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\ \ \ TANKSHOTS (3) \ \ \

2012 September 1
by dan bertolet

Helping to keep the “gross” in gross national product, at least the name Fatburger doesn’t try to hide how it feeds our vicious cycle of bloating GNP, as handily illustrated on the above marquee at the corner of SR-99 and Enchanted Parkway in Federal Way. Too many Fatburgers making you fat?  No worries, just swipe the card for a membership next door at LA Fitness and—ka-ching!—GNP gets a double shot.  Enchanted!

GNP went up when we built those oceans of strip malls and the 6-lane roads that feed them, and GNP went up because people needed to buy more cars and gasoline to access these places, and GNP went up because people had to work more to pay for those cars, and GNP went up because people work so much that they don’t have time to prepare healthy food at home so they hit the Fatburger, and GNP went up because frazzled, dual-income parents feel the need to outsource their kids’ play to outfits like Trampoline Nation, and GNP went up because since we drive everywhere and spend our days sitting in offices staring at computer screens we become out of shape and pay to join the gym (and drive to get there), and GNP went up because so many people don’t follow through on the fitness plan and develop obesity-related health conditions that require expensive treatment. Too bad Federal Way Crossings doesn’t also include a home security company that adds to GNP because soulless, car-dependent environments tend to fray community connections, so people turn to alarm systems to make up for not knowing their neighbors.

But nothing will get better until GNP goes up again, right?


P.S. Check out Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy for an inspiring discussion of how we could correct the perversities of our GNP obsession by restructuring economies to function more on the local scale.


Photo by the author — click to enlarge.  This post is part of a series.