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OfflinePhred
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Perks
    #870906 - 09/09/02 01:51 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

In a post in the thread "American army free to commit crimes of war" hongomon writes:

Where did I say I wanted the perks? What perks are you even talking about? The millions of things we can't seem to stop buying? The packaged packages of stuff? The perk of prosperity? A turkey in every freezer, a car in every garage? The way things are run now, it's a false prosperity. It requires an entire planet to maintain it.

One at a time:

The millions of things we can't seem to stop buying?

"We"? Speak for yourself, paleface.

Although I personally don't UNDERSTAND the need to buy useless stuff, I can sympathize with those who seem unable to kick the habit. It must be awful to be a compulsive buyer. Maybe I can help you out by trying to pin it down a bit better for you. They say the first step to beating an addiction is to understand it.

WHAT things can't you stop buying, hongomon?
If you don't want them, WHY do you continue to buy them?
WHO is it, precisely, who is forcing you to buy them?
HOW are these dastardly fiends forcing you to buy stuff you don't want?

The perk of prosperity?

Well, sure, we all know destitution is better than prosperity. Lower insurance premiums and all.

A turkey in every freezer...

Only if you're an omnivore. I'm sure prosperous vegans would prefer a few kilos of tofu in the freezer.

The way things are run now, it's a false prosperity.

What exactly is "false" prosperity? I thought the way it works is that if you have enough stuff, you are considered prosperous. Am I missing something?

It requires an entire planet to maintain it.

What does that mean? Your statement implies the planet cannot support any more humans at the mean level of prosperity they enjoy today. This is exactly what the Malthusians were proclaiming in the late Sixties and early Seventies, when the population was about half what it is today. It will probably be what they are proclaiming thirty years from now, when the population will likely be close to double what it is today.

pinky


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InvisibleCaptain Jack
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Re: Perks [Re: Phred]
    #870957 - 09/09/02 02:15 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

i *think* what he means by the "entire planet" comment is that our prosperity comes at a cost to the "third world".

i would further interpret the post to question the basic idea of haves and have nots as an economic ideal worth having.

but if you ask me, you knew this is what he meant but wanted to take each statement individually and literally. cause that's what people do here in the political discussion forum.


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-
Captain Jack has been hailed as a brilliant scholar, discredited as a brilliant fraud, and mistaken for a much taller man on several occasions.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Perks [Re: Captain Jack]
    #870984 - 09/09/02 02:28 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Captain Jack writes:

i *think* what he means by the "entire planet" comment is that our prosperity comes at a cost to the "third world". i would further interpret the post to question the basic idea of haves and have nots as an economic ideal worth having.

Oh, probably. I know from past discussions that hongomon is convinced that the prosperity of an individual (or group of individuals) can be achieved only at the expense of another individual (or group of individuals).

but if you ask me, you knew this is what he meant...

Yes, *I* knew what he meant, but only because I am familiar with his point of view from past threads. Not everyone reading this particular thread may enjoy that same familiarity.

...but wanted to take each statement individually and literally.

I address each statement individually because it makes it easier to follow.

...cause that's what people do here in the political discussion forum.

Some people here post broad and often contradictory statements. Other people point out inconsistencies and arbitrariness and inaccuracies. We got all kinds here. As Moe Howard would say, "It's a madhouse!"

pinky



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Edited by pinksharkmark (09/09/02 02:47 AM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Perks [Re: Phred]
    #871052 - 09/09/02 03:12 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

In a post in the thread American army free to commit crimes of war hongomon writes:

The American way of life simply would not be possible without the many many resources we acquire worldwide.

That statement holds true of pretty much any country you can name. What's your point? Substitute "Swedish" for "American" and see what I mean. There are few (if any) countries where EVERY product available has been manufactured "in house" with resources obtained "in house".

It has not been, say many of the world's nations and peoples, a fair exchange.

If someone feels he is not getting a fair exchange in a business deal, he cancels the deal, renogotiates it, or does business with someone else in the future. Perhaps the foreign folks who feel they've been cheated should exercise one of the above options.

pinky


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: Perks [Re: Captain Jack]
    #871061 - 09/09/02 03:23 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Giving third world people jobs, health care, hundreads of tons of free food and medicines, revolutionary agricultural technologies, and billions of dollars in foreign aid in no way exploits them. It helps them to live.


