Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Consumer Is Not A Unit

...nor is a consumer a pipe. Everyone consumes. Some consumers produce.

Many consumers get to produce the real. They produce what is consumed. The one-man-band in the wilderness produces for himself and consumes his own production. The grandpa with chickens in his back yard produces for himself and for grandma and also for the kids and the grandkids.

Consumers who are not producers - children, the rich, or the retired - live at the top of life. We eat our oatmeal every day. At the other end there are producers who earn so little that they can barely be consumers, those who do washing and ironing for others, for example. These producers live at the bottom of life's riches. All producers consume. Only some consumers produce.

Another class of non-producing consumers is those who push enhancements through pipelines, although they are not themselves pipes. They are in trouble. They have no chickens.

These people live in worlds that enhance production. In these worlds pipes are to be found, pipes that convey money, ideas, design, marketing, sales efforts, all of which enhance productive effort without being themselves essential to production. No eggs do they lay.

These people are dependent on the success of the producers. As jobs move overseas, helping financial services people learn to do washing and ironing for others may be a good start toward a better future for them.

Given, then, that the job of pushing enhancements through pipes is parasitic to the jobs of washing and ironing and raising chickens, can we ask how we might better increase the number and the buying potential of these consumers who wash and iron for others and who raise chickens? Those who create value?

Can the producing consumer be the garden that receives the most fertile soil? Can the hand that changes ore to steel and steel to bridges be the hand that receives the gift that builds?

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