Recently, due to some health concerns, I’ve become more interested in our food system. I was already somewhat aware, but I’ve started getting even more educated on the topic. Trying to eat only good food, rather than the shit you find in the normal grocery store.
I say “shit” because, after watching the documentary King Corn and realizing the film just scratches the surface of our food issues, I really just wanted to vomit for a couple of days. I’ve made a commitment to purchase only grass feed beef, free range eggs/poultry, etc. I won’t go into all the details of the food issues here. It’s just too much to get into.
During this same period of time there was this horrible event in Bangladesh, in which a clothing factory collapsed, killing hundreds of people. It made clothing that shows up in many of our stores, including stores where I typically shop. I’ve heard the figure that for 10 cents extra per shirt, such conditions could be eliminated. I think every American would gladly pay that, or 10 times that, if it would solve such problems.
And on and on and on.
Once you start down this line of thought, food systems and economics, for instance, it becomes quickly obvious that all of these problems are connected. The problem is this – how is it all connected? Why is everything so fucked up? We are good people. How did we allow our food system to be killing us and our economic systems to be killing the planet and other people?
These systems are big. They are overwhelming to think about. You can see people grasping at possible answers, sometimes going in reasonable directions, sometime venturing into crazy conspiracy theories, sometimes blaming the rich or the poor.
As far as I can see, the common driving force of these problems is — greedy capitalism. Bean counters making the decisions, to drive stock prices, while they poison us with antibiotic-laced meat, horrible food, and kill the rain forests.
That’s my rant for the day.
” I’ve heard the figure that for 10 cents extra per shirt, such conditions could be eliminated.” No they wouldn’t. The extra 10 cents would go into the sweatshop owner’s pocket.
And while, yes…greed is a driving force behind many of the things you mentioned, we are also our own worse enemies. We (Americans) don’t want to pay more for anything, so we’ll swallow anything if the price is right. Whether the cause for that is low income, some sense of entitlement or what…I dunno.
My plan is to just my tinfoil helmet on (cause I know the bastards are reading my thoughts) and my head down, keep moving, and hope for a painless end.
Correction: the 10 cents could solve it, if assholes would allow that to happen.
As I see it Greed is just the symptom, and at the risk of sounding melodramatic the real problem is the way we have structured our society. The social critic Ivan Illich talks about a “radical Monopoly” where freedom of choice is redefined by the terms of an all pervasive mode of consumption.
Some people have no problem going against the current of convention but for most of us it just gets too tiring to swim upstream. Even if it in our own best interests.
“The establishment of radical monopoly happens when people give up their native ability to do what they can do for themselves and for each other, in exchange for something “better” that can be done for them only by a major tool. Radical monopoly reflects the industrial institutionalization of values. It substitutes the standard package for the personal response.”
Thanks for the comment and link, Dave. I will check that out!
That is a very enlightening link, Dave. I just read this book (see my goodreads account) called the Long Descent, by John Michael Greer. He talks at our “prosthetic society” – reminded me of the your quote “when people give up their native ability to do what they can do for themselves and for each other, in exchange for something “better” that can be done for them only by a major tool. “