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"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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Offlinezeronio
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Re: Perks [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #871198 - 09/09/02 06:47 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Forcing third world countries to accept free trade agreements and at the same time closing our borders and markets for their products - that's exploitment.
What about transfering production to countries with cheap labor force and bad social care? I read about Nike's factory in China where workers worked for 12h/day for a couple of $ and were not even allowed to go to toilet.


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Perks [Re: Phred]
    #871469 - 09/09/02 11:40 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

"Substitute "Swedish" for "American" and see what I mean."

Ok. Try that with "Ethiopia".


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"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Re: Perks [Re: Phluck]
    #871491 - 09/09/02 11:47 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

****Ok. Try that with "Ethiopia". ****

Etheopia recieves a BUTTLOAD of imports from around the world namely the USA...remember Farm-Aid..and all those charity concerts?..remember "WE ARE THE WORLD"?

All countries import and export materials...even canada


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Re: Perks [Re: zeronio]
    #871496 - 09/09/02 11:50 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

The US does not force foreign govs to accept trade agreements. We do not tell them they'll accept it or we'll invade them. These developing countries get the long end of the stick with our trade deals. We open our borders to them and they dump all over us. We have a 90 billion dollar trade deficit and it doesn't come from ripping off peasants, it comes from sending them big heaping piles of money.


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"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


Edited by Ellis Dee (09/09/02 11:52 AM)


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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Re: Perks [Re: Ellis Dee]
    #871537 - 09/09/02 12:02 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

****The US does not force foreign govs to accept trade agreements***

Very true...we would like to lose them if we could, namely GAT and NAFTA...they only benefit the poorer countries...kinda like Koyoto in a small way


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Perks [Re: Innvertigo]
    #871572 - 09/09/02 12:16 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

remember "WE ARE THE WORLD"?

Holy fuck. He thinks Lionel Ritchie saved the world  :grin:

The reality is for every dollar in aid we give to Africa they give us ?16 dollars back in debt repayment. That's why "it's true we make a better day, just you and me" ain't working son.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Perks [Re: Xlea321]
    #871744 - 09/09/02 08:14 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Alex123 writes:

The reality is for every dollar in aid we give to Africa they give us ?16 dollars back in debt repayment.

Now THAT'S a pretty specific ratio. Doesn't sound like one just pulled from a hat. It must have had a source. Care to provide it to the rest of us?

However, even if accurate, all it shows is that the level of outright charity to developing nations is substantially less than the level of "loans". As it turns out, a substantial percentage of these "loans" are never repaid, so they are identical to charity.

pinky


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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Re: Perks [Re: Xlea321]
    #871748 - 09/09/02 08:15 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

****Holy fuck. He thinks Lionel Ritchie saved the world****

once again your ignorance astounds.....

***The reality is for every dollar in aid we give to Africa they give us ?16 dollars back in debt repayment***

so that's why we're forgiving third world debt? Personally i think if you borrow any money on the premise that you will pay it off you should pay it off.

****That's why "it's true we make a better day, just you and me" ain't working son. ****

It all goes back to who's in charge of the country. Years back (maybe your mommy told you this) the etheopians received huge amounts of money for aid. What did they do with it you ask? Well they built a soccerfield...by golly when my country's starving to death the first thing i would build is a soccerfield...sounds pretty sad to me but if it makes you feel better you can blame the US..


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


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Offlinehongomon
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Re: Perks [Re: Phred]
    #881310 - 09/13/02 02:38 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

"'We'? Speak for yourself, paleface."

Playing tonto again, I see. I doubt you are as free of this mess as you imply, but that's really irrelevant, since any single organism's consumption habits don't refute the fact that as a whole, Western societies CONSUME TOO MUCH RESOURCES AND PRODUCE TOO MUCH WASTE. (Perhaps due to its wealth, this is true of the U.S. in particular, and recall that my comment was made from one American to another.)

