Beans, Toothpaste, Ladies Shoes, & A Circular Economy

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beans the boston terrier looking at the window of a shoe store in nea ionia, athens, greece

The other night at about 1:30am, we decided after a long, hot day, to go for a walk to a kiosk to buy some wine. However, when we arrived at the kiosk, we discovered that the liquor store next door was also still open! And this liquor store has an amazing aged Tsipouro – (one of my first complicated Greek words that I now get right – Πεπαλαιωμενο – pronounced something like “pepa-lay-oh-men-oh” – when asking for “enna litro pepalaiomeno tsipouro, parakalo”) for only 10 Euros per litre. And this aged hard liquor is a very fine sipping beverage!

When we noticed that the liquor store was open, we decided on the tsipouro instead of the wine.

On the way, we walked past several shops; one of which is the ladies shoe store pictured above. K wanted to stop and have a look (what woman does not stop in front of the window of a shoe store no matter the time of day to have a look?) and Beans, our Boston Terrier also seemed quite interested. Beans no longer chews things other than his own toys, but perhaps his interest was in wondering which shoe might make the most chewable or tastiest one, if only he still chewed shoes.

Looking at the enormous selection of lady’s shoes reminded me of a few years ago, when I used to hear “progressives” attack capitalism by pointing to the numbers of choices of toothpastes that were available at the grocery stores and supermarkets. “Who needs to have so many choices of toothpastes?” they would question out loud, as if having choice was a bad thing. Of course, like a lady looking at lady’s shoes and all the choices available, it can take time in the toothpaste section if you don’t know already what you want, or are wondering which one just might freshen your breath a bit better or whiten your teeth the most.

Personally, I don’t spend much time in grocery stores for anything unless I must. I generally know what I want, and sometimes I don’t even bother with price comparisons. I have my favorite brands, and am glad for the choice available to me. Take generic products as an example – there are some that I will purchase because they are cheaper, and to me and my own personal taste, are as good as a premium brand. Canned chick peas, when I buy them, comes to mind. On the other hand, after sampling generic canned chicken noodle and tomato soups once, I’ll never buy them again and will always stick to the Campbell’s brand, or simply not purchase tomato or chicken noodle soup if for some reason, I can’t have the Campbell’s. Also, the cheese in no-name Kraft dinner pretenders is horrible to me, so no matter how much less it is in price than KD, I won’t buy the stuff.

But let’s get back to toothpaste and lady’s shoes. I suppose to many people who just want a toothpaste to brush their teeth with, and don’t know what they want, the question of “who needs so many choices?” might ring a little bit true. It’s just toothpaste, right? But where are the progressives and circular economy zealots going to draw the line? If you’re going to draw any line, Beans, by his inquisitive looks into the shoe store window probably hopes you stop with toothpaste. While he’s chewed some shoes in the past, he’s never munched down on toothpaste of any brand or advertised feature.

It’s probably easier to ask questions about toothpaste – I’ve never really heard anyone that is passionate about their favourite brand of toothpaste – I wonder what will happen though if and when the progressives start asking, “Who really needs all those choices of lady’s shoes??”

And how will all those lady’s shoes be recycled so that nothing goes to waste, as theorized by circular economists, who probably have never thought about unintended consequences – and who exactly gets to decide what and how materials are used, or when an idea might be so good, that it will be okay to instead of some old worn out material to recycle, to get some fresh clean resource from the earth to create the prototype. Progress in a circular economy will actually be almost zero. Because it will be impossible to create new things where there is no “waste.”

In fact, the idea of “waste-less” is an impossibility and defies natural laws.

A more indepth look at the insanity and the unintended consequences of “circular economies” will be the subject of another more serious post, but for now, we’re glad that Beans has the option of looking curiously at a enormous number of choices of ladies shoes that one day, if his discipline lapses, he’ll have to express his chewing pleasures.

Of course, the idea of subjective personal pleasure seldom enters minds that espouse silly ideas of “circular economies” or who want to reduce choices of toothpaste.

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