It’s the holidays. It’s the buying season. You’re supposed to run out immediately and buy everything you can afford — and actually much more than you can afford — because you can dump everything on credit cards and not worry about paying it off until later. And later won’t suck — the stores promise! But of course truthfully it will. Later will suck. Later always sucks, for most people. But no matter — go quick and get the brand new model of the thing you didn’t like the first time around. Better yet, buy it for someone else because even though they might get as little use out of the gadget as you did, they won’t be able to tell you that — so they’ll just say “Thank you!” because it’s part of the social code.
Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time. But while Americans generously donated $390 billion to charities in 2017, that number pales in comparison to the $130 trillion we spent on buying stuff in the same year. How much of that went to huge companies that don't support your values-or worse, use their revenue to actively work against them? Conscious consumers prefer to spend money with transparent companies that support the same causes they do.
Saving nature without sacrificing modern life is the preeminent challenge of our time. It is a complicated problem that must be attacked simultaneously from multiple angles. Failure to act on one angle will invalidate efforts on other angles. This problem must be addressed in two distinct phases. First, we must stop living in a manner that actively harms both ourselves and the natural world. Then we must learn how to create a world where both nature and humanity thrive. This two-part article will explore how we can reorganize our civilization to be compatible with such a vision.
From today onwards, we have used every last bit of natural resources that Earth can provide within one calendar year and are now living on ecological credit. This year, Earth Overshoot Day occurs on August 22. It marks the imaginary point when humanity’s demand exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. The international research organization Global Footprint Network, which has been calculating this date since 1970, estimates 1.6 planets are required to support our population's way of life.
Life isn't about making more money so we can keep buying more stuff; it's about having time to do things that enrich our lives. In the face of multiple crises -- pandemic, climate and biodiversity -- we need to consider new societal and economic ideas that promote human well-being and help us live within Earth's limits, rather than endlessly chasing a consumerist dream based on the illusory premise that a finite planet can support endless growth. A four-day work week won’t cure society's woes. In fact, you'd think we’ be down to three days by now, as rapid technological advancement and global trade have upended everything about the way we work since the standard five-day work week was implemented after the Second World War!
It is necessary to rethink our culture – in the very first place that part that refers to the relationship of the individual with others and with nature – to redesign the forms of societal organization, from the family to humanity, passing through and including community and nation.In the possible new world, consumption will have to regain its function of satisfying real needs, which is very different from the idea of consumption as the impulse driving development and accumulation of capital. This confusion has resulted in cultural alienation and the destruction of the natural world and of human health. It is enough to cite the example of the spread of obesity and of diabetes, more lethal than all the coronaviruses together. Our effort will have to be to apply ourselves to determining the correct qualitative and quantitative relationship between supply and demand for food. The countryside should be reclaimed and repopulated.
Baltimore, MD - U.S. retail sales tumbled by a record 16.4% from March to April as business shutdowns caused by the coronavirus kept shoppers away, threatened the viability of stores across the country and further weighed down a sinking economy. The Commerce Department’s report Friday on retail purchases showed a sector that has collapsed so fast that sales over the past 12 months are down a crippling 21.6%. The severity of the decline is unrivaled for retail figures that date back to 1992. The monthly decline in April nearly doubled the previous record drop of 8.3% — set just one month earlier. “It’s like a hurricane came and leveled the entire economy, and now we’re trying to get it back up and running,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist for the consultancy Maria Fiorini Ramirez.
Here is a lesson: for 40 years, we have accepted the premise that markets will solve all our problems, and we don’t need national strategies. We traded our industrial capacity and technical leadership for cheap T-shirts and low-cost flat screen TV’s. Now we are dependent on supply chains in other countries to respond to our emergencies. China, South Korea, and Germany have effective national strategies and strong industrial bases. China was able to mobilize incredible resources in response to their epidemic. Germany’s formidable industrial capacity in chemicals and pharmaceuticals positioned them to devise test kits for their own people, and supply kits for Europe and other countries. South Korea was way ahead of us in their public health response.
Four centuries after the East India Company set the trend for corporate resource extraction, most of the world is now in the grip of unbridled corporate power. But corporate power is on the cusp of achieving “quantum supremacy” and social movements in the digital age need to understand this in order to shift gears in their struggles. The quantum shift here comes from “network-data” power; the ingredients that make up capitalism’s digital age recipe.