For one thing, we have to consider the oranges of the masses as well as the apple of the individual. As I recall from past conversations, this is not a strong point of yours. They seem to be one and the same science or something. Analyzing the masses does, to be sure, smell of elitism: I am aware of the herd, therefore I am above it. Let's not be dissuaded by this false if-then. That said, I maintain that there is a "psychology of the masses" and that understanding of that psychology enables establishments to lead them hither and thither. In the topic at hand, that means toward whiter teeth, new and improved window cleaners, SUVs that pull all other SUVs out of the mud, shampoos that make your hair smell terrific, and yogurts that make you look like a model. There may be a few more, but I can't think of them off hand.

For another thing, much of these millions of things we can't seem to stop buying aren't things we're intending to buy at all, but the things used to transport the things to us. A can of Coke or beer uses about 14 grams of aluminum. A 12-ounce can of beans or peaches uses about 20 grams of steel. When I buy a loaf of bread, or 16 ounces of frozen peas, am I buying the plastic bag they come in? Of course I am. I don't want them, but a man's gotta eat.

And so, I can't seem to stop buying them. They pile up in my cupboard. I recycle what I can. I make lampshades, mobiles, lawn ornaments. But there's no way around ending up with a whole shitload of rubbish along the way. Even if I have a very level-headed grasp of needs vs. wants, and venture into the latter land with prudence, I still find myself part of a system built on, supported by, dependent upon, excess. At every step of the way.

But let's not beat ourselves up--this is a system that was already well-established before we were alive, let alone capable of developing an awareness of it. It came to be long ago, under much naivete. A new marvel of technology came along; it wowed people with its many uses in their lives; it was promptly incorporated. The world, until sometime in the 20th century, was an endless source of whatever we desired, a bottomless pit to throw it when we were through. Well, here we are, later on the timeline, and we're starting to see things differently.

Which is more disturbing, then, that we find ourselves in a system that is the opposite of ecologically sound, or that there is an establishment that takes great effort to prevent the changing of that system?

I'm almost finished for now. You write, "What exactly is "false" prosperity? I thought the way it works is that if you have enough stuff, you are considered prosperous. Am I missing something?"

Yes, you are! Pinky, you may be a stubborn old git, but at least you ask the right questions. Consider that definition of prosperity in association to a previous comment of yours:

"Although I personally don't UNDERSTAND the need to buy useless stuff, I can sympathize with those who seem unable to kick the habit."

When people are conditioned to believe that "if you have enough stuff, you are considered prosperous," it becomes very difficult to avoid developing a "need to buy useless stuff." Not everyone is as smart as you, Pinky; the distinction between needs and desires, as well as the definition of "enough", can get pretty murky. And when the majority of the billion-strong consumer public of the world shops with little or no consideration to these three things:

1) resource depletion
2) pollution
3) the industries they support

It truly truly is a false prosperity. It's something like this:
"Hey, I'm FLYING! I'm really flying! Look, I'm fly---"

By the way, to challenge our current "prosperity" is most certainly NOT akin to advocating destitution!

hongomon


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Perks [Re: hongomon]
    #882954 - 09/13/02 09:35 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

hongomon writes:

Western societies CONSUME TOO MUCH RESOURCES...

Which resources? Give me some specifics. Apart from fossil fuels (which every society on earth consumes) which resources are in short supply? And even though it is true that fossil fuels are finite, they are nowhere near to being considered scarce.

...AND PRODUCE TOO MUCH WASTE.

The amount of waste a society produces is proportional to the number of individuals in a society. China and India both produce a lot of waste, neither of them are "Western" societies.

That said, I maintain that there is a "psychology of the masses" and that understanding of that psychology enables establishments to lead them hither and thither. In the topic at hand, that means toward whiter teeth, new and improved window cleaners, SUVs that pull all other SUVs out of the mud, shampoos that make your hair smell terrific, and yogurts that make you look like a model.

If you are not swayed by these advertising techniques, why do you think others are? That's a pretty elitist attitude.

For another thing, much of these millions of things we can't seem to stop buying aren't things we're intending to buy at all, but the things used to transport the things to us. A can of Coke or beer uses about 14 grams of aluminum. A 12-ounce can of beans or peaches uses about 20 grams of steel. When I buy a loaf of bread, or 16 ounces of frozen peas, am I buying the plastic bag they come in? Of course I am. I don't want them, but a man's gotta eat.

