A Blow to the Belly of Consumerism
In an article on CNNMoney, Chris Isidore notes that malls are doomed; between 20% and 25% of American malls will close within five years, according to a new report from Credit Suisse. Estimates are that a record 8,600 stores will close this year alone. In addition department stores which have been major anchors in malls — Sears, Kmart, JC Penney, and Macy’s — are closing many of their stores.
In the wake of bankruptcies and closings, some malls have come up with clever ways to lure people back to their spaces by sponsoring carnivals, concerts, and food-truck festivals in their large and empty parking lots.
In 2000, Duane Elgin wrote in Promise Ahead: “The American Dream of a consumerist way of life has become a dangerous illusion that no longer fits the reality of the world and our human potentials.”
Malls gave new life and energy to consumerism and now that new life and energy is flagging. But is this blow against malls a sign that the consumerist way of life is dying? Nope. Malls may be closing, but shopping has not diminished. Millions are just shopping online. Amazon, for example, has grown from being a bookstore, to offering all kinds of consumer goods including food.
And in affluent areas of the country, malls are doing just fine. Perhaps that’s because the rich want to be seen buying expensive items at exclusive stories.