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Stephen Hesse’s Aug. 28 Our Planet Earth column, titled “Is youth’s ‘creeping passivity’ happening by design?,” is a very interesting and well-thought-out piece. I’ve often had thoughts like these, but will instead offer a contrasting point of view.

As much as we all realize that consumerism used as a tool for self-realization is a manipulation by the media and by the producers of the goods or services advertised, the good or service itself is not wrong; nor is purchasing or working for it.

I work very hard for everything I’ve achieved. Planning to purchase new furniture when you haven’t had anything new for over 20 years is a joyful activity. The work and money saved culminate in the purchase and ownership of something that gives life value, plus the money helps out the business it was purchased from. I’m speaking as someone who was left with broken down furniture and an even worse, broken down pillow bed after my mom’s illness caused economic deprivation in our lives.

I’m now in a position to rebuild my life. Working toward buying that reproduction Tiffany lamp made in China may seem crass and unfeeling to those negatively impacted in such an industry, but to me it marks a small achievement and a little bit of progress in getting a modest but attractive home setting once again. If we were to restrict the sale of such imports, I’d be limited to maybe not even having such an article.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I can say that the importation of lower-priced home goods, clothing and electronics has been a big help to me in many ways. I could never afford the entire setup of my home office if I didn’t have the choice between domestically made articles vs. lower priced imports.

How do you think this issue can be resolved without pushing the lower-income consumer right off the edge?

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

emily ann frances may

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