Monday, May 02, 2005

The slumbering market forces

Much obliged to Cat's Dream for pointing out the world water rights treaty article that riled me up about this:

We also once thought that people have a right to breath. However the world's greatest democracy claims [we can only guess what our leaders and their sponsors actually think] market forces will give us clean air and the Kyoto accords are unnecessary and restrictive. What chance is there then that common sense or fairness would get a voice in protecting and distributing water? The average man sees only his immediate problem, the farsighted realize we are already in a "rationing" circumstance and the greedy don't know there is such a thing as "we" but see a chance to mark up their Perrier again.

But who exactly is "we"? You, dear readers are not just angels looking in on a sorry planet and shaking your heads. We are also consumers. The Americans reading this are hyperactive marathon consumers. We tune out the climate with our mighty thermostats and go to the market and the gas station every few days and vote with our dollars telling the companies who bought us such nice politicians that they are right: they have what we won't do without and therefore the power is theirs.
Golfers and those who must have a broad green lawn can just leave now because you are deluded hypocrites unless you are raising sheep on that grass. The rest of us also need to take a hard look at what we really support vs what we complain can't have it both ways. Is it inconceivable that we at the bottom of the economic food chain could organize or individually base our purchasing on socially responsible outcomes? Now THAT would be a market force. This thinking is taking hold in pockets of resistance. But as corporations solidify their grip on the US government, their power to profit at the expense of ever broader segments of the population while distributing or wasting resources that are not actually theirs is ever increasing. If all who stand to lose from this selfishness would act, if the money is the all there is to the corporation's motives and actions, "we" could force the market.

A better world is a whole world and you cannot buy a better world by paying someone to break off little pieces of it for you.

Footnote: If you have the time to read a wonky analytical paper that might help you get your radical mojo working, wade through this by John Fonte.

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