As I’ve pointed out before, a widespread economic recession (increasingly trending towards depression) predicts a new relationship of consumers to their consumption, with a new eye towards substance as the new style. It may be that the popularity of culture-jamming anti-consumption strategies in recent decades were in reality forced by an economic situation that made consumption so appealing.
Now that consumption is becoming much more conspicuous, the situation might allow a shift towards more explicit challenges to capital, at least temporarily. So, instead of the imagistic tarnish of Nike’s image, the focus might be more on the relationship of workers to Nike CEOs, that shows the owners getting rich while kids get exploited.
The key will be in describing what recovery looks like, as more than a return to prosperity, but also prosperity that allows for mutual shared wealth and collective wellbeing. I think Obama gave one good rhetorical starting point when he described an ownership society as a “you’re on your own” society. The recovery should be about reviving a community, and explicitly calling out those who have grossly profitted off of the American worker.