Consumerism gone mad ….. and …. fasting

Talking about fasting this week, coupling it with some thoughts on our rampant consumerism….
Here is some interesting facts….
56% of Australians believe they spend almost all their income on basic necessities.
• Expenditure on imported consumer goods rose by 60% between 2000 and 2004.
• Australians spend about $10.5 billion on goods they do not use: food and drink; appliances; exercise equipment; memberships (in 2004, Australians spent about $500m on gym memberships that were never or hardly used).
• Spending on mobile phones rose by 183% between 1999 and 2004.
• Personal debt doubled between 2001 and 2004, and quadrupled between 1996 and 2004.
• The average floor area of a new house increased from 170m2 to 221m2 between 1985 and 2000. In 1955, house population was 3.6 people, in 2000 it was 2.6.
• An average child in the USA, Australia and UK sees between 20-40,000 commercials a year.
• 60% of children spend more time watching television than in school.
• Children as young as 3 recognise brand logos.
• In 2003-04, households spent, on average, just under half (49%) of their total weekly expenditure on food, housing and transport.
• In 2003-04, Australian households spent $893 per week on average on goods and services, an increase from $362 in 1984. While household expenditure increased in absolute dollar terms, spending patterns did not change greatly between 1984 and 2003-04.
• The overall increase in average weekly household expenditure on goods and services between 1998-99 and 2003-04 was $184 or 26.4%. Over the same period, the price of goods and services, as measured by the CPI, rose by 18%.
• A typical supermarket now carries about 20,000 products. Fifteen years ago it would have been about half that.
• Between 20-40% of purchases of food, movies, games, etc, would not have occurred unless a child had nagged their parent/s (Initiative Media study, USA).
• As we spend more and borrow more, so we are forced to work longer hours in order to pay off our debts and afford our purchases. The cost of housing, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, has seen housing debt (mortgages) reach record levels. This is made worse by the fact that the size of our houses is growing, despite the size of our families shrinking. Our houses have doubled in size over the past 50 years.
• The number of Australians working long hours has increased significantly. 31% of our full-time workforce now works in excess of 48 hours a week, something that would be unlawful in Europe. Two million Australians work on average more than 50 hours a week.


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