4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 4, 2002
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SAM BUTLER THE SOAPB A
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- Signs on businesses in South Korea,
where The Associated Press has reported a
sharp rise in anti-American sentimetn.
Shop till we all drop
JESS PISKOR TIs SPACE NOT FOR SALE
sk pretty much thought is by nd means the absolute science necessity. Both outcomes are by definition
anyone if peo- some people seem to think it is. It is a tool bad. The former will promote an unsustain-
ple are too used by those in power to justify their poli- able, overly materialistic world and the lat-
materialistic and too cies. Its theories are not as definite as real ter will violently and suddenly halt the
focused on consump- scientific theories like gravity and relativi- U.S. economy and bankrupt corporations
tion and most people ty. The economics of liberal, free-market and individuals alike.
will agree. Most people ideology too often ignore reality and fac- So even people who don't agree with
will agree that the tors other than money in pursuit of smooth me that we are already over-consuming
amount of consumption graphs and convincing arguments. should be worried. Why not head this com-
and the drive to buy in Our society as a whole feels we con- ing problem off at the pass? We need to
this country (and most highly-developed sume too much, but our best economic data search for alternatives that won't force
countries for that matter) is too high and in suggests that we need to consume at this consumers to buy more each year. We need
the end, unsustainable. level or greater in order to maintain our to start slowly weaning the economy from
Ask an economics major or someone economic system. Does anyone else see a it's dependence on excessive consumer
from our world-renowned business school problem with that? It seems people try to spending.
and you are more likely to get a different trick us with statistics to prove that we Last Friday was Buy Nothing Day.
answer: that consumer spending drives our should buy more when we already consume Held on that day after Thanksgiving that
economy and any negative change in too much. sends herds of shoppers to kick off the hol-
spending habits will send our economy into Regardless of where people draw the iday buying season, Buy Nothing Day is
a spiral of destruction. According to a letter line, I think everyone and I do mean every- day designed to provide a counter to the
to the editor in yesterday's Daily by Adam one, would agree that their will come a glorification of shopping. Maybe that's a
Southard, an Econ major, "economic analy- point where people consume too much. start. I always thought it was a pretty
sis illustrates the United States is not at its Somewhere, that line exists. benign idea: Take one day to glorify not
optimal (or maximum) level of consump- Maybe, just maybe, our consumption is buying; spread the idea that enjoyment can
tion." In other words, people in the United within the bounds of acceptability. But the be found without purchasing something
States should be getting even more stuff. problem is, next year these economists will new. But I was quite surprised by the way
Not at optimal consumption? You mean tell us we need to consume more than last people responded to the premise of Buy
we can buy more? Why? What more do we year and more the year after that. We will Nothing Day. People seemed threatened, as
possibly need? Last Friday we all set a new be flooded with more and more stuff and though their very lives depended on buying
record by spending $1.26 billion at Wal- rest assured people will buy it in record every day. Stop buying? "Nonsense," they
Mart. Optimal for whom? Could we be numbers, again and again. The demands of said, "What about the sales? What about
buying more? Maybe. Should we be? No. growth and economic expansion will the economy?"
See, that's the problem with the economic require we keep buying more and more. It The vast majority of history, even the
thought spouted out from too many people. will never stop. vast majority of U.S. history, was a time
Sure, maybe economic theory suggests that From this it follows that we will even- where consumption wasn't glorified, where
people could buy more. But ask any real tually (if we are not there already) come up people didn't buy stuff every day. Now
person in the real world and they are quite to one of two barriers: Either we will defi- people and society itself feels threatened by
certain that the focus on consumption is too nitely exceed the limits of responsible buy- one day, one day only, out of the year when
great. ing and move into over-consumption or we don't consume. It's pathetic.
Why is there this dichotomy between before we get there, the U.S. consumer will
what real people think and what economics be tapped out and will be forced to stop Jess Piskor can be reached
teaches? Partly it is a because economics consuming out of personal economic firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Henretty shouldn't find it of the quote with respect to the unborn is be quoted, ("You can quote me on that. But I
incorrect and taking the quote out of context. wish you wouldn't.") I promise to never do it
impossible to hear more than According to this logic any interpretation of again.
a Who in Dr. Seuss book this adage not referring strictly to the Whos is RYAN MCCLARREN
wrong. It is fairly clear that Dr. Seuss was Engineering
referring to more than just the fictional Whos
TO THE DAILY: in the quote in question. I am not arguing for FINALS GOT YOU DOWN?
