LESS IS MORE: A NEW SPIN ON AN OLD ADAGE APPLIED TO ENVIRONMENTALISM, CONSERVATION AND ROB FORD.
I remember growing up hearing a lot of talk about various marketing ploys and how advertizing was all about how you ‘spun’ your message to your audience. Meaning it was all about what interpretation you gave to the message you were trying to put forth which determined whether or not you got your message across to your audience.
One of the more intriguing methods of spin which I was always interested in from a marketing point of view was the slogan of ‘less is more.’ This always fascinated me for two reasons. First of all because I always was of the opinion that the advertizing industry was in a way trying to convince the public psychologically that getting a lesser quantity of a product or service was better because they were somehow getting a better quality product. Basically it called to the idea that we always said around the Christmas tree that ‘good things came in small packages.’ In other words, you were likely to get a very valuable piece of jewellery or precious coin in a small package.
Secondly was the art of deception. In other words, the advertizing industry would use this ploy of ‘less is more’ as a way of convincing the public that somehow reducing the serving size of the product and making the packaging fancier and then charging more for it, the customer was somehow getting ‘more value’, when in fact the material substance of the article had not changed one bit.
So as usual, there was both good and bad in this old adage. What interests me in this Post-Modern world of ‘downsizing’, ‘rightsizing’ and wanting to ‘kick start growth in the economy’ is that we seem to have misappropriated and misinterpreted the notion of what we should be having ‘less’ and ‘more’ of and what should be ‘bigger’ and ‘smaller’ and what should be ‘growing’ and what should be ‘shrinking.’
We seem to be obsessed with having ‘less’ government or having the ‘right sized’ government, or a ‘downsized company’ yet there seems to be no limit as to the growth in how many ‘more’ computers we have in our government and corporate offices which we are now compelled to interface with before being able to interact with a real human at a government or corporate office.
We are still being exhorted to consume ‘more’ of everything because this will supposedly lead to ‘economic growth’ by spurring ‘consumers’ (not citizens or humans) to consume more goods and services which is supposedly going to and of itself lead to ‘more prosperity’ which will supposedly make ‘consumers’ ‘more’ happy.
However, I believe that consuming ‘less’ of everything will produce ‘more’ healthy outcomes for our citizens. Consuming ‘less’, food will produce ‘more’ healthy and active people. (Mr. Ford, are you listening?) Consuming ‘less’, fuel and other forms of energy will produce a ‘more’ clean environment.
Consuming ‘less’ goods will leave ‘more’ room in our homes for ‘more’ children and to enjoy their company ‘more’ and to make space, both literally and figuratively for them to play ‘more’ both indoors and out.
This is as opposed to what we are witnessing now, whereby people are eating ‘more’ and becoming ‘less’, healthy. They are also consuming ‘more’ fuel and other forms of energy and thereby making the environment ‘less’ healthy for future generations. They are also buying ‘more’ consumer goods such as electronics for their homes, but either having no children or very few children and building ‘more’ and ‘more’ extravagantly large homes which consume ‘more’ power but which have ‘less’ and ‘less’ of a property outdoors for ‘less’ and ‘less’ children to play ‘less’ and ‘less.’ Not good at all.
The ‘more’ we grow economically the ‘more’ our waistlines get bigger, the ‘less’ intelligent we get at managing our spiritual existence and our planet. We precisely need to stop insisting that the economy keep on growing, that somehow, ‘consumers’ (not ‘citizens’) continue consuming ‘more’ material goods and services in an already maxed out and saturated consumer market with very little or no sales or earnings growth left in it.
If anything, we should be consuming ‘less’ food, ‘less’ fuel, ‘less’ power and purchasing ‘less’ material goods so as to be ‘more’ healthy, ‘more’ happy, have ‘more’ time with our family and be ‘more’ spiritually fulfilled.
I think that would be a truer definition of ‘less is more’ wouldn’t you? What do you think, Mr. Ford?