What's your point? Of course certain foods come in packages. It's tough to carry a liter of orange juice in your pocket. If the thought of having to recycle Coke cans bothers you, buy your coke in bottles, or buy a soda fountain rig and big cans of syrup and save tons of money in the long run. Or don't buy Coke at all. If you don't like the idea of recycling or discarding the packages that food comes in, don't buy packaged food. No one is forcing you to.

But there's no way around ending up with a whole shitload of rubbish along the way.

True. What does the nature of the political system in place in a given society have to do with the fact that living beings create waste products? Even anarchists create trash.

Even if I have a very level-headed grasp of needs vs. wants, and venture into the latter land with prudence, I still find myself part of a system built on, supported by, dependent upon, excess. At every step of the way.

Just because you are surrounded by what you consider to be wretched excess does not mean you must partake of it.

A new marvel of technology came along; it wowed people with its many uses in their lives; it was promptly incorporated.

If you mean modern, hygienic methods of packaging foods such as canning, freezing, and vacuum packing, then we were right to be "wowed" -- these advances slashed wastage and spoilage and reduced disease enormously.

The world, until sometime in the 20th century, was an endless source of whatever we desired...

It still is. With the exception of fossil fuels, resources can be recycled (glass, plastics, metals) or regrown (food, forest products, natural fibers).

Which is more disturbing, then, that we find ourselves in a system that is the opposite of ecologically sound, or that there is an establishment that takes great effort to prevent the changing of that system?

What are you talking about? I personally consume very little in the way of resources. From your posts, it seems you can say the same. Anyone else who cares to make the effort can also minimize their impact on the environment, regardless of how many billions of dollars Pepsi and Ford spend on advertising. Why does the SYSTEM need to be changed? If you don't want something, DON'T BUY IT! What's so hard to understand about that?

When people are conditioned to believe that "if you have enough stuff, you are considered prosperous," it becomes very difficult to avoid developing a "need to buy useless stuff." Not everyone is as smart as you, Pinky...

I disagree. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out these things. Anyone with a halfway normal IQ can do it. Again, there is that elitism of yours popping up -- "Well, OF COURSE you and I are too smart to get sucked in, but the proles can't help themselves." I have said it before and I repeat it now, I think you have a very dim view of your fellow man.

What do you suggest we do, hongomon? Outlaw canned food so that those who are just too darn stoopid to understand that they are "destroying the ecology" can no longer do so?

And when the majority of the billion-strong consumer public of the world shops with little or no consideration to these three things:
1) resource depletion
2) pollution
3) the industries they support
It truly truly is a false prosperity.


I don't agree that the "majority" of consumers pay little or no attention to those things. At least, not in the Western world. As for "resource depletion", this is a major theme of yours -- THE major theme, in fact. I have challenged you in the past to specify WHICH resources are being depleted. I request once again that you provide us some examples of SPECIFIC resources being depleted by the "Western" way of consumerism. I just took a fifteen minute tour of my place, and I can't see a SINGLE item that was made from a scarce resource. Not one. No piece of clothing, no piece of electronic equipment, no stick of furniture. I believe the scarcest resource used to manufacture anything I own is the miniscule amount of gold in the computer I am typing this on.

By the way, to challenge our current "prosperity" is most certainly NOT akin to advocating destitution!

So what ARE you advocating? Subsistence?

pinky


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Edited by pinksharkmark (09/13/02 09:38 PM)


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InvisibleJonnyOnTheSpot
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Re: Perks [Re: Innvertigo]
    #883086 - 09/13/02 10:45 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

kyoto doesnt benefit small countries, it benefits the world and the people that live in it.


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Religion is for people who are afraid of going to Hell; spirituality is for those who have been there.


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OfflineMortMtroN
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Re: Perks [Re: JonnyOnTheSpot]
    #883139 - 09/13/02 11:30 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

"The American way of life simply would not be possible without the many many resources we acquire worldwide."

"That statement holds true of pretty much any country you can name. What's your point? Substitute "Swedish" for "American" and see what I mean. There are few (if any) countries where EVERY product available has been manufactured "in house" with resources obtained "in house". "

The US is one tenth of the world population yet we consume two thirds of the worlds resources. Our economy cannot survive without excess growth. Such growth is necessary because of all the capital that sits in corporate bank accounts while the people that produce the goods are too underpaid to support the economy, growth solves this problem by constantly opening up otherwise unneeded markets for useless products. You cannot deny that our economy survives on blind consumerism, endless growth, and massive waste.

