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Friday, November 05, 2004

Let's get serious--economic warfare

If the 55 million Kerry voters really want to do something to help turn around the result of the election AND save the planet at the same time, I think some substantial economic warfare is called for. I'm not talking about the type of work stoppages that the wealthy elite employed in Venezuela to try and sabotage the Chavez government. I'm talking about a significant withdrawal from the global consumerist economy. Drive less. Eat less (or no) meat. Buy less, buy used, buy local. If the 55 million Kerry voters each cut their consumption of new, corporate-produced products by 10%, the impact would be noticed bigtime on Wall Street. If they cut consumption by 50%, the impact would be catastrophic to the corporations. And 50% really isn't that hard. Just buying a used car instead of a new one (even a hybrid) gets you a long way there.

Now, if our current economic system were in any way sustainable and not doomed to ultimate collapse in the next decade or two, I wouldn't suggest taking drastic economic action for the sole purpose of bringing down the current administration. Lots of us blue-staters and lots of them red-staters would lose their jobs, and we'd be to blame. But our current system IS unsustainable, and blue-staters and red-staters ARE losing their jobs. Higher and higher percentages of the money spent on consumer goods is going into the pockets of the CEO's and the wealthy shareholders, who then are using it to bring us the worst government money can buy. So, instead of just continuing to buy and drive and eat meat, thereby continuing the funneling of the world's wealth into the hands of the very few, we need to substantially withdraw from the game. By doing so, we can not only bring down the current corrupt system, but start constructing a better one at the same time, a system which can immediately start addressing the difficulties caused by the collapse of the current one.

I'm starting to realize that I won't have time this week to finish this book I started in the paragraphs above. But it has already been written several times over--one of the key books in changing my perspective over the past few years was Affluenza. The web site How to Save the World has lots of great ideas on getting us to a more sustainable future, as does the Center for a New American Dream.

If you don't have time to explore these books and web sites, just remember this: Money is power (more or less), and when you buy Nikes at Wal-Mart or a new Chevrolet or a Big Mac or a tankful of gas, you are taking some of your power and giving it to one or more evil corporations who helped get Bush re-elected. You are also helping to destroy the environment, and are undercutting decent wages for people everywhere. In our current society, some of these purchases are unavoidable. But we should strive to avoid all unnecessary purchases that we can. I'll probably be blogging on this subject a lot for a while, and I think Cyndy at Mousemusings is planning to do the same. Don't feed the beast that gave us Bush!