Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Can't Get Enough of That Stuff

What we want and what we desire ends up creating a marketplace. If I want chicken and salad for supper --- and every day I do want supper, whether it's a chicken salad or not --- I go to the market and buy chicken and salad. In fact, every day I do need supper or at least every day I need something to eat, whether you call it supper or not. Either I go get it from somebody else or I have a larder full of it, a garden and a chicken run. Something like that, something that fulfills my wants and needs. In any event what I desire, whether it's a need or a want, ends up creating some kind of economic activity. Now, on the other side of the equation is somebody who provides what I want or need. Somebody who raises chickens, somebody who raises the stuff you make salad with. They want something too. I don't know what it is, but it's something. So they provide what they think others will, like chickens and salad stuff, while on my side, in some sense or the other, I must do the same thing: provide something somebody wants.

In the academic world, they say that what people want is unlimited; no one can satisfy it. Once our basic needs are met, we want something else above and beyond food, housing, clothing or whatever our basic needs are. We're a competitive lot, and we look around and see others enjoying something that might make our life more pleasant, so we want it too. Right now I have on order a Kindle DX. I had a Kindle I, bought Shelley a Kindle II for her birthday because she needed it, and then I saw Kindle DX and wanted it. Therefore I ordered it. My appetite for things is insatiable. We always want more than we need.

Earlier this year, my wife's father died. He and his already-deceased wife had created a family trust and of course had wills in place. My wife ended up as the trustee of the family trust and is the individual responsible for carrying out what their will said should happen with what was within the family trust. Part of the process involved taking inventory and disposing of all of the assets of the estate. The reason I mention this is because it was a testament of the notion that our appetites are insatiable. Her parents were inclined, like I assume many are, to keep almost everything that they didn't fully consume and more. They kept detailed financial records, food stores, old jars, broken furniture. My mother-in-law had been a quilter. As such she had accumulated the stuff of quilting, including bat after bat of material, spool after spool thread, needles, pins, batting, quilting frames, etc. Her father kept every old piece of equipment or electronic gear they ever owned. Not only all that, but my wife had such an attachment that she of necessity had to go carefully through everything and make sure everything she wanted or someone else might want was preserved to satisfy that insatiable appetite.

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