At a loss

Without a supermarket, fast-food joint, gas station, prescription drugs, shopping malls and television, many Americans would be at a loss for how to meet their basic needs and live a pleasurable life. “If it is true that folk wisdom is our basic wealth, the chief insurance of a culture’s worth,” writes William Coperthwaite, “then we are nearly bankrupt.” Traditional knowledge to care for the sick, nourish families, produce our own food, and entertain ourselves has nearly disappeared from our culture, with all of it being transferred to “experts”—factory farms, corporate health care, chain restaurants, media conglomerates—who are more interested in maximizing a profit than in conserving or replenishing our living systems. The American citizenry has been convinced that out-sourcing our craft traditions will somehow profit the general public.

Shannon Hayes
Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture