Written by Andrew Wilson
Capitalism sucks, doesn’t it? Well, you may not agree, but I think it does and I’m sure enough of you agree to justify writing this. I hope. A thought has crossed my mind while typing this out. Time to get my philosophical groove on. Here we go…
Aren’t I slightly hypocritical for criticising capitalism while I type this piece out on a £500 laptop? Boom. Socrates eat your heart out. As I write, I listen to Dead Kennedys, an anti-capitalist punk band from America – my hipster levels are rising already – on a £300 stereo. To top it all off, I’m sipping on a red wine from Chile – no doubt made from the grapes of a poor farmer – acquired in my local Morrisons. I’m just as much of a capitalist as David Cameron. But you shouldn’t be shocked by that, we’re all as much capitalist pigs as each other. Oink, oink, my friends.
Unless you want to be like the Unabomber and live off the land, shit in a wood and eat squirrel for the rest of your life – coincidently, the Unabomber killed three people – you cannot hope to avoid capitalism. Fortunately for us, merit goods (fancy economic term, look at this guy) – like the NHS – are spared from the all-consuming hole that is the vagina. Wait, no, capitalism, I mean the all-consuming hole that is capitalism. Yeah. However, our American cousins are not so lucky. Although we aren’t living and breathing the consumer capitalism the US exudes, we are breathing a diet equivalent. In classical capitalist style, I may copyright the term ‘diet-capitalism’. We are getting closer and closer to the sweet, sugary capitalism the Americans are forced to drink. Forget your cushy, diet capitalism, full fat is coming and it’s got 2000 consumerist calories per 250 ml.
My place of birth, Aberdeen – yeah, lucky me – is a prime example of full fat, American capitalism moving in and taking dollar shaped dump on us. Aberdeen’s Union Street – built around 1801 – is now a mix of betting shops and McDonalds. The degeneration of Union Street is largely due to the building of a large shopping centre – a mall if we want to translate it into US English. Inside we find an orgy of Starbucks and designer clothes shops, which charge £100 for a pair of jeans that are produced by poor Vietnamese boy for an hourly rate of fuck all. The ultimate symbol of consumerism is Starbucks, seriously, I implore you to use their toilets and not buy their coffee. You’ll be doing the world a favour. But it’s hard, isn’t it? When you want a new pair of jeans, you can either go to your local mall – sometimes referred to as a shopping centre, or consumer wankfest centre – or you can go to a charity shop. You don’t want a ten year old pair of jeans though, you don’t want the opposite sex to ignore you for the rest of your life. Plus, Starbucks only charge a few quid for a latte, you don’t want to go to an independent coffeehouse and spend six pounds. You’re a student, you’ve got student things to buy like vodka and more vodka.
These malls, they may be a consumerist wankfest, but they are nothing. Nothing. Compared to the epitome of American consumer capitalism, Black Friday. Oh yes, Black Friday. You know what Black Friday is, of course you do. It’s the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US – and now the UK. If you are willing to stomp on a few Grannies’ heads, you’ll get a discounted Xbox. Yippee. Just remember to wipe the blood off your shoes before you hand it to your son. This isn’t an example of a light-hearted winter sale where you can take the family and get a half price Christmas tree. Oh no. This is a free-for-all blood bath. People use very real, very damaging psychical violence, in order to get hold of discounted TVs. A TV. A fucking TV. Seven people have died as a result of Black Friday. That’s seven more people killed than in the 1859 war between the US and the British Empire – known as the ‘Pig War’, named pig war, not due a foreshadowing of the participants capitalist futures, but rather as the war was started as a result of the shooting of a pig. There’s even a website dedicated to the counting the causalities of Black Friday – http://blackfridaydeathcount.com/. Welcome to the western world boys and girls. Our consumerist celebrations have a higher body count than an actual war.
Although this may sound as morbid as a Joy Division track – more hipster points for me – all I fear we can do is bend over, open a packet of lube and prepare for the worst. Buy those mass produced £100 jeans, drink that Starbucks latte and stamp on my Granny’s head to get your TV. It won’t make difference if you do or if you don’t. Full fat, American consumer capitalism is here to stay. And there is nothing we can do to stop it.