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Beyond Capitalism

Are other, more just and ecologically sustainable economies possible?

New York City’s Economy

I’ve lived a half an hour from New York City my entire life. Although I hate Times Square and have been to Ellis Island a billion and a half times and am OVER IT (!!!), every time I get to the city I can’t help but say that I absolutely will be living in either Hell’s Kitchen or Chelsea when I have a well paying job (of course). The entire world runs through New York City. It’s simply one of the most powerful cities in the world. It’s the home of Wall Street and it’s estimated GDP is 1.5 trillion dollars, coming up close to the entire continent of Australia — 1.6 billion dollars in GDP.

 

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Company Transparency

Companies today make prices that are unreasonable and non transparent. Things from cotton shirts to homes are priced too expensive and make it difficult for the everyday person to afford. However, even thought there is a problem with pricing there is also a disconnect between the consumer and the company. For example, if I buy a candy bar from the gas station, it will be more expensive than if I buy it from Wal-Mart. This situation can often lead consumers to feel stranded and confused when they see a price that is more expensive for the same item at another store.

Links:

This is a google slide presentation I made that shows different prices of cotton t-shirt. I made this powerpoint to show the lack of transparency that we face without even noticing.

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Hg6lhfmvSWVov5dguC6NergEbMz2RT8XhdiZ8OBSgZY/edit#slide=id.g1a4e8e85d6_0_88

 

Community Wealth

A lot of resources here!

Few Americans are aware of the steady build-up of innovative community wealth building strategies throughout the United States. Community-Wealth.org brings together, for the first time, information about the broad range of community wealth building activity.

The American Dream

People have been coming to the United States for hundreds of years now. It has always been for a new life and a new beginning. It may have to do with getting a new job, starting a new life away from their other country, or for religious purposes. The American dream is still very much alive today. I found an interesting website that talks about why people may come or leave the United States. It brings many different topics that you may not think of why people decide to immigrate. And it could account for other countries too. Not everyone is fit to live in America but to those who are, they take the opportunity and strive for their dream. Here is the website: http://usaimmigration.weebly.com/why-do-people-immigrate-to-the-us.html. Some topics include job opportunities, government, religion, and nature. Any of these topics can help or hurt the decision for immigration but it is very eye opening. I never thought of nature to be a factor of immigration.

The Market Fights Global Warming

Whenever Capitalism and global warming are spoken of in the same sentence, it is often with a tone of mutual assurance. The idea that rising temperatures are inevitable if the market is left to its own devices is taken as gospel by the mainstream media and the most respected environmental scientists alike. Market based solutions to the global threat are rarely ever taken seriously in academia.

The article linked in this weblog pertains to a brand new frontier in the energy market – solar roofs. They are currently being developed by a company named Tesla, following their acquisition of another company called SolarCity. Solar roofs are meant to replace traditional solar panels by combining specially made shingles with the technology of harvesting solar energy, resulting in normal-looking roofs that provide the added benefit of producing electricity. The most notable aspect of these solar roofs is that the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, claims they will last longer than a tradition roof and cost less. If this statement holds up until their planned release in 2017, the world will have access to a product that costs less than regular shingles, lasts longer, and produces electricity, dominating the market and eliminating any reasing to buy another roof. It truly has the potential to be a game changer.

I wanted to share this information because too often is Capitalism given a negative connotation among environmentalists. The pursuit of profit reigns supreme, this is true, but many individuals have chosen to complain rather than try and create a market for renewable energy. Elon Musk is taking a market based route, and stands to not only solve the problem of carbon footprints far more effectively than any government based initiative, but profit massively as a result.

http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-solar-roof-solar-city-features-photos-2016-11/#musk-installed-its-new-solar-roof-offerings-on-houses-on-universal-studios-famous-backlot-which-creates-a-suburban-environment-1

Stop capitalism from feeding on our insecurities!

