Category Archives: Consumerism

Why TV Keeps Almost Being Good

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 wondering why network TV isn’t as good as The Wire, Orange is the New Black, or other shows on HBO or Netflix, it’s because there isn’t this massive distraction of keeping people attentive for the commercials.

Which BC Corporations Would YOU Like to Euthanize?

December 2, 2001: Fall of EnronOh, what a list it would be!

Enbridge?

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 zeal for wealth, has a tailing pond disaster, or a pipeline leak, or an oil tanker sinking, or abuses workers or is generally a blight on humanity and the planet?

It turns out, that in BC the provincial government cabinet can simply decree that a corporation ceases to exist:

423  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may cancel the incorporation of a company and declare it to be dissolved.

Business Corporations Act.

And, some person may go to court to try to dissolve some such company for some reason:

324 The court may order that the company be liquidated and dissolved if… the court…considers it just and equitable to do so.

[
emphasis is mine.]

I have never heard of a provincial government cabinet dissolve a corporation for bad behaviour or justice issues or in pursuit of societal equity. I have also never heard of some person going to court to have it dissolve a company.

Sure, I can sue a company if it violates my rights somehow. Or violates a contract, or some law. But as long as companies operate within the law [I know, I’m rolling my eyes about this too] they somehow deserve to exist.

But what if corporations, in their cancerous zeal to maximize shareholder wealth, end up being ultimately destructive to society or our symbiotic relationship with our world?

Big Macs [just because] or McDonald’s putting vinyl in chicken nuggets? High fructose corn syrup? GMOs? Hello Kitty [ok, I’m kidding here]? Cluster bombs? Automatic weapons marketed to citizens?

What would it take to present an argument in court that would win, or to the government?

Just what does a company have to do that is so heinous that a court or government would simply euthanize it?

And why aren’t we having this debate?

Read about the North River Sugar Refining Corporation and Unocal:

“The people mistakenly assume that we have to try to control these giant corporate repeat offenders one toxic spill at a time, one layoff at a time, one human rights violation at a time. But the law has always allowed the attorney general to go to court to simply dissolve a corporation for wrongdoing and sell its assets to others who will operate in the public interest.”

And read about Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County.

And even Adbusters has been getting into the charter revocation game lately. With a hashtag even: #KillCap!

So it’s time to think creatively. Think about whether as a society, we should be adding criteria to ensure that corporations deserve to exist. We should make sure that criteria is sound and well-understood and widely proclaimed. So that when we go after the first corporate charters, the low hanging fruit, then we can ensure corporations actually contribute to the public good.

And if that last phrase makes your chuckle, THAT’s how far we’ve let the corporate plutocracy rule us.

It’s our society. WE are the humans. Let’s take it back!

How Selfish Are Old People?

https://i1.wp.com/lasindias.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Sharing-generation.jpg?resize=352%2C223It’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 climate change and a good part of the “sharing economy.”

via A brief history of contemporary “consumerism” and anti-consumerism.

Elevate the World from Mediocrity to Greatness? Lululemon? GMAFB

GMAFB john galt - atlas shrugged

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 you’ve checked out the ratings of all the reality shows lately, and the annual profits of IKEA, McDonald’s and all the other homogenizing brands that turn us into lobotomized monkeys, you’ll see that Ayn Rand missed the mark.

It’s not gulags that turn us into morons, it’s capitalism.

And Lululemon is dancing in absurdity trumpeting this as a corporate vision, particularly since yoga [in case you don’t know what that is], is all about creating connections, not creating Übermensch.

In “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand describes a society where people work and reside in government-controlled environments that are tightly regimented. Without realizing it, this control created a society of mediocrity; propagating a cycle of listless, uninspired existing as opposed to living. The character John Galt encouraged all of the world’s innovators and intelligent minds to go on strike from the increasingly controlling government in order to create a vacuum of brilliance, proving that independent creativity and free-will is critical for quality of life.

blog| who is john galt? – blog| lululemon athletica.

Occupy Vancouver Reboots Tonight!

CoV_GrandviewParkOccupy 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:

Continue reading Occupy Vancouver Reboots Tonight!

Yes, Your Parents’ Standard of Living Was Better

ugh.
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 years, but median family income has gone up less than 10%. [Median just means that 50% of the population makes more than that around and 50% makes less.]

If this freaks you out as much as it freaks me out, think about the implications:

Continue reading Yes, Your Parents’ Standard of Living Was Better

Don’t Tolerate Ignorance About the Minimum Wage

Now, stop tolerating ignorance! And smile, TGIF.

Hello.

It’s Friday.

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:

Continue reading Don’t Tolerate Ignorance About the Minimum Wage

Are You a Consumer, Taxpayer or Citizen?

“Taxes are the way we pay for the things we decide to do together, and we are stronger together.” – Alex Himelfarb

Citizen. Period.

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:

Continue reading Are You a Consumer, Taxpayer or Citizen?

Two Richmond Boycotts for 2014

Bill Zylmans, that awkward racist guy.

First we have IKEA’s union busting, coming up on one year of locking out their workers because they won’t take major concessions in the face of billions in profits.

Now we have the strawberry and potato farmer who worries about how few Caucasian farmers are left around these parts, don’t ya know.

Here are the boycott details.

Continue reading Two Richmond Boycotts for 2014

Can We Stop Treating Women Like Meat? Now? Maybe? Please?

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada reacts to a question from with television reporter Sam Smith during a post match interview following her quarterfinal win over Ana Ivanovic of Serbia at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. (Andrew Brownbill/AP)
Women-as-sex-meat, 2014 edition begins now. The #FacePalm is appropriate.

[UPDATED, see below]

It’s nothing new, but when can media just stop. Maybe when it’s no longer profitable? We need a revolution in media by boycotting all venues that perpetuate the women-as-sex-meat theme. Here’s what’s new, this time with Eugenie Bouchard and Cate Blanchett.

Continue reading Can We Stop Treating Women Like Meat? Now? Maybe? Please?