I went to buy a winter jacket today because it’s getting pretty cold where I live. Now, in case you didn’t know, high quality, well made, brand name winter jackets such as insulated parkas, down jackets, fleece lined jackets, etc, when purchased new and in season, will cost you around $100 at the ‘low end’, and on up to $200, $300, $400 depending on the brand and the function of the jacket. For example, clothing made for ‘outdoor activities’ like hiking and snow sports are the most expensive. All of the jackets I looked at were obviously made in one Asian country or another, because of the cheap labor. And, when you look at the money we’re spending every year on such products — it’s obvious the outdoor clothing industry is extremely profitable.
Now, many of us like the idea of making ‘responsible, conscious choices’ as consumers, for instance in buying as much locally made stuff as we can, and trying to avoid supporting the ‘big corporations’ who are exploiting the environment and human labor for profit. However, this is normally limited mostly to food items that have been grown locally. The fact is, probably around 99.9% of the stuff we use and need on a daily basis, is supplied to us by big corporations. I mean, when you need a winter coat, or some hiking boots, or a new backpack, chances are you will not find such products at your local farmer’s market — you’ll go to a big outdoor clothing retailer and you’ll buy it there — you don’t have a ‘choice’. Chances are, most of the people you know who talk about ‘sustainable, organic, responsible choices’ probably own at least one piece of name brand, outdoor clothing from jackets, to fleeces, shoes, backpacks, etc.
The fact is, as long as profit within self interest is Accepted and Allowed as the value that guides the system and the economic relationships between different countries, instead of what is Best for All Life — we’re not going to be able to align all of our ‘buying decisions’ in a way that is ‘sustainable’ and ‘harm free’. Somewhere there is going to be someone suffering, driven to play a role in the production of consumer products by the necessity of survival, existing in poverty without any opportunities to change their situation, in a country whose government is concerned only with its own profit and survival and whose economy is dependent on the continued existence of its supply of cheap labor to rich western countries. How is a lowly factory worker supposed to make ‘conscious buying choices’? I mean, there is in fact a world beyond small, liberal, wealthy American communities where people have the Capital and the Education and the Opportunities to do things like create organic farms.
If we’re ever going to have a world where no matter where you are, or who you are, you have access to sustainably produced, abuse-free products — we’re going to need to do a whooooole lot more than buy organic local produce. I mean, before we’re even going to be able to address the larger environmental problems we face, we’re going to need to start with implementing a Global system where all movement of money is directed within an economic framework based on Guaranteed Human Rights for everyone. We’re not going to be able to change the entire clothing production industry or food production industry or energy industry over night — but what we can do virtually overnight is implement a Guaranteed Living Income for everyone currently unable to afford a dignified life. If you’re conscious of the massive scale of inequality, abuse, crimes against life, and environmental destruction taking place every minute of every day all around the world all in the name of Profit — you’ll realize we have to take Responsibility beyond a personal lifestyle choice that makes us feel good about ourselves and helps us forget about the atrocities endured by those less fortunate than us.
I mean the single point of Accepting and Allowing poverty, starvation, and unsanitary living conditions to exist simple because people are not in a position to participate in the Job system at an effective level — that immediately invalidates any so called ‘conscious buying choice’, because it is taking place within the acceptance of an economic system that justifies denying someone basic human rights — within a Consciousness where one is Conscious of millions suffering – yet still finds ways to justify it, in order to protect one’s ‘happiness’.
And on the point of ‘Happiness’ — it’s critical to watch the Century of the Self documentary which explains the creation of the modern lifestyle / happiness oriented Consumer through Psychological manipulation over generations through advertising and public relations — because in studying this documentary you’ll realize that when buying makes you happy — whether organic or sustainable or not — you’re actually functioning within Acceptance of the system, as a product of the system, and are in fact not making your own ‘choice‘. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_of_the_Self
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Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal, which outlines the basic Principles of how we’re going to be able to start transforming economics to a Life based system.
“One way to fund a Living Income Guaranteed is through the nationalization of resources within each country. To benefit the public well-being, each country’s resources are re-allocated by nationalizing companies that utilize the national resources in manufacturing and production processes. The citizenry would then effectively become shareholders of these companies. Economic profit generated by publicly owned companies would partially (or wholly, if necessary) finance the Living Income Guaranteed.Beyond the obvious funding function of such a step, the nationalization of resources and connected enterprises provides an opportunity for the management of the country’s resources by the people of that country – and is, in fact, an extension of direct democracy.”