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View Diary: How do we opt-out of an economic system? (56 comments)

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  •  I have the privilege (2+ / 0-)
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    ewmorr, Radical def

    of being born a US citizen. My existence and relative wealth when compared to the rest of the world and historical standards is astronomical. But this has come about because political and business leaders prior to my birth and during my lifetime have worked to structure the marketplace to only one advantage, and that is the growth of profits.

    I find this structure to be distasteful and I feel complicit in causing the suffering of others due to my participation, sometimes necessary (taxes, food) and sometimes chosen. I have worked in some of these facilities that produce food and I have seen and experienced the exploitation first hand (shifts lasting for unknown hours, seeing folks being dropped off by deputies for work furloughs in jail because of a bad check or two, seeing people unable to use the restroom at their convenience, and this pales in comparison to foreign workers or migrants in this country).

    When I buy milk, I see the dairy factory and the misery of the folks who have to work there. How do I change this or change my behavior to support labor practices and environmental practices that are sustainable and non-exploitative? That benefit my community and communities around the world?

    Why does this exist? It is an ontological question as well. Why is there so much inertia in effecting real change that benefits humanity rather than exploiting it? To me, this is the root of conservatism, the unwillingness to consider the system or structure as failed, to allow the weight of tradition or bad practices to dictate future behavior. So what do you think can be done?

    In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear

    by Areopagitica on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 10:15:19 AM PDT

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    •  A few things (1+ / 0-)
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      Areopagitica

      Just to get this out of the way: American standard of living is not astronomical compared to the rest of the world  Europe, and Japan are right there with us in consumption and exceed us in many measures of relative wealth.  South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and a few others have recently 'caught up' with the US.

      I would like to stress that the so-called Asian TIgers have moved from backwaters to front runners in this regard only in the past 60 years -- the 60 years under the so-called American Empire.

      Something to think about.

      As for food, I try to avoid factory farming, the exploitative migrant labor being the first amoungst equals in many  problems:  its relation to the petroleum industry (industrial fertilizers) obesity, diabites, health care costs, the death of the independant family farmer, etc.  For me, its gets into the kind of society we have vs the kind I think is healthy for our republic.  

      Buy organic. The greater the demand, the greater the economiies of scale, the more affordable for everyone.

      One thing, though, about industrial agriculture. Its easy for us to find fault with its practice, for the main reason that it has been so succesful.  Though we may be entering into the worst economy since the Great Depression, one thing I don't think we will see is the Grapes of Wrath.  And industrial farming is to thank for that.

    •  I think we'll just have to keep trying to elect (2+ / 0-)
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      Areopagitica, Radical def

      more progressive leaders who recognize that the corporatist interests controlling much of the media message and buying many of our politicians are the biggest part of the problem. Better educated consumers using their buying choices (even if it costs a bit more) to speak out for better products and more humane production of those products would also start to force corporations to change their ways. Just a couple of ideas out of many that I've been implementing for the past several years. The change will be tremendously difficult, but we need to keep making a difference, no matter how small on an individual level.

      "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will" - Antonio Gramsci (-6.15, -6.75)

      by ewmorr on Tue Jul 07, 2009 at 10:37:33 AM PDT

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