To Buy or Not to Buy

What a strange series of days we’ve moved through: Thanksgiving Thursday; Black Friday; Shop Small Saturday; buy more on Sunday; Cyber Monday; Giving Tuesday. How ironic that “thanksgiving” and “giving” are the bookends on a series of days during which we are urged to buy, buy, and buy more.

Both advertising and news coverage about these days create an image of US citizens as unthinking, out-of-control shoppers.  Consumerism – an ever-expanding consumption of goods – seems to be the primary purpose of our nation’s economy. 

But what happens to those who do not have the money it takes “to buy, buy, and buy more?”  Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.  In the USA, 1 in 5 children live in poverty.

More than thirty years ago, the Catholic Bishops in the US declared: “All people have a right to participate in the economic life of society. . . .It is wrong for a person or group to be excluded unfairly or to be unable to participate or contribute to the economy.” 

Who in your life is excluded because of poverty?  What steps can we take to help create an economy that serves all the people of our world?

Toni Harris OP
Madison, WI


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