I spend therefore I live. A few thoughts on consumerism

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Whenever I encounter a foreigner who has visited Lithuania more or less recently I ask them how was it. Don't want to sound full of myself, but majority seem to like it there. Even my Polish friend's friends who had visited Wilno (that's how Polish call the capital Vilnius - it belonged to Poland for a while anyway) said that they liked it. When they have Krakow it is hard for us to compete... Anyhow.

A lovely elderly couple walked into the shop today and they mentioned that they had been in Vilnius in 2000. After saying that I will be going there shortly, they remarked that the place must be quite different now.

"There must be more prosperity now, possibly like in Ireland," they commented and chuckled.

"I hope not too much of prosperity," was my reply and they smiled.

That is my honest hope and prayer.

I've been living in Ireland for over two years now and I have seen so many people who were born into money (is that the way the saying goes?) that it nearly gets scary. My sister came back from Paris last spring and she said that just by judging the amount of new cars in the streets Paris looks like a shabby place compared to Dublin. Yet she came back from Lithuania a month ago and said that she was amazed by the quantity of luxury cars on the roads there...

Now I have nothing against new cars or new houses. I am just dumbfounded at the speed at which Ireland is turning to a classic consumerist society. Somehow I get even more conscious about it when I return from countries who have been rich for a long time, i.e. Denmark. As we were walking the streets of Copenhagen in July with a friend of mine, both of us remarked that it looks like in Dublin people live just for the sake of SHOPPING and DRINKING.

Of course, they do shop and drink in Copenhagen or Strasbourg, yet in Dublin quite often you get the feeling that people stay alive just by talking about prices, selling or buying. The amount of places selling coffee 2 go is booming - what about funky little cafes where you can sit and relax inside or outside and just have a good coffee without the need of purchasing a sandwich? Not those chain cafes - Insomnias or Starbucks... Alas - everybody is rushing to sell or buy, thus there's no time for un café...

When in the shop, now and again we chat with customers about the future of Ireland. Just like the newspapers we keep wondering how long this economic boom will last. Quite a few people (mostly those who are older and who have travelled a bit) mention that the growth of economy was so rapid you can hardly believe it would last for long. It's like a genetically modified chicken - so young yet so big, but somehow missing the real flavor.

I find Ireland getting more and more similar to the clichéd image of the USA - McDonald's, drive-ins, drive-throughs, to-goes, buy-2-get-1-frees. I spend therefore I live - the infectious slogan of new economies. That's what I mean by saying I hope Lithuania doesn't get too prosperous.

I know I am not making too much sense, therefore I suggest to read the last two issues of my favorite magazine "Monocle" - the previous one is about the cities that offer the best quality of life and the current issue is about building a country.

I hope somebody in charge of Lithuania's future reads them too...

This Post has 4 Comments Add your own!
Diarmo - August 31, 2007 at 10:08 PM

Ireland is very nouveau-riche..or has they have in the papers here a lot these days lots of WAGs! Have you read David McWilliam's book The Pope's Children..interesting analysis of the Celtic toger phenomeon!

Diarmo - August 31, 2007 at 10:09 PM

I saw Monocle the other day in Easons nearly 8 Euros a copy!

Lina - August 31, 2007 at 10:56 PM

Diarmo, yes, 8 euro, but how well spent 8 euro! :) It's a good read and awesome photographs.

Cezaras - November 27, 2007 at 3:39 AM

The poor and the midle class work for the money, the rich have money work for them. If you don't mind I think money has real efect in everyday's life and it might be one of the reasons why you are in IRL too. So keep working keep saving, learn how to invest and always go for advice with peolpe who are in control of they finances...;)

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