests and condoms were flying off the shelves for the first few weeks of March, but by April sales had gone back to more normal levels.”
Meanwhile Around the world
Take France for example: “Day one of the lock down and one could not help but notice that the only shop that was open on the entire length of the Champs-Elyees in Paris was… a chocolate shop!”
Cheese is still a big item in Holland.
Interestingly enough in India, “the information technology sector has been exempted from what is otherwise a stringent shutdown with a view to keep running those networks that are crucial to communication, banking, and governance.”
But there is a darker side of the Indian economy. BBC correspondent Soutik Biswas reported a manic rush on liquor sales. This is not unique to India of course, since there have been reports of a spike in alcohol sales around the world. But:
“India consumes more whiskey than any other country in the world – about three times more than the US, which is the next biggest consumer. Nearly one in every two bottles of whiskey brought around the world is now sold in India. When worldwide booze consumption dipped in 2018, India partly drove a 7% uptick in the global whiskey market.”
Not surprisingly in the U.S., beside many liquor stores, gun stores stayed open where sales surged to record levels.
How we use, invest, or otherwise spend money exposes what we value. An honest look at our household spending can tell us what we hope our purchases will buy us.
“A Budget is a Moral Document“
That was the opening statement Jim Wallis gave at a news conference and prayer vigil of church leaders across from the steps of the U.S. Capitol in March 2017. Wallis wrote:
We represented a wide spectrum of the Christian families of America — Protestant, Catholic, evangelical, African-American, Hispanic, Pentecostal, Orthodox. We were there to commit ourselves to form a “circle of protection” (also the name of our broad coalition) around the poor and vulnerable who are at great risk in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. “Let me say it again: A budget is a moral document,” I repeated with energy and passion.
This was originally a statement of principle from the religious community — said to politicians a decade ago. Some politicians now quote it, and even some media pundits point to it; but it was a religious statement from the beginning.
Any budget is a moral statement of priorities, whether it’s a budget created by an individual, a family, a school, a city, or a nation. It tells us, mathematically, what areas, issues, things, or people are most important to the creators of that budget, and which are least important.”
Your Moral Document?
What does your personal budget or spending plan reveal to you about your values? To paraphrase the opening statement:
What a person considers essential tells us a lot about the person.
Very revealing, Rusty. Thanks and keep healthy!
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R.H. (Rusty) Foerger said:
Yes it is. We don’t often have someone review our own “moral document” to assist us to scrutinize our privatized decisions about what we consider “essential.” Instead we see it in trends and statistics – such as the chocolate shops in France. Yes, and may your health be an avenue to enrich others.
Rosaliene Bacchus said:
Excellent post, Rusty. You raise an important issue about our society. I believe that what is essential to each one of us would depend not only on our values, but also on our interests, profession, trade, or hobbies. Books are essential to my profession as a writer/storyteller and my quest for knowledge and wisdom, making my book purchases a big part of my budget.
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R.H. (Rusty) Foerger said:
Thanks Rosaliene. I wrote this to encourage self-reflection on how “we” use money to communicate (to ourselves at least) what we think is essential. On a macro level, to see the increased consumption of alcohol and guns (for eg) is troubling – but in what way should I be troubled? What is this saying about my culture? And in the same way I want to notice what my spending is saying about what I value as it relates to the common good. Like you, I make big book purchases, and like you, I hope to be a conduit rather than a reservoir of knowledge and wisdom. May we be found to share the wealth of our lives. Thanks for your comments.
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