Neo-luddites embark on anti-consumption year

In the news today, a group of San Francisco lefties + assorted friends who are renewing a pledge to forego shopping for the entire year. Seems that consumption (in the consumer way, not in the tuberculosis sense) is bad, primarily because of the “negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of disposable consumer culture” and its supposed harm to local businesses and farms. The yahoo group (how modern of them!) boasts nearly 4000 members, interestingly enough. They pledge not to buy “new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)” and, instead, borrow, barter or buy used things. It’s hard to believe intelligent, adult, educated people go for this nonsense. Life is unavoidably based on consumption. The group acknowledges as much with all its borrowing, bartering and buying of used things (not to mention its one day buying binge exception, reference in the AP story). As if consuming used or borrowed things is somehow inherently better than consuming new things?! For one thing, new things, like cars and appliances, are often more energy efficient. More to the point, to suggest that production and consumption should be stopped is to suggest that life itself cease. But if that’s the direction these people are headed, maybe we ought not intervene.