wade tillett on 9 Aug 2000 14:40:30 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Re: AW: AW: Urgent inquiry for Paper bags!

(re: inquiry for paper bags, gwbush.com corporate crime)
great idea to make corporations, including shareholders, responsible
for their actions and effects.
what i am writing to ask though, is why stop there? why are not
consumers also responsible for the sins of corporations that they
support by consuming their product? lets not forget that there are
millions, if not billions, of consumers eager to drive through to pick
up the new mcsomething (in their sweatshop made sneakers, maybe
afterwards they'll stop by their local neighborhood mega-chain
coffeeshop, then maybe go home and type and whine about it on their
computer with millions of parts from god knows where...)
attempting to solve the sins of corporations with yet another level of
regulation is ridiculous (besides corporations are larger and more
powerful than most governments... who would enforce it?). similar to
attempting to control the supply of drugs - when the actual problem
and power is in the demand.  perhaps as consumers we are all too weak
and brainwashed by the non-stop onslaught of advertising to actually
be self aware enough to realize when, let alone what, we are
consuming. unconsciously we flip on the light switch and use our
nuclear powered electricity. perhaps we can continue to believe that
the choices are not ours, they have been made for us, that we are not
responsible and that it is actually the evil demon mega-corporations
and trade organizations. lets drive our cars and fly in our planes to
go protest exxon and shell polluting the environment. lets drink our
skim latte and bitch about starfucks and how it destroys
neighborhoods. lets live in our perfect little neighborhood, or our
perfect little subdivision, and send our kids to our exclusive schools
and complain about the decline of public space, economic diversity,
and public education. lets continue to point the finger at anyone but
our self and our daily actions.
so yeah, corporations should be responsible, but more than that,
individuals should be responsible - whether they are at work shielded
by the corporations legal team, or investing in the blur of mutual
funds, or 'relaxing' at the movies, or buying toothpaste.
in order to facilitate conscious consumers, information on the
products consumed must be known. (rtmark disseminates this sort of
information.) this implies an active searching and researching by the
consumer - not the mere acceptance of a nice hand-out of consumer
conscious propaganda. and yet all of the information will never be
available. besides, in a consumer environment which is so
interconnected, there are no perfect products. instead, the consumer
chooses between the lesser of evils. and this is where it really hurts
- it might be less convenient, or more expensive, to consume a product
which is not purely good, but only less evil. (but lets never forget
that we always have larger choices than presented to us. not coke or
pepsi, but coke or pepsi or water. that would be a good taste test
challenge... coke, pepsi, or water.)
so there must be some sort of relative scale of evils i guess.  if you
know that tobacco kills and you smoke it anyway and then maybe you get
some big state settlement for lots of dollars because the tobacco
corporations are evil and misleading (which they are), what does it
matter? you can never get those years off of your life back. if you
know mcsomething is bad for the environment, bad for children, bad for
neighborhoods, bad for the economy, and you eat there anyway, what
sort of punishment would be appropriate? maybe the punishment of
eating at mcsomething is that - eating at mcsomething. the world
becomes more of what you make it. eating at mcsomething makes more
mcsomethings and less non-chain local restaurants. a choice is always
a reduction of possibilities.

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