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Commodification

Food Saving: Too Good Not To Commodify

As a university student living in a country with high living costs such as Sweden, where even a conventional cucumber can cost you 2 Euros, you have to figure out how to get your hands on cheap or free food pretty quickly. For me, dumpster diving, as well as taking home the left-overs of the local student pub where I volunteer as a cook, does the trick. Friends unwilling to climb into dumpsters prefer food-saving apps like „Too Good To Go“ (TGTG) or „Karma“. These apps promise a win-win-win-win situation: restaurants can make money off food they would normally have not been able to sell, customers get good food at a discount price, the apps take a percentage of the revenue, and lastly, food waste and its negative effects on the climate are reduced.

Wall Street Vultures Are Ready To Get Rich From Water Scarcity

Bloomberg reported on Sunday that California water futures are now officially on the Wall Street markets, with the United States–based CME Group heading up the 2021 contracts connected to the state’s billion-dollar water market. The “commodity” was most recently going for $496 per acre-foot with the main purchasers of the futures—which were first announced by CME in September—expected to be large-scale water consumers, chiefly utility companies and the states’ Big Ag corporations. (California is home to the largest agriculture market in the nation.) “Climate change, droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come,”...

Iowa Crops Look Like Food — But No One’s Eating

Iowa is unrecognizable from centuries ago, when Europeans took the land for themselves. What were prairie and wetlands are now neatly partitioned grids of intensely cultivated land: the model for the farm as factory. I was in Iowa last week shooting for the PBS NewsHour Weekend “Future of Food” series. There are some good things going on — and you’ll see them in the segment, which will run later this summer or fall — but I left feeling depressed as hell.

Amazon Is Hurting Independent Retailers And Chains

The retail industry is experiencing significant upheaval. Online shopping is expanding rapidly, many national chains have closed locations and even declared bankruptcy, and malls are going dark in record numbers. Headlines have started calling this wave of closures a “historic tipping point” for American retail. However, almost all of the media reporting about these trends has focused on national retail chains. In order to find out how changes in the retail landscape are affecting independent businesses, we decided to ask them. Working with a coalition of national small business trade associations, we conducted a survey that gathered data from over 850 independent retailers across the country in a variety of retail categories.

Tell Baltimore To Stop The Water Shut Offs!

On April 1, Baltimore started turning off water to 150 households a day. The city plans to turn off 25,000 residences in total. There are commercial and public entities in Baltimore that owe $15 million, but they are not losing their access to water. Baltimore has a history of overcharging residents. This resulted in a $4.2 million refund to about 38,000 residents in 2012. Beginning in July 2013, Baltimore is raising water rates by 42% over a three year period. Advocates say that the city's programs to assist residents are burdensome and inadequate. There is a one time grant of about $160 available for those who qualify. Residents of Baltimore are concerned about the water shut offs for a number of reasons.

Sao Paulo: A Sea Of People Fighting For Water

These sacred luxury consumer temples (where the water tanks are always full), lowered their doors before the the march that brought together 15 thousand men, women and children - a significant part dressing in MTST (Workers Homeless Movement)’s t-shirts - in addition to other left wing organizations protesting on Thursday (26/02) against the water crisis in São Paulo. It was the first major public protest on the issue and involved people like the seamstress Maria Francisca da Conceição, 69, who walked, wearing her flip-flops, the 6300 meters that separate Largo da Batata, in Pinheiros neighborhood, and the Bandeirantes Palace in Morumbi, where is the official residence of the governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) is located.Maria Francisca has been a resident of an MTST occupation in Numa Pompilius, in the extreme east of the city of São Paulo, since early 2014, when she joined the homeless movement.

Sour Grapes In ‘Wine Country’: Challenges To Wineries Erupt

Fortunately, many grape-growers and smaller wineries continue to follow regulations and not over-build. They are a credit to agricultural and rural communities. On the other hand, a prominent banker, Chinese developer, and two large Napa County wineries are opposite examples that have generated mounting concerns, especially from Sonoma County’s rural residents who feel invaded. Retired Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill, of what has been the world’s largest bank, bought a winery and moved here part-time from New York City in 2012. He purchased a Sonoma State University (SSU) honorary doctorate by giving a $12 million dollar gift, with strings attached. Part of SSU’s elite Green Music Center was also re-named after him. This was the first time SSU gave an honorary degree in return for such financial benefits, rather than for academic achievement.

Commodification Of Nature

Taken for granted in the climate change discussion is the assumption that nature or the environment is something that can or should be commodified, yet the structure of capitalism is such that it seeks to commodify everything, including human life (labor) and the environment (land and natural resources). The commodification of nature and the environment, inherent in the capitalist system, is problematic in its own right. Within this economic system, land, as well as labor, are seen as a commodity – something that can be purchased – and an essential part of industry. Yet what does it mean to say that something like “labor” and “land” are commodities? Karl Polanyi, the great economist, anthropologist, philosopher and sociologist, argued that both are not created as something to be sold. Labor is essentially human activity, a necessary part of life. Land, synonymous with nature, is not produced by man and in fact, encompasses man as a part of itself. When we sell the right to harm the natural environment, we are effectively selling something that is not ours. Yet many seek to solve the climate change crisis through market mechanisms and through the buying and selling of rights to pollute or degrade the natural environment through things like carbon taxing and trading. This is effectively selling the rights to pollute something that is not ours to sell.
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