According to Joel Hirschhorn, the most powerful people in America are not the politicians, the CEOs, etc. The most powerful people are actually us, especially because of our consumer dollars. It’s not a new idea, but it was interesting to think about it in the way that he points it out. He says:
“Now is the time for all the millions of Americans that make up the 81 percent who see the nation on the wrong track to take action, to think like patriotic revolutionaries and take the power that now only exists with their spending. Sounds simple. All this strategy needs is leadership. Rather than spending so much time and energy on the media-hyped presidential campaign, we the people should demand that someone step forward to inform and mobilize consumers to become powerful citizens by using their spending as the ultimate populist political weapon.”
Easier said than done, but a good reminder nonetheless. When I was watching the Super Bowl this year, one of my friends said he wondered what would happen “if everyone turned off their TVs during the commercials.” Hirschhorn’s article made me think about that. I tend to think that the people are powerful because every social movement in history has happened because of collective action, but it is valuable to remember our power as consumers in this capitalist society. I keep trying to remind myself of this when I look at those dope ass limited edition pair of kicks I want or some other shit, I really need to practice some restraint.