If anything indicates that we've probably reached a cultural "tipping point," as Malcolm Gladwell would put it, it's when a topic hits Oprah's TV show at the same time that "trend oracle" Faith Popcorn makes a pronouncement about it. In this case, Oprah did a show featuring a segment by Lisa Ling about the Freegans and Faith Popcorn was just quoted in a USA Today article saying that it's cooler not to spend money.
The USA Today article also quotes futurist and business trend adviser Watts Wacker: "The new status isn't how much you've got, but your ability to show what you don't spend. This is a seminal moment. It's not a fad that will die out when the economy picks up." [italics mine]
Could this possibly be true? Have that many people finally realized that buying more and more stuff isn't the path to personal fulfillment?
Maybe. Or maybe people are just being pushed in that direction by economic considerations. USA Today continues:
"There's a sense that prices are rising — and will continue to rise — but wages will not," says Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. "This is squeezing household budgets whether they're $200 per week or $200,000 per year. Folks are looking closely at anything they don't have to purchase now."
Whatever the motivation, I'm pleased to hear that it's now "officially" cool to be living with less.
I don't have any plans to go dumpster diving with the Freegans, but I have absolutely no problem being cool.
© 2008 Cynthia Friedlob