Combine this with another fact: the savings rate of American citizens has dropped to a 74 year low. Only four years in American history has seen a negative savings rate, two of them being 2005 and 2006, the other two being 1933 and 1934. Only 1933 had a savings rate worse than last year. We are spending more than we are making. The Baby Boomers are retiring and they have, in total, less and less money to retire on.
Now, consider a third fact: life-changing events cause people to shop. Advertisers are well aware of this. As Dr. Joseph Pilotta, vice president of Big Research, points out:
“[Life events like marriage, divorce, having a baby, etc.] are disruptions in principle. These are transitional moments. You stabilize transitional events by trying to anchor yourself with things that make you secure. In our world, you concretely rearrange your life so you can see the change. For some empty-nesters, the only way they can manage that change is to move literally into another house to stabilize that transitional effect. We have a consumptive way of operating when it comes to these transitions, but they help stabilize our environment…
The funny part is that in getting married and getting divorced, four of the five items being purchased were the same. When getting married, we found the No. 1 thing that people looked for was furniture, which is not unexpected. Second was a vacation. Third was a computer, then TV, then home appliances. The computer is the new fixture with everybody. Anchoring the household now is essentially TV and computer, as opposed to TV being the centralizing feature. There was always a media that anchored the house and now we have two anchors. The computer was higher on the list than TV…
Getting married and getting divorced involved the same top four purchases. The only difference was number five: in marriage it was home appliances, and in divorce it was a digital camera. There was an interesting affinity between children starting college and retiring. The first four in order were vacation, computer, furniture, home improvement. It only varied on the fifth item, which was a new car when children started college and home appliances for retirement.”
From an economic perspective, all that a national economy needs to create a solid GDP is churn. If the citizens are in constant turmoil, constant life-changing events, they will buy stuff. If they are depressed, they will buy more.
So, from a standpoint of pure economics, from a standpoint of “how much money can Mr. Capitalist make today”, we don’t want stable marriages. People in a stable marriage save more money than single or divorced people. If they save their money, Mr. Capitalist can't get to it.
No, we want people who go through two, three, four or five marriages. We want people who are fornicating drug-users, we want people to have abortions, get raped, see their lives destroyed, re-built and destroyed again. Every time their life changes, our sales go up.