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.