This beautiful essay Ash Cloud’s Silver Lining Is Leisure Time demonstrates how we (that is, ordinary people other than economists and oil company executives) accommodate day to day reality, and make the best of it.
Despite popular impressions, humans strive for stability, humanity, family and community. Ultra-consumers are highly visible and loudly touted in the media, because the media is supported by the capitalist status quo that thrives on continued economic growth fueled by hyper-consumerism.
Notice how 9/11 and the recent Icelandic volcanic ash cloud resulted in thousands of people released from obligations to rush about in mad consumption, gave them an excuse to relax, read a book, smell the flowers, interact with the neighborhood.
Deep down, we're all family folks, communitarians, true socialists all.
I think it's neckties that do it, choking off blood supplies to the heads of corporate executives and government lackies. Maybe a ban on neckties would release a flood of creative energy, revive our neighborhoods, clear the skies and, once and for all, drive a spike in the hearts of growth maniacs everywhere.