Because I am a closeted masochist, I like to read financial news. That’s how I keep in touch with the end of the world:
The U.S. lost more jobs in 2008 than in any year since 1945 as employers fired another 524,000 people in December, indicating a free-fall in the economy . . . “Consumers are now going to get more and more scared at the prospect of losing their job,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight (Source)
I direct your attention to the use of “Consumers.” This is a figure of speech, known as metonymy, in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated.
That an economist should characterize people as consumers — instead of citizens — should hardly be a surprise: one of the pillars of the American empire is consumerism. We, the plebeians, of the United States of America are merely the vehicles for that most important of commodities: money.
Don’t get me wrong, I love money: It keeps me from being hungry and cold.
But I fear it also keeps me from being human.