Sunday, November 18, 2012

Class warfare.

Make no mistake. Class warfare exists. From the financial barriers of educational access to targeting only the "entitlements" that benefit the working class despite tax loop hole and direct subsidy entitlements for industry,  there is a war and the working class (and more and more the middle class) is losing. Recently a boycott Walmart has become popular on Facebook. For some of us this is no surprise, Walmart has used horrible labor practices in the past like forcing employees to work off the clock, and when confronted about this upper management policy, it denies everything and blames it on low level management.

The truth is many of us have been apart of a decades long boycott of Walmart and several other non-union retailers. This is supposed to be the invisible hand of the free market economy "correcting" a business for being bad. Only like Freemarket economics in general, this hasn't worked. With the Walton family making record profits while they continue to utilize slave labor abroad and at home. Most people come up with some kind of excuse for why they shop there, but in reality they are condoning slavery.

It is very difficult to be a truly informed consumer in this day and age. Often the neighborhood grocery down the street is actually apart of a multinational conglomerate who is completely willing to compromise your morals and never ever tell you. Make no mistake about it, "Just being the consumer" does not exempt you from taking responsibility for the business practices that brought you the goods or services. If you buy the cheep plastic toy, you might be saying "I am ok with a child being chained to the machine that made this in china".

Worse yet, through practices like predatory pricing, they have already eliminated competition on some goods or services so that their are no alternatives in some markets. In these cases it takes real ingenuity or complete sacrifice on the part of the consumer to maintain ethical consumption standards. Don't let that stand in your way however, you are not alone, many other people are trying to consume ethically. This takes many forms so you must decide what is important to you; animal rights and testing, fair labor practices, environmental stewardship, domestic and foreign trade policy. Then join with a consumer advocacy group who most closely matches your personal moral structure.

As always, I welcome comments and criticisms. and will not edit or omit any.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Nation in Transition.

Extreme weather events, fishery collapse, and the ramifications of the decline in biodiversity have on ecosystems we depend on for clean air, water and food is starting to smash the cognitive dissonance of those who still doubt the anthropogenic causes of climate change. As I write this, Wall Street in New York City is running on a gas powered generator. This isn't just a warning shot across the bow, but the first jabs from a undefeated prize fighter.

As a nation we have historically invested a significant portion of our financial resources to defend our national security. It is time to put that same muscle behind protecting our nation and its citizens once again. Make no doubt about it, transitioning our economy to the paradigm of the post fossil fuel realities we need to face will be hard. But we are a strong and innovative people. We have historically faced unflinching challenges much greater. We came from behind to seal our legacy in the space age by completing the monumental task of planting the American flag on the moon.

The hardest part will simply be purging our political system of those whose financial interests conflict with national security. Historically, international petroleum corporations have acted against our nations interests by raising domestic consumer prices in order to under sell competitors in foreign markets. They constantly shirk their tax burdens despite reliance on our nations military force. Today they are actively propagandizing Americans to resist facing the realities of climate change. No entity in my life time has ever presented such a clear threat to our national security.

We have the know-how and the technology exists to maximize efficacy and minimize environmental degradation. While the transition to a post carbon economy will be hard for some companies and even harder for many individuals, in time the same innovation and dedication that made business succeed in a carbon based economy will bring success in a post carbon economy. The same skill and ability that drove our nation's development over the last century, when harnessed in sustainable direction, will once again bring about a push for infrastructure adaptation that will ensure a safer future for subsequent generations.

Like our forefathers who scratched out a hard won existence as pioneers in the new frontier, we too must commit to the work of transforming the rough shod and scattered America created by fossil fuel reliance into a system where we are no longer dependent on such a limited resource.

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms and will not edit or omit any of them.