Too big

Mass production has many negative effects on the pursuit of a more sustainable way of living. Aside from effects of everything being the same these corporations are big, bureaucractic, and slow. They are hard to regulate. Their decisions, to hire and fire, pollute the environment, cut corners, put bad things in our food, dodge taxes, and/or trade unfairly (to name a few) are made by faceless and unaccountable management teams and their focus on short term profit at any cost.

As employees the frustration of these diseconomies of scale are bad enough (70% do not like their job – Inc magazine).  As consumers we also suffer from the failures of big companies: inability to provide what they promise, bad quality, automated answering machines, and poor customer service.

Feel free to share articles, observations, feelings, links, and data here.

 

Profit at any cost

A few large corporations and the super wealthy people who control them now decide how the world works, for all of us – how we make our food, who gets paid what for what, how things are made, and at what cost – all largely in the hands of a very few.

Our lives as individuals, and the fate of the earth, are both dictated to us by the high street, the supermarket, and the requirements of our employment.

The environment, the old, the young, the academically challenged, the different, the sick, the weak, and the small have all been marginalised as global machines pursing economies of scale move at a rapid pace turning everything in its path into a one size fits all opportunity for profit at any cost.

Does it matter if profit is made at the cost of some others? Where does social responsibility fit in a profit at any cost world? What are your personal experiences with socially or environmentally irresponsible business?   Share stories, links, thoughts, and data here.

Joblessness

Do jobs matter?

Our global economy creates a fraction of the total jobs we need.  More machines, robots,  harmful pesticides, and mass production mean jobs will continue to come under pressure.  Only 33% of the world’s population actually has a secure job (the Coming Jobs War).  Aside from the obvious psychological effects, lack of jobs threaten health, personality, and security.  Scientists have found direct links between joblessness and crime, youth unrest, and more.
Is less efficiency, less profit, or less mass production worth more jobs? Share experiences, observations, data, or stories, about the value of jobs here.

Economic Inequality

Almost half the world lives on less than $2.50 per day and almost 80% live on less than $10 per day.  80% of the world lives in countries where the income differential is widening.  The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.  (United Nations Development Programme)

Despite promises of trickle down economics, global capitalism fails to provide for the needs of our steadily growing population as more and more money end up with a small minority of the very rich. Between 2007 and 2015 in the UK wages contracted while the economy expanded (OECD).  In the US  These unprecendented levels of inequality go on to create all kinds of further problems from social unrest, to health issues, mass migration, and corruption.  Despite a largely “rigged” system, now favouring the wealthy,  inequality continues to play a critical role in maintaining capitalism, providing motivation for people to try harder and the illusion that more money will be the result. What we now know is that to thrive capitalism requires that 80% of the world be slaves to it.

What are your feelings about economic inequality.  Does it matter?  How does economic inequality impact your life?  Stories, thoughts, data, links, experiences here.

Harmful Chemicals

They are in the soil and the actual seeds.  We are eating them.  Breathing them.  Slathering them on our bodies. They are causing imbalances in our endocrine system.  Mental illness.  Infertility.  Cancer.  But they’re cheap and companies trying to maximise profits use them liberally and convince us that lather, fake fragrances, single serve convenience, and all that plastic packaging is good for us.

What do you think about all the harmful chemicals in our everyday life?  How do we trade off the cheap short term cost of these products and the long term effects? Links, thoughts, data here:

Unsustainable production

We are up to our eyeballs in stuff.  But the continued production of throw away products and petroleum make many plastics, cheap fabrics, and other non-recyclable, non-biodegradable products cheaper.  Renewing, restoring, repairing something rather than getting a new one is challenging, and time consuming. Quality designs come at a price. Does our need to shop at any cost matter?

The production machine rolls on and our land is filling up with the throw away result. How can we do better?  Which companies are doing really badly?  Whose responsibility is this impending garbage dump called earth?  Stories, feelings, experiences, and links here.

Bad News by Sarya Wu

Bad News (23/07/2016)

On the news all I see
are the headlines which scream
Another terrorist attack
Another school shooting

Another war unseen
Another public bombing
As I see the sun rise

And it’s haunting.

Many innocents killed,
whose faces flash on screen
Preserved permanent that way
in how they’re seen.

I wondered if these people had ever stopped to think
Which pictures they would want to be remembered by,-
But then again, I didn’t think they thought they’d die
When they went out for a dance or a walk
That night.

All these men so angsty
With guns in their dreams
Ironically slaughtering the blameless,
They are all so keen.

Have their sympathies been dulled by the weight of the world?
Was their world too vanilla? In need of a swirl?

Has a creator told them to do their bidding?
Or their mental health perhaps, deteriorating?

Then you hear about police men who have accidentally
On purpose
Pulled the trigger
On another black person

Then you hear about police men who have been on purpose
Murdered
By the suffering and frustration
That can drive a person
Mad

All these deaths make us all so sad.
And in this sorrow, there is solidarity
What we must see that this pain exists in you and me,
Regardless of racial or cultural identity

Yet the hatred persists
And so does the loathing,
Believing blaming others is a solution
And not the cause

You cannot cure a gunshot wound with gauze
Unless you take the bullet out.

Unless you find reasons to doubt
That something is rotten in the state of our minds

That something has gotten out of hand in these times
When we are progressing forwards
And backwards into crime

I am not fine with how the news is telling me everyday
What some “important” people are saying
That determine the future

I am not fine with having random shooters
Take the lives of friends and families
In places all around me
Near the homes of my lovers

And all I can do
Is read what’s happening
From my computer.

Show me a plausible way to change what is going on.
Show me a potential in which a single individual can be strong
Against this tidal wave of insecurities of being
“insignificant”
Where people like me are scattered like concrete debris-
Useless, unless put together.

Show me a plan for finding the key
Without being paranoid of being idealistic or taken advantage
of
Nor have the pressure from parents’ love
Who just want us to be happy and safe,
But in the way they want.

Yet, how can we be safe and happy
When the world is evidently dangerous
And lamenting needless losses
Every single FUCKING day

And every time
I find
The courage in me to say something
Still feeling helpless to help
Without the wealth of influence
required to make a step in the right direction

it’s an infection that social media does not seem to help
there’s an inspection within ourselves that needs to be made
telling us what part of us has betrayed our fate into living
to cope
and coping to survive the tides of terrible rides

so
much so
that we are afraid to confide in people…
content to hide until we combust into a ball of insanity.

that the ability to buy guns and knives
does not make me feel better

nor the prosecution of having different eyes
or darker skin
or an un-Christian religion
or loving someone of the same-sex

that having breasts and a uterus
is not a welcome sign to invade my private space.
i should not feel constantly afraid of rape
when strangers talk to me at night.

who do i have to talk to
to headbutt and tackle these issues,
though i’m critical of my own views
the people who disagree are few

who else needs to die
to convince those who believe
that their lives are worth more
than me or you
and those we seem to
“represent”?

i have overthought and tried to pay my dues
but you cannot choose who you inspire

especially those who pretend to not have a clue

turning
a blind eye to pressing matters
while the world turns madder.

i grow intolerant of the intolerant
short-tempered at the incompetent
upset there is not recompense
for all the ignorance i have met.

learned history only to see it reset
seeing moments that i’ll never forget
thankful i am treated with at least,
some kind of respect
while my guilt rises in debt
with anxiety and sweat.

so who? who can i talk to?
and who will listen?
because all I seem to do
is listen and watch.

who can the bad news go away?
i’ve already said what has been said
left speechless with so much more to say,-

i wish someone would show me the way
to make the bad news go away.