In today's Evening Standard (London), some pundit was arguing for the VAT increase (due in the New Year) to be postponed to help retailers sell more stuff. He also wants to have a traffic free period as more stuff gets sold then. (Interesting - retailers usually argue for less restriction on cars).
Of course if the VAT increase is postponed, the government could lose tax revenue, but this could be offset by people buying more stuff. Deep sigh. What is it that we in fact need? Basics - food, shelter, clean water, medical care, a source of information and communication; and possibly some things to give us a quality life, rather than an existence - the means to express ourselves or to enjoy seeing others express themselves, let's say. I do not suggest this is a comprehensive list. But buying more stuff to keep people in work making more stuff for us to buy - cyclic consumption - is just silly.