Stop capitalists from feeding on our insecurities! In the 1930’s advertisements took a turn for the worst when they first introduced the use of words with negative connotations into their ads. This way/form of advertising changes the game forever. At first, they way that products were advertised only told consumers “wow look at this new thing you should buy so you could be cool and with the times!” but now advertisement ads are more like “if you don’t buy this product you will experience social alienation!” Okay, so maybe advertisements aren’t that dramatically honest, but that’s the subconscious message that people receive. The idea that if you don’t comply with and buy into the idea that they are selling, then you will be labeled with a negative characteristic.

vse4qijiqka3syThe idea here in this ad is that women, in order to maintain their femininity, must be dainty and the only way to achieve that characteristic is by purchasing this product. If you don’t buy this product you will suffer from the natural bodily action “B.O.” and people will think that you don’t value your daintiness.

grid-cell-18767-1399486778-39Oh here is a classic one! The idea that is exclusive to women: they need to shave their underarms because if they don’t then they will stink up an entire room – that is only a job for men. The image of a woman crying is how one should feel is they don’t participate in the transaction (the act of buying a razor) that will grant them with happiness and social acceptance. No more tears, problem solved! A problem that the advertisement created for you and so kindly also offered you a solution to: to buy their product.

c022bd9dde3243f01fd40fd0131dff76HA! This one is funny and has a 99.9% success rate of getting people to buy the product being advertised. Play on a person’s insecurities and emotions about their physical state and body size and you will for sure make the sale. Sounds cruel, I know, but who cares? As long as you make a profit, f*ck morals!

Okay so I’m not actually being serious. I hope you could read my sarcastic tone when explaining to you some of these olde negative advertisements. I do not believe that profits belong over morals. Put that’s where we have been headed for the sake of making money and promoting economic growth. But, at what cost?

Well that’s capitalism for you, creates the problem to then sell you the solution!

 

A Nation Called Cree

One vacation I take every other summer is going on a fishing trip to a Native American reservation an hour outside of Senneterre, Quebec, Canada. My grandfather and his two close friends have been going to this reservation for over thirty years now. Our connection has been strong with this tribe through the years. They are the Cree Tribe. One of the most humble people I have ever met. Eva, their tribe leader and wife to deceased, former tribe leader Billy Otter Eyes, is the one who we stay in contact with through the years. The Cree Tribe are a very generous tribe that let people live, hunt and fish on their land throughout the summer. To show our gratitude for letting us live on the land for a week, we bring dozens of watermelons which is Eva’s favorite food, cases of water, and whatever we do not eat while we camp. Some days they show us how to fish with just line and a hook. When we fish we used much more modern fishing equipment. Other days, they show us how they live off the land. They use meat from the moose, fish, and bear that they hunt to eat and the fur from the bears to provide clothing. They have made log cabins to build their houses. What I have learned from the Cree Tribe is that you do not need anything modern to live, and you can live off the land as long as you use the land properly. For every gift received, you must give back, that way a strong relationship is formed.

The Baltimore Free School

The Baltimore Free School is a “grassroots, collectively run and community funded project,” that is free for all to be a part of. There is no cost to attend classes and no prerequisites to teach on a certain subject. All one needs to do is sign up for classes online in order to register. Most classes take place inside Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse.

The Baltimore Free School in many ways represents an alternative to a capitalist system. By being collectively run, everyone works on a level basis, all having a say on how they should manage the school.

Free schools also promote the notion that education should be free. In a society where near everything holds a monetary value, giving anything away for free can be a blow to the capital based system.

Free schools provide potential to transform the way we go about education. Rather than setting schools up in a  bureaucratic way, there may be a shift to forego the autocracy and establish a worker led learning space free for all.

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http://freeschool.redemmas.org

Holism

The article that I read propses a different approach called holism. The term was first coined in 1926 and was defined as the “tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts” by Jan Smuts. This approach claims that economics cannot be separated, as they often are, from the environment and the social setting in which the economy functions. This system is based around the idea of a regenerative economy. Holistic beliefs try to let there be more than one “right” answer, and focusing different approaches that aren’t “one size fits all”. Though some believe that this movement is unrealiztic and disconnected from the world in which we live, others hope that it will succeed.

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/21/regenerative-economy-holism-economy-climate-change-inequality

 

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