"It has not been, say many of the world's nations and peoples, a fair exchange."

"If someone feels he is not getting a fair exchange in a business deal, he cancels the deal, renogotiates it, or does business with someone else in the future. Perhaps the foreign folks who feel they've been cheated should exercise one of the above options."

Somebody who lives in a country that has been economically devastated by overwhelming debt to the World Bank( run by western countries, mainly the US) usually has no choice but to work in a sweat shop for a western multination corporation. More and more third world nations resources are being privatized and are exported to western countries that already have excess to begin with.

"The reality is for every dollar in aid we give to Africa they give us ?16 dollars back in debt repayment."

"Now THAT'S a pretty specific ratio. Doesn't sound like one just pulled from a hat. It must have had a source. Care to provide it to the rest of us?

However, even if accurate, all it shows is that the level of outright charity to developing nations is substantially less than the level of "loans". As it turns out, a substantial percentage of these "loans" are never repaid, so they are identical to charity."

Even though a loan may not be paid, the debt provides a means for western multinationals to privatize that particular countries resources and make a bunch of money, usually at the expense of the people.

"The amount of waste a society produces is proportional to the number of individuals in a society. China and India both produce a lot of waste, neither of them are "Western" societies"

Like I said above. The US is one tenth the world population and consumes two thirds of the world's resources, and that is not because we produce those two thirds, we more or less steal them from poorer countries. The amount of waste we produce is proportional to the amount of excess resources we control. Resources may not be scarce right now, but if we continue in this direction they will be.

"If you are not swayed by these advertising techniques, why do you think others are? That's a pretty elitist attitude."

If people are not swayed by advertising, then why do corporations spent billions of dollars on it. It must have a proportional effect on society or they wouldn't bother.

"What's your point? Of course certain foods come in packages. It's tough to carry a liter of orange juice in your pocket. If the thought of having to recycle Coke cans bothers you, buy your coke in bottles, or buy a soda fountain rig and big cans of syrup and save tons of money in the long run. Or don't buy Coke at all. If you don't like the idea of recycling or discarding the packages that food comes in, don't buy packaged food. No one is forcing you to. "

Unless you live near a store where you can buy unpackaged foods and put them in your own containers, or you have your own farm, you do have to buy prepackaged foods. Of course you say that cans reduce waste, which is true, but they also create it by using metal cans instead of mason jars which somebody can reuse. I have tried to find uses for old cans but there isn't really anything. Recycling is a sham unless you actually bring your own stuff down to the recycling center. Many a time I have seen the garbage man steal my recyables.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Perks [Re: MortMtroN]
    #883501 - 09/14/02 07:48 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

MortMtron writes:

The US is one tenth of the world population... yet we consume two thirds of the worlds resources.

Wrong. The US population is 4.6% of the world total -- 281 billion vs 6,250 billion. See:

http://www.geohive.com/global/index.php

...yet we consume two thirds of the worlds resources.

Wrong again. "Percentage of the world's resources consumed by Americans: 30% (Denis Hayes, "Eco-Nomic Power," Seattle Weekly, November 10, 1993, p. 15.)

and

"During the 1990s, developed nations were 20% of the world's population yet used two-thirds of all resources (United Nations Population Fund, Population and the Environment: The Challenges Ahead (New York: United Nations, 1991)"

A search of the web turns up tons of similar (though not identical) quotes. The basic theme is identical, though... roughly 20-25% of the world's population accounts for roughly 65-85% of the world's annual resource use. The US alone consumes roughly 25-30%. The precise figures depend which source compiled them and which year/years are being cited.

Our economy cannot survive without excess growth.

No economy can survive for long without growth. What is "excess" growth?

Such growth is necessary because of all the capital that sits in corporate bank accounts...

Actually, a very small percentage EVER sits in corporate bank accounts. Corporations re-invest that capital in new production. Hoarded money does not increase wealth. In fact, because of inflation, hoarded money DECREASES in value over time.

...while the people that produce the goods are too underpaid to support the economy, growth solves this problem by constantly opening up otherwise unneeded markets for useless products.

