Assorted content to end your week.
- Chris Mooney takes a look at the positive side of social influences on behaviour, as new research shows a correlation between spending time with neighbours and an interest in the environmental issues which affect us all. But Adam Stoneman documents how another form of social interaction – that of wealth flaunting – promotes conspicuous consumption which benefits nobody.
- Tim Harper slams the Cons for looking to attack aboriginal Canadians rather than work with them – a particularly serious problem in the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. Don Martin writes (Read more…)
Okay, I admit it. Irene Jansen is my partner. But I still think it’s pretty cool that she got the normally excellent outdoor gear retailer Bushtukah to change some of the promo copy for its kids bikes so that it’s not so Ken and Barbie.
There was once a show called Revolution. And another called Scorpion.
Each had a great premise: a world after electricity, and what happens when you have a bunch of geniuses trying to work together on cool projects.
Each failed miserably [as art] almost immediately.
Why? Nothing new here. Network TV isn’t about high quality art. Sometimes that happens inadvertently, but usually it just has to be interesting enough to keep people watching the commercials.
Besides, people who appreciate real art may not be so enthused with all the car, fast food, sweatshop clothes and other materialism-obsessed capitalist elements.
So if you’re (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Elizabeth Stoker Bruening discusses the effect of poverty at the family level, particularly when coupled with policies designed to force workers to chase jobs far away from home and family: If you want to see the right-wing denuded of its usual bluster about family values and welfare, visit this Economist post, published in response to Nick Kristof’s remembrance of a friend who fell on hard times and passed away. The piece argues that the problem isn’t a paucity of empathy for poor people who rely on welfare, but perhaps an excess (Read more…)
Oh, what a list it would be!
Kinder Morgan [the zombie child of Enron]?
Imperial Metals [fanciful producers of the Mount Polley Mine disaster]?
Other companies that treat workers badly like IKEA or Rocky Mountain Railtours?
Capitalism is all about worshiping Frankencorporations that are immortal, legally a human being, limit the liability of owners if the company screws up, taxed much lower than real humans, and are designed to maximize shareholder wealth while minimizing risk to capitalists and maximizing consequences for others. Raping and pillaging is just an added bonus.
But what if a company, in its cancerous (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- George Monbiot opines that curbing corporate power is the most fundamental political issue we need to address in order to make progress possible on any other front: Does this sometimes feel like a country under enemy occupation? Do you wonder why the demands of so much of the electorate seldom translate into policy? Why parties of the left seem incapable of offering effective opposition to market fundamentalism, let alone proposing coherent alternatives? Do you wonder why those who want a kind and decent and just world, in which both human beings and other (Read more…)
It’s not so cut and arid. It’s not like old people didn’t create EarthShip.
But this graphic, that’s not the only study that shows how younger people aren’t so yuppie, so individualist, so consumerist, so selfish.
If you don’t have enough under-40s in your life, work on it.
The fall of the Communist regimes of eastern Europe, with the consequent loss of influence of the parties of Marxist inspiration, gave even more relevance to anti-consumerism–and therefore to “consumerism”–in alternative discourse in a wide variety of forms and topical associations: from catastrophism and radical ecologism to the discourse of movements against (Read more…)
Welcome, shoppers, to the most frenzied time of the year, when most of what used to be called ‘spare time’ is taken up by shopping, planning your shopping list, scanning online for bargains, or simply driving around the mall parking lot looking for a spot.
Christmas (or, if you prefer, the ‘holiday’ day) is a month away, which seems like a lot of time. But according to the retailers of the world, a month is barely enough time to get everything done. That’s why Christm — sorry, ‘holiday’ — shopping advertising began before you had the chance to throw out (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- The Star points out what the Cons have destroyed – including public assets and program spending – in order to chip away at the federal deficit caused in the first place by their reckless tax slashing. And Thomas Walkom discusses how their latest “job” scheme does nothing but handing free money to businesses, while Angella MacEwen notes that Canada as a whole is hundreds of thousands of jobs short of reaching its pre-recession employment rate.
- Meanwhile, Bruce Cheadle writes that the Cons’ attempt to build an economy solely around resource exploitation has (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Linda McQuaig discusses who stands to lose out from a CETA designed to limit its benefits to the corporate elite. And PressProgress points out that Canada’s pay gap between CEOs and workers is higher than that of any other OECD country other than the U.S.
- Meanwhile, all indications are that the Canadian public is more than ready for a change in direction, as EKOS finds a significant shift toward more progressive positions in the past few years even on many of the issues where the Cons have focused the most (Read more…)
Steve Harper, the greatest threat to Canadian security in the modern era.
Happy August! Happy Day!
I have a few comments about this, the 1,000th editorial at Politics, Re-Spun. But you can read them below, about my sabbatical plan, new visions for this almost 12-year-old website, and other things.
But at the top of this post, I have something slightly more urgent to delve into before I check out for a break.
