Black Friday may be a fitting day to start a blog on political economy. A day of extreme consumerism, a “working holiday” for many in the service sector, an outlet for anger and violence played out across store aisles and parking lots. At the same time, also increasingly a day of protest, of working people ready to say “enough!” even in the face of serious repercussions. It is a day when the global capitalist economy shows a bit more of its true face. This is the much-vaunted Western consumer, often poor and in debt, racing to buy the baubles produced in the global South by her even poorer counterparts…so that the profit engine can keep churning, GDP can keep growing and those like the Waltons can keep lining their pockets.
I was motived to write this blog entry after seeing too many news stories, images, Facebook posts and conversations of the “look at these stupid poor people trampling each other” variety. Today is an easy day to be smug. Sure, people don’t have to trample and fight with each other over trinkets. (more…)