I don't understand. If the producers are too underpaid to "support the economy", how can they afford to buy useless products?

You cannot deny that our economy survives on blind consumerism, endless growth, and massive waste.

There is "consumerism" (whatever THAT means), growth, and waste in all economies. ANY economy consists of individuals who both consume and produce. Any SUCCESSFUL economy has growth. And, since human enterprise is less than perfect, ALL economies have wastage.

Somebody who lives in a country that has been economically devastated by overwhelming debt to the World Bank (run by western countries, mainly the US) usually has no choice but to work in a sweat shop for a western multination corporation.

Debt is not FORCED on anyone. In order to be indebted, one must first find someone with something worth borrowing, then persuade them to loan it to you. The World Bank did not FORCE these countries to borrow a dime.

More and more third world nations resources are being privatized and are exported to western countries that already have excess to begin with.

So what? The inhabitants of that country are not being deprived of the use of their resources. Not ALL the resources are marked for export. In a country whose major export is pineapples, the people in that country are still free to buy pineapples. Not only that, but pineapples in the producing country are significantly less expensive than pineapples in the importing country.

Even though a loan may not be paid, the debt provides a means for western multinationals to privatize that particular countries resources and make a bunch of money...

That's what happens when a debt is not repaid... you lose the collateral put up as security for the loan. Also note that often the REVERSE is true... foreign loans are used to develop an industry, which is then "nationalized" (in blunt terms, stolen). The original lender never receives his money back, but he DOES get to buy (at OPEC prices) the oil produced by his stolen refinery.

...usually at the expense of the people.

Who is at fault? The bank who made the loan (which often is never fully repaid, by the way), or the third-world politician who lined his own pockets with 25% of the loan, enriched his cronies with another 15%, pissed away 30% of it through hiring incompetent contractors, lost another 10% of it to pilferage by his desperately poor citizens, and then finally seized outright the shoddy product the remaining 20% eventually produced?

The US is one tenth the world population and consumes two thirds of the world's resources...

See above refutation of exaggerated figures.

...and that is not because we produce those two thirds...

The US EXCHANGES goods and services for those resources. ALL countries do... that's what the concept of TRADE refers to. For example, Japan produces next to nothing in the way of raw resources, yet they are the world's second largest consumer of raw materials. Japan, like the USA, TRADES for those resources.

...we more or less steal them from poorer countries.

If the USA "steals" resources from poorer countries, then so does EVERY developed nation. Nations SELL their resources to the highest bidder. Many times it is the US with the highest bid, but not always.

The amount of waste we produce is proportional to the amount of excess resources we control.

Please supply us with your understanding of the term "excess" in this context.

Resources may not be scarce right now, but if we continue in this direction they will be.

WHICH resources?

If people are not swayed by advertising, then why do corporations spent billions of dollars on it. It must have a proportional effect on society or they wouldn't bother.

The reason corporations advertise is not to persuade people to buy shoes, but to buy THEIR shoes rather than the competition's shoes.

Unless you live near a store where you can buy unpackaged foods and put them in your own containers, or you have your own farm, you do have to buy prepackaged foods.

Yes, I know. This is why food packaging was invented in the first place -- so people who didn't live on farms could buy food before it went rotten.

Of course you say that cans reduce waste, which is true, but they also create it by using metal cans instead of mason jars which somebody can reuse. I have tried to find uses for old cans but there isn't really anything.

Cans are used because they are lighter, more durable, and less expensive to produce than glass jars. Since they are lighter, they use less resources (gasoline) to deliver. Since they don't shatter, they reduce wastage (pollution).

Recycling is a sham unless you actually bring your own stuff down to the recycling center. Many a time I have seen the garbage man steal my recyables.

Why would someone steal them? Presumably because they have value. What do you think that guy is going to do with those cans -- make modern sculpture from them? No, he's going to sell them to a recycling center. Your complaint is not that the cans don't get recycled, but that YOU don't get the money from it. If you want to get the money, take them to the recycling center yourself. That's the way it works.

pinky


--------------------


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Offlinehongomon
old hand
Registered: 04/14/02
Posts: 910
Loc: comin' at ya
Last seen: 13 years, 3 months
Re: Perks [Re: Phred]
    #885184 - 09/16/02 09:07 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Pinky:
"Which resources? Give me some specifics. Apart from fossil fuels (which every society on earth consumes) which resources are in short supply?"

