John Steward of Jesus
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Productive and consumptive times

June 18, 1980

A consumptive society provides equal benefits for non-productive idiots, morons, etc., much more willingly than a productive society. Their non-production does not make them distinct in the consumptive society. Because production is not  demanded in consumptive times, it may be that capable or productive individuals have fewer economic benefits in such times, rather than that the idiots have more benefits.

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In a consumptive society women become a commodity, with an  emphasis on their sensuality and youth. Older women become superfluous. In a productive society, the emphasis is placed on the
woman’s role as mother and grandmother, which gives women dignity
in all ages of life. Their attributes of fertility, child-bearing strength, suckling and nurturing children are valued. These unique qualities of women are not valued in a consumptive society, with the result that women must look to other roles to find their sense of worth and value, rather than to their very nature. This may lead to competition from the women as they seek to excel in what would be male roles in the productive society. Such is true in 20th. century America as well as in consumptive Roman society.

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In a productive society, where individuals are producing, the accumulation of this production makes life better for all. As a result, these productive human beings are seen as desirable. Large families are encouraged. Immigration is welcomed. More producers result in a higher standard of living.

In a consumptive society, each consuming individual causes the total wealth available for consumption to shrink. Thus individuals have negative value. Each of us is a threat to the others. Population growth becomes undesirable. Large families are discouraged. Immigration is discouraged. The challenge of life changes from one of producing as much as possible, and being proud of it, to one of increasing one’s proportionate share of consumption relative to others and at the same time trying to conceal the fact of this larger share. Knowledge of the fact would only generate envy or even hatred amone one’s fellows.

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The wisdom which comes with age has value only in a productive age. One needs no advice on how to consume-—he simply follows his appetite. Only the challenge of production benefits from the experience and insights of the preceding generation.