Monday, May 7, 2012

More on life inequality

Racking up $4,000 monthly restaurant tabs didn't impress you? You didn't care for the private plane transportation to summer camp? Don't worry, there's more...
The trend of celebrity-style pet pampering is one the rise, producing ever-greater demand for freakily fancy products and services. You can fly dear Fido in high style on a specially outfitted pet airline. Whiskers can relax in gold-plated splendor at Disney’s recently launched Best Friends Pet Care luxury dog and cat resort. An attentive "certified" camp counselor will care for his every whim. 
But the biggest emerging trend of all? That would be giving dead pets the star treatment. Even in a sluggish economy, companies are making a fortune from the rituals and services sought by grieving pet owners. Clever marketers are finding new ways to give adored pets a glamorous send-off into the afterlife... 
The modest backyard burial has given way to the professional ceremony, complete with lace-trimmed casket and religious readings. If you’ve ever seen documentary-maker Errol Morris’s indelible Gates of Heaven, you know that pet cemeteries have been around for a few decades. But the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories in Georgia reports that pet funerals are dramatically increasing. 
In the U.S., costs for a pet funeral starts at around $800 — and sky’s pretty much the limit from there. The "Royal Pet Casket," boasting three layers of foam and waterproof materials, is sold on the PetHeavenExpress Web site for $458. The elegant "Gold Cherry Blossom Hour Glass Cremation Urn," available from Perfect Memorials, comes in at $499.95. Does all that seem a bit cheap for Precious? Then go Nile-style and have your dog mummified for $30,000. Freeze-dried preservation is a less expensive option, but it will still run you several hundred dollars. 
Perhaps you’d prefer to wear your dead pet. You can do that by having the corpse rendered into a synthetic diamond with a company called LifeGem. For realz.
This is good stuff, especially when you read that 25% of Americans expect to out-work their own life expectancy. Good times.

Granted, just because somebody's selling this dumb shit doesn't actually mean anyone's buying it--but hey, it's worth a shot, right? On the plus side, maybe we can solve our long-term unemployment problem by simply creating more pet-related businesses...

[Naked Capitalism]


  1. I'm not sure what your point is here. I thought you were a libertarian. Or at least a trader. Are you saying that we should save people from themselves? That we shouldn't allow them to sell downside puts, or pay $30,000 to have their pet freeze-dried when they could do it themselves with a styrofoam cooler from wal-mart and some liquid nitrogen for under $50?

    Because that doesn't sound like freedom to me. Also, you have to appreciate the fact that people buying this dumb shit creates MORE equality in the economy, not less. If all people with money were hyper-intelligent and rational spenders, then they would simply accumulate dollars or (even better) commodities to hoard, and only trade for real assets, not depreciating bullshit like $300,000 cars. With time, they would own nearly every commodity worth a damn, creating their own cartel. Or they could sit on the sidelines with their holdings of land, food, and all the other basic necessities of life, and refuse to pay for anything, allowing the masses of uneducated people who rely on a system of mutual bribery and co-dependency to continue to carp each other's markets for what they would be willing to do for a piece of bread until everyone had eventually worked themselves into de-facto slavery. So I guess if we are going to agree to continue this system of only doing the bare minimum to get by in life (a la your life M.O.), then we should continue to hope that people with dollars to trade for favors continue to pay, and pay well, for whatever stupid shit they want. And that at least some people are creative enough to come up with products that they can market to these people in order to loosen their purse strings. Or we can just agree that the entire system is stupid and futile, will always lead to a general degradation of society and a real loss of wealth (in terms of personal capabilities, unrelated to IOUs that are only a symbol of the services we can provide for ourselves and for others). I'm guessing we will continue to pray to the false idol of IOUs (dollars or any other arbitrary currency, including cheetos, sexual favors, and in prison, cigarettes) and bitch about our circumstances, as if they were out of our control.

    one voice in the wilderness

    1. My god, that is a brilliant response. It deserves to be its own blog post, really.

      I think my basic point (if I have one, which I might not) is that in my ideal society, people who are dumb enough to consider buying a diamond-studded earring for their chihuahua would also be too dumb to actually ever earn enough money to consider buying one in the first place. I think that any society or economic system that produces such a high proportion of what I'd call the "dumb rich" that they can actually support such a fickle industry has clearly lost its way.

      I think our country has gotten to a place where we consistently reward idiocy, ignorance, and irresponsibility, and that's the problem. In the America that I love (and it's still out there somewhere, God dammit), people like this never get rich in the first place. Ever. In fact, they don't even exist, because they can't.

      We agree more than we disagree here. You're right that if there was a "super-smart, super-rich" club, then those people would hoard all the valuable assets in the world. But why do you assume that there must necessarily be masses of uneducated people? Is that a prerequisite in any given society?

      I want there to be fewer dumbass uneducated people in the world, and I want those few imbeciles that remain to suffer the consequences of their ignorance, not to be rewarded for it. Separating dumb people from their money is a time-honored American tradition, but a better America is one in which dumb people don't have any money to begin with.