I wouldn't mind if the consumer culture went poof! Overnight because then we'd all be in the same boat and life wouldn't be so bad, mucking about with the chickens and feudalism and the like. But you know what would be absolutely horrible. The worst?.. If, as we were all down on earth wearing rags and husbanding pigs inside abandoned Baskin-Robbins franchises, I were to look up in the sky and see a jet -- with just one person inside even -- I'd go berserk. I'd go crazy. Either everyone slides back into the Dark Ages or no one does.
In a policy shift which the historian Guy de la Bedoyere has compared with Western Imperialism, the Romans converted militant Britons to their way of life with consumer entincements, introducing them to the urbane pleasures of hot spas and fine dining, encouraging them to wear togas and speak Latin.