Once again a reporter tells us that the best way to save money is to spend money.

Featured on a number of portals and websites lately has been a Bankrate.com article by Heather Boerner on four urgent home fixes people should make before they retire.  The idea is that if you plan to stay in your home, as most people do, it’s better to make expensive one-time repairs such as replacing the plumbing or the roof while you’re still working. 

It sounds like a sensible suggestion.  A major repair typically costs more in an emergency situation, e.g., when the roof starts to leak, and any major expense will play havoc with those on a fixed-income. 

But underneath the good advice, the ideological subtext still exhorts the reader to buy, buy, buy!, because it is by spending more now that you obtain the “control you will have over your life” that the article promises.  Once again, the answer to your problems is to buy something. 

As a stand-alone advice feature, the article is just fine.  But the daily accumulation of advice articles, virtually all of which are veiled shills for the purchase of a product or service, creates the sense in readers that it is only through engaging in a commercial transaction that all problems are solved and all needs satisfied; and that it is only in the context of commercial transactions that all interpersonal relations take place. 


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