Open Thread - Consuming Teens: Kids + Money

This a quick trailer from photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield's movie "Kids + Money":

If any of my kids ever want to see purses or clothes that cost "4 digits" they will have to buy it on their own because 4 digits is a lot of weeks worth of eating for many families, ours included. When you consider that 1 of 8 adults and 1 of 4 kids are on food stamps and for too many of them it is their only income, I can't see wasting that kind of money on stuff my kids will rip, wear out, write on with pens and markers and outgrow.

With food-stamp use at a record high and surging by the day, Ms. Bermudez belongs to an overlooked subgroup that is growing especially fast: recipients with no cash income.

About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid — no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay.

Their numbers were rising before the recession as tougher welfare laws made it harder for poor people to get cash aid, but they have soared by about 50 percent over the past two years. About one in 50 Americans now lives in a household with a reported income that consists of nothing but a food-stamp card.

I know that many people can afford to buy those expensive things and do give to charities to help people in need, as well, but the real question is: "Should this really be the way we want things to work?" The amassed wealth at the top of pyramid has a cost, and that cost is often the people in America and around the world that are at the bottom being put in a position of severe poverty.

Over the next week Open Thread may highlight and contrast a few more of the social, economic and environmental problems with this issue, and how "Commercialized America is Consuming You". A little longer excerpt from the movie "Kids + Money" below the fold.

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visit Lauren Greenfield's website and poke around in there a little. She has a lot of stuff on kids and money and another pile of info on the problems with "Girl Culture". Some touching and shocking stuff.

There are so many layers wrapped around the core issue of conditioning kids to consumption as early as possible by the proprietors of Ownership Society, Inc.

But I think your example makes one lesson very clear through a crystal lens.  For kids whose everday worldview is self-reflective yet still suffers tectonic warpage in the gravity-field of a Fortune 500 childhood that is strong enough to bend light into the gray part of the spectrum at the ethical frontier between choices of three- or four-digit handbags, and it was style that mattered.

Imagine how the graphic and audio influences of such messagery get twisted in broadcast over the much larger demographic of non-punky non-rich non-white kids.

I'm kinda thinking that we might make a better society if everyone was being raised by wolves, ya know?!


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

at this point. I was going to move on to the grown-ups, the unsustainable overconsumption and all of the problems that come with it. This is just generalized open thread stuff that could be pieced together later (maybe?) as a kind of accompanying piece for the story of stuff  that unenergy was kind enough to introduce me (US?) to. I got sneaky and went back and added a "Commercialized America is Consuming You" tag to that piece, as well, so it would come up in this little mini-series of open threads.