Who is this Susan Hill character?
The novelist Susan Hill wrote passionately about this in a recent blog. "A recession," she writes, "will sort out the kids who have been brought up to think you not only have to have a new pair of trainers, you have to have the designer brand costing £200, and next month their upgrade."
She goes on to say: "We will be made to learn all over again that not only do we not need 5,000 models of mobile phone with bells and whistles, we do not need 5,000 brands of shampoo, toothpaste, washing powder, dog food. This is where the real waste of the world’s resources starts to bite."
On the trainers, sure, recessions tend to reduce conspicuous (even Veblenesque) consumption.
But what’s this about 5,000 types of toothpaste? In terms of the use of the Earth’s resources it really doesn’t matter whether 60 million people all use one brand of toothpaste or whether 5,000 brands are used by 120,000 people each.
So what’s she on about?