That great sick freak, Donald Rumsfeld is generally credited with popularizing the concept of unknown unknowns to our modern/post-modern era. Being a sick freak, he spun that bafflement (Read more…)
Recently, with the WEF spending the last few years acknowledging global income inequality is a problem, I’ve declared a kind of victory for the Occupy Movement: getting the lexicon on the 1% and inequality on the tongues of the sly gazillionaires who rule the world, and into mass consumption.
Now we see that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest cancers of neoliberal capitalism and a prime mover of the 2008 crash, has admitted that income inequality is a problem and a destabilizer. Sadly, though not surprisingly, in this interview he also trotted out typical neoliberal “realities” (Read more…)
Heather Mallick’s column about the public’s willingness to sell out to the corporate sector for cheap unfortunately meanders off on a few too many tangents before reaching much of a point. But even if she’d connected with a truly incisive take, snark has nothing on Terence Corcoran – who goes to far as to whine that spam e-mails are “essential in a market economy”, and to suggest that any legislation goes too far in regulating the digital equivalent of door-to-door sales.
Which leads to the question: exactly how many people – the marketing industry excepted – actually see the constant (Read more…)
Capitalism dissociates us from each other.
It makes us embrace consumerism and individualism and erodes community and cohesion.
Yet, oddly, Lululemon’s mantra of elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness is about liberating us from those shackles. Oddly, based on Ayn Rand’s whacko philosophy [see below], we need to be liberated from such an environment that is imagined to be government-controlled.
I will pardon you for not laughing at the irony of this. It’s not funny. The hyper anti-government, anti-community, pro-individualism, pro-capitalism Ayn Rand crew fears government will turn us all into mediocre wastelands of human endeavor.
But if (Read more…)
Occupy Vancouver reboots tonight to join the worldwide #WaveOfAction that began on April 4 and runs [at least] to July 4, 2014.
We will meet in Grandview Park on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories.
615pm is the start time, though honestly, I’ll be there a bit early. With my Occupy Vancouver sign taped to my hockey stick. In some convenient part of the park, since there will be a May Day march arriving there for a rally at the same time.
Things to consider:
Inspiration for this venue came from funkypenzz. Vision [mine anyway]: Seeking equality (Read more…)
We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction:
When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, empower them; and who will convene the meetings?
And instead of wondering who’s got your back, figure out whose back you need to protect.
There are two days left. No rush, because Friday is just the start of the 3-month Wave that culminates on (Read more…)
Ugh. We’re so much poorer than our parents!
Yes, your parents’ standard of living was better, so what are you going to do about it?
When I was growing up in the 1970s, most [maybe 80%?] of my friends had a mom who stayed home and didn’t work.
Over the last 40 years the proportion of single income households seems to have flipped so that it seems to be only about 20%.
So what’s wrong with this graph over there?
There’s a huge increase in the number of families with more than one income source in the last 40 (Read more…)
Now, stop tolerating ignorance! And smile, TGIF.
For many people it’s TGIF. But for many people who aren’t even teenagers, the work week isn’t ending today.
We often THINK minimum wage is for the new entries to the job market. Maybe it was one day. Maybe just for one day.
But today? If it isn’t a living wage, it’s exploitative.
And if it is just minimum wage, we are likely not too accurate on who is suffering with these low wages.
Let’s take a peek:
It is not the stereotypical pothead living in their parents’ basement.
If the 1% has Russell Brand killed, we will see it in the corporate media as a drug OD relapse, or a freak accident.
He is dangerous because he fearlessly tells the truth and challenges pretence.
Let’s examine this in some detail here [with video]:
His brain works twice as fast as most brilliant people I’ve encountered in my life. He is the socio-political heir of George Carlin. He speaks truth to power AND the masses. And frankly, WE’VE FORGOTTEN THAT THE MASSES ARE THE POWER. He is sober, so no one can credit his speedy speaking style on (Read more…)
I turn off the mute on the radio, to check if the nauseating ads are finished and we can get back to the music, and I hear, “New York steak…” – so I mute it again immediately; and I think: Advertising = the intensification and multiplication of human wants and desires = the diminishing of […]
The world’s middle class is on the verge of a population explosion. Sorry, Earth. Of the 7+ billion people on the planet today, about 1.8-billion are considered middle-class or make that consumer class. By 2030 that sub-2 billion is expected to burgeon to just under 5-billion strong, churning away on their computers to order crap from Amazon.
Middle-class consumers will increase to 4.8 billion by 2030 and 95 per cent of them will be from developing countries, said United Kingdom Foreign Secretary’s special representative on climate change, Prof Sir David King.
He said, currently the (Read more…)
“Taxes are the way we pay for the things we decide to do together, and we are stronger together.” – Alex Himelfarb
While we consume and pay taxes, those are activities of our existence. The economy is supposed to serve our social goals as human beings. We are not economic entities that exist to serve the 1% in their effort to maximize shareholder wealth.
So here’s a word to drop this year, and forever:
Of course, we are all taxpayers, but we are, first and foremost, social citizens who invest in each other and in our (Read more…)