Money To Live

February 4, 2009

To spend or not to spend

Filed under: Uncategorized — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

A Finland ad campaign urges people to spend money: “Don’t feed the recession” by saving your own money – spend it to spur on the economy.

It is a paradox that more personal shopping could end the recession sooner, but in large part, the recession is due to high consumer debt that was used to pay for such shopping.

Shopping is down, which can be seen in the number of retailers filing or considering bankruptcy. If enough stores close, entire malls may end up closing, which may significantly change the suburban landscape across the country.

Malls are to suburban America what the downtown church square is to Europe. A relatively safe place to go and spend an afternoon. People of all ages congregate there, and you can typically count on finding some form of amusement and a meal or snack.
New York City has Central Park, and Washington, DC has the National Mall. Outside large cities, though, there are not many shared public spaces in the United States.

It was a big deal for me when I was old enough to go to the mall with friends and not my parents. If malls start closing, where will the teenagers go?

While I don’t think it would be bad to have fewer malls, I wonder where people will go. While everyone is pinching pennies, there may be more entertaining at home and attending local events (an outing to the farmers’ market, anyone?).

As a capitalist country, for-profit institutions fulfill many of our civic needs – shopping malls provide a public space to congregate; McDonald’s provides clean, ubiquitous bathrooms. Thankfully, McDonald’s isn’t going to be closing any time soon.

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