Having finished reading Aubrey Henret- the interpretation used by the Human Life
ty's latest column (Horton hears a what, Alliance, I am stating my opinion that one FINAL PAPERS GOT YOU
12/3/02) I found it curious that she would can interpret this quote more than the simple
fault others for interpreting the meaning of a way Henretty deems as correct.
text - in this case an Elie Wiesel passage The column abounds with criticism of the
and a Dr. Seuss maxim. practice of quoting statements out of context.
In a column last year (Beyond the banal: This criticism comes in the form of Henretty PROCRASTVNATE IN
First-year seminars exposed, 10/16/ 2001), quoting the offending documents. The quotes COMPARATIVE STYLE.
Henretty uses ad hominem arguments to that she uses in her arguments are out of con-
decry the practice of professors deeming an text themselves. Later in the column she
interpretation of a text incorrect. However, in argues, "It is never OK to take someone's HE E:1T.RIAL BeARD
her latest column she argues that Dr. Seuss's words out of context and doing so kills any
quip: "A person's a person, no matter how credibility the argument might otherwise have WILL HOLD ITS FINAL MEEING
small" can only be interpreted as the words of had." I am not quoting the column out of con-
a cartoon elephant regarding another fictional text either, I suppose she is saying that her
entity. She argues that since Dr. Seuss did not argument has no credibility. I apologize for 6.M..STUDENr PUS. BLDG.
actually name the unborn, any interpretation going counter to Henretty's wish that she not
Fostering constructive debate to sow seeds of peace
BY AVI JACOBSON
We hope to foster an environment where a
constructive debate on the conflict between the
Israelis and the Palestinians can occur on cam-
pus. This is the intention behind the petition
found at www.umichjustice.org, which I encour-
age everyone reading this piece to sign. The res-
olution of the conflict in the Middle-East is
ultimately about the two peoples learning to
peacefully coexist. Therefore the discussion on
campus should not focus on how to destroy one
of the parties, but how the two groups can be
Two weeks ago, a young Palestinian
named Nael Abu Hilail blew himself up on a
Jerusalem-bound bus loaded primarily with
Israeli non-combatants; among the passen-
gers were many children on their way to
school. Eleven people were killed in addition
to the suicide bomber and many more were
wounded. There was a time when the direct
targeting of innocent people was appalling
but now the shear number of such cowardly
attacks has left us jaded.
Palestinian Liberation Organization, the fore-
runner to today's Palestinian Authority, began
in 1964 -- three years before Israel captured
disputed Jordanian and Egyptian lands in the
defensive Six-Day War of 1967.
From personal experience, I can tell you that
this circular argument over who started it can go
on for hours and nothing will come of it. I will
not be convinced that the Palestinians are mere-
ly resorting to terrorism out of desperation and a
supporter of the Palestinian cause will never
believe that Israel's policies are designed to
defend her citizens while trying to minimize
casualties on both sides. At best, on this issue,
we must agree to disagree.
We do see eye to eye on the fact that, both
Israeli and Palestinian people want nothing
more than to lead normal lives and raise their
children in peace. This fact should be founda-
tion of our campus discussion. Unfortunately,
terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad
and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade have become
the spokespeople for the Palestinian cause.
These violent ideologues have managed to scare
all moderate voices into submission through
physical threats and even murder in the Pales-
the perfect example in that it attempts to destroy
the economy of Israel while offering nothing to
the Palestinian people. Signing the petition at
www.umichjustice.org is your chance to say that
you do not support this purely destructive
approach to the conflict. We in the Pro-Israel
community have chosen to invest in peace
rather than to divest from democracy. As stu-
dents at the renowned University of Michigan,
we believe that it is only appropriate to foster
this peace through education: at the Hebrew
University in Jerusalem, students from around
the world come to learn and work together.
At the Hebrew University, Israelis and
Palestinians have been able to work together
under the auspices of academia. For that very
reason the Sinatra Cafeteria was brutally
attacked by terrorists and for that very reason
we are starting a scholarship fund. Imagine if
we can help send young Israelis and Palestini-
ans to study together. The relationships forged
will sow the seeds of a future peace just as an
honest and constructive debate will mend rela-
tions on campuses across this great nation.
For more information on how you can help,
olease visit www.umichjustice.org or contact