Corporate Powers Are Stealing Online Identities, Posting Fake Comments To Push For Consumer Law Repeals
Forget Russian fake news for a moment. Another extremely consequential privacy-breaching, identity-theft hack is undermining our democracy and almost certainly being perpetuated by corporate America. A pattern of cyber deception is appearing across the federal government in the nooks and crannies of the process where White House directives or Congress’ laws are turned into the rules Americans must abide by—or in the Trump era, are repealed. Hundreds of thousands of comments, purportedly made by Americans, have come in over the electronic transom to at least five different federal agencies calling for an end to Obama-era consumer protections and other regulations that impede profits, a series of investigative reports by the Wall Street Journal found. Except, the people who supposedly sent these comments never did.
By Kate Soper for The Next System Project - But the shopping-mall culture is also in many ways bad even for those who live in affluent societies. What the economist, John Maynard Keynes, condemned as the pathology of monetary greed is now not only regarded as a normal response to our times but also an essential driver of national well-being. Its effect is to subordinate everyone to a time economy and work ethic that sees free time as a threat to human prosperity rather than a form in which it can be realized. Despite the huge gains in productivity, time scarcity, stress at work, and insecurity remain the dominant life experience of huge numbers of people. An existence devoted to the creation of ever more stuff, most of it unneeded other than to enhance corporate profits or to secure the reproduction of the consumerist economic infrastructure, leaves all too little time and energy for actually having a life. Indeed, it functions as a major constraint on the self-development and political awareness required to enjoy a fuller and freer life. Everything that should be central to human pleasure and well-being has become marginal, whether it be convivial time with family or friends, engagement in civic and political projects, the enjoyment of hobbies and educational activities, making music, reading, gardening, being in nature, or just idling.
By Rachel Katz for ABC News. Seven people, including a state lawmaker, were arrested today at a Missouri mall after nearly 100 protesters disrupted Black Friday shopping, according to local media. Galleria Mall, located near St. Louis, was forced to close because of the protests, mall security told ABC News. Protesters entered the mall around 1:15 p.m. local time and help their fists up, chanting "No justice, no profit," an eyewitness told ABC News. They walked through the mall corridors and entered several stores, including a Dillard's. The protests lasted nearly two hours.
By Staff of The Rules - While the US holiday of Thanksgiving indisputably stems from a celebration of the massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, the origins of ‘Black Friday’ are much less clear. What is agreed is that retailers sought to take advantage of the Thursday holiday and draw people into shops for what, in a consumerist culture, is considered a civic duty: shopping. After weeks of advertising beforehand, on the Friday following the food, family and football, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on the shops, often risking life and limb for a bargain. In a globalised world, this once uniquely American phenomenon has now been exported. Today, from Russia to Ireland and Pakistan, we’re told that the answer to any problem is to buy stuff and what better day to do so than on Black Friday? You may agree that you can’t consume your way to happiness but it’s worth acknowledging that the lure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (created to allow online retailers to get in on the action) is hard to resist. So to help you, here is a list of things money can’t buy. Read it every time you feel the impulse to “add to basket”. A sense of wonder: From trees to a smile, and even a gush of wind, so much around us can provide us with the feeling of the numinous; that we are in deep communion with life around us.
By Lee Camp for Redacted Tonight. There is a specific type of global mind control other than the mainstream media that grips us daily without us realizing: Corporate advertisements. They have a powerful influence on our emotions and esteem to the point that we adopt whatever they peddle as our own beliefs. And a recent Starbucks commercial demonstrates how the corporate-coffee giant uses more than caffeine to control your brain. What was meant to be a touchy-feely campaign from Starbucks to unite American coffee consumers over good times and bad instead served as a sobering reminder of the ills of capitalism, corporate pollution of the Earth and economic inequality. They may manipulate you into believing they've got your back, but what corporations like Starbucks really got is your money--and your morals. Self-professed coffee drinker Lee Camp lays into the gods of the frappucino and more in the latest Redacted Tonight.
By Michael Snyder for End Of The American Dream - Major retailers in the United States are shutting down hundreds of stores, and shoppers are reporting alarmingly bare shelves in many retail locations that are still open all over the country. It appears that the retail apocalypse that made so many headlines in 2015 has gone to an entirely new level as we enter 2016. As economic activity slows down and Internet retailers capture more of the market, brick and mortar retailers are cutting their losses. This is especially true in areas that are on the lower portion of the income scale.