TaN: Stupidity and wanton destruction of the manifestations and symptoms of consumerism – intentional short-lived products and inane marketing campaigns. For as long as Big Business – I am qualifying that this argument does not include local business and SMEs, i.e., those businesses where the customers/consumers are neighbors and locals and, at most, those in the next or adjacent socio-political unit (like a barrio, a village, a tribe, etc) – is “in charge”, money or the generation of wealth will always remain the highest (and only) priority. And, this will always be unsustainable, because one cannot continue growth with finite or limited resources. The difference, when we use “sustainable” technology (as defined by Big Business) instead of the conventional wasteful and destructive technology, is we just delay the inevitable but we will get to the same end – a global garbage dump and up to our necks and nostrils in decaying and decomposing trash.
The only to avoid our destiny with oblivion and self-extinction and to save ourselves is to do a complete reversal – a 180-degree turnaround – is to return to our “old” ways…back to “mom and pop” stores, to farm-based economics, to bartering, and using local currencies (which preserve local wealth).
The main argument is the environment around us; the principal paradigm that not only supports but, in fact, is the very foundation.
The environment have isolated “patches” or “islands” of distinct yet diverse local ecosystems against a global landscape of uniform and common super ecosystems. But many so-called distinct local ecosystems have similar (but identical) “versions” in other geographical regions that share similar environmental conditions or characteristics – like the sugar glider (found in the Australian continent) and like the flying squirrel (native to northern Europe and northern North America). They belong to very different branches of the mammalian group and geographical regions but exhibit similar physical attributes and descriptions. They can be said to be counterparts in different and distant ecosystems but there are similar conditions in their respective habitats that led them to develop, along parallel lines, abilities that address or capitalize on the environmental conditions – like the gliding abilities of the sugar glider and the flying squirrel.
Local ecosystems influence and shape creatures to adapt and take advantage of whatever conditions are present and they survive and even thrive because they adapt to the local conditions. We – i.e., business – should take our cue from nature (just like we used to) and live within the environmental conditions around us. Adapting our existence to condtions alien to our surroundings are detrimental and prove to be disastrous in the long term. We will be upsetting the equilibrium of the local environment and we will be working “against” nature and not “with” it.
To continue down the path of short-lived products, under the guise of continuing and evolving product development and improvement and innovation, is to invite our own demise (as a species). Any product that has a short useful life – i.e., that must be relegated to the trash heap even when it is still operational and functional but just because there is a new “toy” – is not sustainable and wasteful. The mark of a truly sustainable product is one that, not only does it last (durable) beyond its expected productive life, but can be re-used and/or recycled when its original intent or purpose is no longer possible. [The useful or productive life cycle of a product depends on the product. A car should be useful up to 10 years, while a pencil may be just a few weeks. One example of a bad and unsustainable product is the mobile or cellular telephone. Another are plastic bags and packagings.]
TaN: The concept of democracy – being the “ideal”, where everyone gets to participate and an equal opportunity to chart the course of destiny – is only applicable if and when everyone is concerned, everyone is well-informed, and (most) everyone is ethical.
In a society where people are apathetic, immature, and/or “ill-aware” (i.e., do not fully comprehend or have not been properly educated on the enormous obligation and responsibility to deserve democracy), democracy can easily be manipulated and twisted to serve the interests of those who seek to undermine the people’s will and welfare. This is precisely what is happening among societies that have been “exposed” to modernity (or western, specifically American influence) – especially Third World countries, where social unrest and complaints that their (respective) governments are neither responsive nor concerned with the interests of the general population.
In order for democracy to be truly appreciated and enjoyed, the general population should be mature – i.e., responsible, caring, alert, involved, and committed. In immature societies, democracy is a dangerous (but ideal) weapon for those who seek control and rule. They manipulate policies and laws to their ends, using human psychology (and vehavior) against the public to achieve their self-interests – which, usually, are amassing of wealth, restricting (to themselves) of privileges, and ensuring neither punitive nor penal sanctions or actions against any and all illegal, immoral, and unethical deeds and decisions they make.
Among many, a familiar manifestation of an immature society (or culture) is the election-related anomaly of vote selling – where the voter is more concerned with material gratification or gain rather than the general public welfare. This is the mark of an immature citizenry who cares only for their own selfish interest instead of the common good and is most assuredly a certainty that democracy is undeserving – exercising one’s rights with irresponsibility and with an abandon on the consequences of one’s actions and decisions.
Furthermore, relying on or taking advantage of the “weakness” of a voter – specifically, financial weakness – shows that those who desire to be in power (obviously, for ulterior and self-serving ends) are willing and able to do “whatever it takes” to attain their objectives…Machiavellianism. And, to be strict in the application, this would not exempt any society, any culture, or any (so-called or self-proclaimed) democratic state – because there will always be individuals (in fact, a huge number) who will “act immaturely”.
The reality that there is not a single (democratic or otherwise) state – i.e., an entire state and not a small political unit like a town or village – that can claim to have all mature individuals. Still, this reality cannot be used as an alibi.
Unless everyone is a mature and responsible citizen, deserving of democracy, we have to come up with a more appropriate and workable political system – if we sincerely want to rid ourselves of manipulative cabals and global control freaks.