Hah! Holy shit, you're joking, right? Okay, here are some places to start:

trees (lumber, paper, etc.)
http://www.geocities.com/lucilite/Deforestation.html
http://www.ciesin.org/TG/LU/deforest.html

fish
http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/fish/depth.asp
http://www.reefguardian.org/RGIhome.html

soil/soil minerals
http://ukulju.tripod.com/1936.htm
http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_presse_99_3e.html

fresh water
http://www.gracelinks.org/water.html
http://www.ips.org/Critical/Enviroment/Environ/env1209006.htm


Let me restate what I really feel is glaringly obvious: Western Societies CONSUME TOO MUCH. WE DO! This is not an issue of consumption, because as you have so cleverly pointed out in the past, every living thing consumes. This is an issue of overconsumption, the whys and hows, and whys not to, and the million-dollar hows not to.

Pinky:
"The amount of waste a society produces is proportional to the number of individuals in a society. China and India both produce a lot of waste, neither of them are "Western" societies."

This is utterly false. It would be nice if it were so, and maybe someday humankind might evolve into a system where it is...[sound of hongomon gazing off in the distance]. But for now, in 2002, the amount of waste a society produces is proportional to how much that society consumes. An analysis of current situations suggests that how much a society consumes is proportional to how strong its economy is, i.e. how "prosperous" it is (whatever THAT means )

“Our impact on the planet is not just a function of how many of us there are, but what our consumptive patterns are. The average Canadian or American consumes about twenty times as much of everything as the average person in India or China; so the Canadian population, then, is 600 million Chinese or Indian equivalents”
http://www.newdimensions.org/article/suzuki.html

“From 1974 to 1999, the amount of household waste produced per person in Norway rose by 80 per cent, from 174 kg to 314 kg per year. Economic growth has resulted in higher production and consumption, and is the most important driving force behind the growing quantities of waste.”
http://www.environment.no/Topics/waste/waste.stm

Y)Natsumi. Do you know how much trash comes out?
N) I have never thought about such a thing.
Y) Is it so? Then, see this table.
http://contest.thinkquest.jp/tqj1998/10119/gomi-e.html

Pinky:
"If you are not swayed by these advertising techniques, why do you think others are? That's a pretty elitist attitude."

First of all, I'm not sure I'm not swayed by them. I've made some appropriate adjustments in my lifestyle here and there, and I hope to continue doing so. But let's leave marketing strategy out for a moment, and go back to overconsumption: if I work hard and get to where I'm consuming far less than the average of my society, and producing far less waste, is it elitist of me to acknowledge that? If I play tennis professionally (and maybe I do...), is it elitist of me to acknowledge that I play tennis better than most tennis players in the world? Nothing doing.

elitism: 1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

Second, I've already discussed this sensitive idea of elitism. Whenever an individual considers ways in which a society behaves as a single animal, he or she is flirting with elitism. Like I said, though, I don't believe that to recognize a "herd" is to rise above it, and that seems to be the snare that causes a person to be elitist. If you don't think that there is a "herd," then good for you, you've figured out a way to avoid elitism.

As for me, I'll take the chance of winding up an elitist snob, because I want to figure out what the fuck is going on around me, and my observations to date strongly suggest that there's something about a large mass of people that makes it difficult for the wisdom, prudence, or critical eye any given member is capable of to translate to the mass itself.

I don't, however, believe that it has to be as bad as it is, but that there are presently some very powerful establishments expending a lot of energy to "encourage", "manipulate", or "influence" (but never "force", oh no) that population according to those establishments' desires.

And what do they desire? To remain. Establishments are conservative. And yet, to remain, they apparently must grow. Feed me, Seymore!

Pinky:
"What's your point? Of course certain foods come in packages. It's tough to carry a liter of orange juice in your pocket."

Ya know I've tried that and you're right! Let's consider the dilemma you present:
either
a) we continue to package as we currently do, dedicating a vast percentage of all resources to creating containers for food items or other products,
or
b) we try to carry orange juice in our pocket and do other absurdities.

