This question of slowing consumerism and building the economy is a tricky one, that I'm not even going to attempt answering. I do know that while watching the documentary "No Impact Man," I was very influenced by the way he chose to purchase only used clothing, local foods, and make his own soap (I would like to mention that I in no way see this man as the perfect "green" human. His relationship with his wife really bothered me and there were times when I wondered about his mental health). His actions really took a stab at consumerism and many people quite literally hated him. The hate mail sent to his blog or otherwise was very explicit. The quote from him that I really took to heart was "People become hostile because they don't want to hear that they should live without." So true. This is why budgeting is such a problem for people, why cutting up those credit cards is like tearing up your heart. These actions point towards restraint which our country doesn't encourage. We live in a society of immediate, constant satisfaction whether it be food, material possessions or sex. Most want--and want it now!
Repercussions are seen running rampant all over Western civilization. Anywhere from 20%-29% of adults in most states are obese. Landfills are overflowing and STD's are seen in alarming numbers of young teenagers. Not being taught how to live without has some serious consequences, and if we can't learn how we may be seeing a Wall-E world sooner than any of us cares to.
My contribution towards living without--I did my sweater shopping at Goodwill. But I do have more kitchen appliances than necessary and have a hard time not constantly buying new things. This will take some time. But I know I don't want to have my planet covered in skyscrapers of trash and be going around on my hovercraft, overweight and detached from reality. No, thank you.