"if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi." -Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence(2003)

Death of Nations

if this recession has taught us anything, it is the fragility of this society. 

it is the bane of the balance sheets brought upon by the its sorry dependence on companies' profitability. i can see examples upon examples of degradation to quality brought upon by the race to dress up numbers. everywhere. and the only way to do that... make the numbers look pretty, i mean, without spending more money is to cut costs. what these econo-misers fail to do, is realize that there are many intangible aspects in the world that cannot be quantified on their spreadsheets -like quality of life.

they only need to look beyond the sorry piece of paper with their numbers on it and into their very lives that have taken a turn for the worse. 

so all i see around me these days are consequences of someone saving their job by coming up with or implementing a cost cutting action, which then goes on to appease the accountants, coz hey, bottom line! 

i can practically hear the CEO addressing his/her motley crew in closed board rooms "Get me 20% lower cost figures by Q4 this year ..." with dire consequences. call it Management by Liposuction.

so you get a mad scramble to cut costs in every imaginable area (or not!), and presto. you have thinner bottled water bottles with a "saving the environment by using 20% less plastic" label and smaller caps, which makes it drop from your hands half a dozen times before you can put it back on, effectively diminishing eliminating any chances of reusing that bottle. result: more plastic trashed coz that bottle got squashed by the time it was empty. but on the balance sheets? 20% less raw material costs, a "yes, we made it happen!", and more sales! YAAY!

That's the rationale behind shorter cables and lower quality components for electronic equipment, restaurant menus with fewer choices and smaller portions, (also, new menus means the chance to upwardly revise the rates). gone are the table cloths, the napkins and the glassware and silverware, replaced by 'disposable' paper sheets (or in worst cases, none at all!) and paper napkins and 'unbreakable' plastic tumblers and cheap, disposable plastic cutlery. 

dig deeper, and you find suppliers low balling, or offer deteriorated services to make up for the reduced margins, subsequently, you have cleaning services that won't, reduced delivery frequency in the mail room, limited, low quality office stationery, reduced operational hours of the cooling system ... to a point that it gets ridiculous and starts interfering with your ability to get work done. except, you are doing the job with a lot fewer people due to the recent 'rightsizing' of the staff (employees are costs, too). oh, the management has made you believe how can do more with less coz 'you're awesome'. so now a guy (or girl, for that matter) is doing the work of two (or more) for the same - or even reduced pay with the consolation of "hey, at least i have a job" all the while thinking that the moment the job market "improves" they're going to jump ship for a better life.

except, it is not going to. not in the near future

those used to taking lots of things for granted are in for a rude shock - these effects trickle down in our lives really well through the budget gaps.

so get used to having ill-maintained public infrastructure, reduced police force and firemen to tend to your 911 calls, higher priced stamps, higher parking fees, higher taxes, higher health care costs, increased interest and insurance rates, more traffic tickets (the police department is not exactly flushed with funds here), reduced hours and resources for your kids in their schools (ditto, schools) - like teachers and supplies - at the same or even reduced paycheck! and this is to say the least. you would not imagine how low some departments would be willing to stoop in order to cut costs to meet the reduced budgets.

get used to the idea of supporting your kids waay beyond their teens since they're not getting a job anytime soon. oh, and they will have their own education loans to pay, and lives to live, so, of course YOU will be not be retiring in the near future coz your 401k dwindled down to almost nothing and you also have your own bills to pay - leading to even more unemployment.

so YOU cut down on spending - clip coupons, buy in bulk so that it is cheaper, try to look for deals - and spend more time buying stuff than you'd have otherwise. your spouse and kids are furious with you for not spending enough time with them, and you need to convince them how 'less is more', all the while not talking about the elephant of debt in the room.

and the economy takes even longer to revive, since no one is spending any money.

hello, downward spiral of miserable futility.

in today's age of austerity, this is the new normal.

Blog Archive

Me Me Me. ... Me Too

NY, United States
--"I have the simplest of the tastes and I am always satisfied with the best!"--
my photos on