There's NO OTHER WAY! There's no middle ground! No room for improvement, not simply in packaging/distribution procedures but in consumer habits. We have no choice but to buy 300 ml of orange juice in its own little container.

Pinky:
"What does the nature of the political system in place in a given society have to do with the fact that living beings create waste products? Even anarchists create trash."

Little or nothing. But once again, this is not about living beings creating waste products. This is about living beings creating more waste than they, and/or their environment, can process. And it's about those same beings using up renewable resources at rates which exceed the environment's ability to renew them, especially when that ability is further hampered by the aforementioned waste.

And there, yes, it does begin to politicize. Maybe you don't think that an establishment can become "too powerful", that there will always be some checking and balancing. I look around me and I see it isn't so. What do I mean by "too powerful"? I mean that the checking and balancing is ineffective, or nearly so.

Overconsumption begins to politicize because combatting it threatens the very existence of many such establishments, and the general well-being of many more. We need to consume less? If that means that we need to re-structure our packaging standards, you can be sure that the industries built on packaging (and you better believe its a big business) will suffer. If it means we need to ween ourselves from certain products that are unjustifiable, than the producers of those products will suffer.

And of course, none of them want that. It's a progressive idea, and as such has many enemies in high places. They'll do some pretty shady things to keep THAT from happening. Some legal, some not. Either way, it turns into a social struggle against a beast. There is a push by the citizens and their representatives for legislation to coincide with the findings of science (capitalizing on the "do no harm" thing of capitalism). They resist. And, there is a push to unify the consumers, to increase awareness and encourage wiser spending and consumption habits. Crazy, but the "establishment" doesn't want it to happen. And by continuing to purchase products without considering the behavior/ethics of the product's manufacturer, we basically fund their war against us.

I wrote:
"When people are conditioned to believe that "if you have enough stuff, you are considered prosperous," it becomes very difficult to avoid developing a "need to buy useless stuff." Not everyone is as smart as you, Pinky..."

And you replied:
"I disagree. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out these things. Anyone with a halfway normal IQ can do it."

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I realize you've been living in a very poor country for quite a few years, and so you haven't had as much opportunity to observe the materialism of a first-world country. Maybe that's part of the reason you don't understand the need to buy so much useless stuff. You come across as someone with a halfway normal IQ--you should be able to figure it out if you give it some thought.

Start by accepting, at least to humor ole hongomon, the premise that wealthy societies consume too much. (If that's too hard maybe "...consume a hell of a lot" or "...sure do buy a lot of useless stuff" will do.) But try the first one. The word "too" is important. Then consider that any given of those societies is comprised mostly of people with halfway normal IQs or higher. And yet, they consume too much! Why?

Pinky:
"I have said it before and I repeat it now, I think you have a very dim view of your fellow man."

You have cut me to the quick. I am pretty ticked at my race right now. (Trust me, though, I save the lion's share of my criticisms for myself.) But a dim view of my fellow man? Pinky, the day I don't think that we have a chance to change our course, to get back Loretta, is the day I stop thinking about these things, once and for all. In the meantime, it is my faith in my fellow man that keeps me doing this. What, you think I plan to save the world by MYSELF?

In fact, I believe that most of us consider ourselves moral agents, and take seriously the concept of morality. I have enough faith in my fellow man and his morality that I don't think I need to define a moral code for any one. But I do want to push the act of purchasing further into the realm of moral reasoning, because I don't think it's commonly viewed as such. Considering the complexity of the system, this is understandable--when we buy a product in the store, we are so detached from what all went into getting that product there--the resources used, the energy consumed, the treatment of the workers, etc.

It will require a major social movement. Consider "dolphin safe" tuna, and then turn the conscience at work there into a social movement, in which products are scrutinized, and selected not simply for value or convenience, but for being in line with one's moral code.

Pipe dream? Maybe. In my spare time I chisel the idea into the concrete floor of my apartment, so that maybe, if someone survives armageddon, they'll find it and give it some thought.

hongomon


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Offlinefoghorn
enthusiast
Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 308
Last seen: 12 years, 8 months
Re: Perks [Re: hongomon]
    #886234 - 09/16/02 06:30 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

"but if you ask me, you knew this is what he meant but wanted to take each statement individually and literally. cause that's what people do here in the political discussion forum. "

you are right fuckin on cap


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