Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My days of shopping celibacy

I love it! My article on my month-long foray in The Compact - an agreement to shun new purchases in lieu of used ones - has come out in OnEarth. I love the artwork - it cracks me up! Check it out: My 30 Days of Consumer Celibacy. And I also recorded a podcast interview with OnEarth editor Laura Wright that you can listen to here. (NOTE the podcast is not yet online but will be soon).

love to all!

1 comment:

Kevin Carson said...

"So maybe we need to rethink the way we define a strong economy to encompass not only the health of our financial markets, but also the health of our natural resources."

We might also expand our definition of a strong economy to encompass the amount of labor an individual is required to put in for an adequate lifestyle.

A huge part of what shows up in the market price of what we buy is made up of tolls to priveleged gatekeepers (like so-called "intellectual property" [sic], which should be an abomination to any principled believer in free markets), tribute to "professional" licensing cartels, or subsidized waste (like buying stuff produced by a giant factory 1000 miles away instead of by a more efficient small factory ten miles away, in part because government highway and airport subsidies make it artificially cheap to ship stuff long-distance). Not to mention rent and interest, monopoly returns to privileged landlords and capitalists, whose land and capital are made artificially scarce and expensive by state-enforced privilegge. You subtract from the GDP all the stuff that's the moral equivalent of paying people to build pyramids or dig holes and fill them back in, and all the rentier incomes to privileged, useless eaters, and we could probably have the existing standard of living with a 20-hr work week.

In East Africa, the British colonial authorities seized the most fertile 20 percent of the land and forced the native peasantry off of it. The peasants who managed to remain on the rest of the land were forced into the wage labor market, as a deliberate matter of policy, by a poll tax that required them to earn money in the cash economy to pay it. What with all the functions of the informal, household, gift and barter economies that became monetized, and all the formerly self-sufficient subsistence producers forced into wage labor by state robbery, the Kenyan GDP probably exploded by several orders of magnitude--even as individual quality of life was destroyed. I'll bet that damn yahoo on the radio talk show would have been gratified to know the natives were all doing their part for "the economy."