wade tillett on 10 Aug 2000 06:03:50 -0000

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

RTMark Bag Authority wrote:

> RTMark believes it is too much to expect citizens--or "consumers," as
> they are sometimes derogatorily called--to be ever vigilant, each a
> processing mill for the reams of information that, even when distilled
> by corporate watchdogs (of which RTMark is *not* one), could easily
> take hours per week to sift through and understand.
> People cannot be expected to keep on a first-name basis with the
> latest important statistics, and exercise their knowledge daily,
> sometimes at their own personal expense. Such an existence would
> be enough to turn anyone into a jabbering wreck, or a cloying,
> self-anointed saint. In any case, it would leave precious little
> time for a fulfilling home life: policy-making takes time and energy,
> far more than most people have.

yeah, too much to expect....
>>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.

> Policy-making is what government is for, and sometimes it fulfills this
> calling. In Europe, citizens decided, through their governments, to buy
> bananas not from the criminal Central American regimes called Chiquita
> et al., but from their former colonies in Africa, at higher prices.
> This decision having been made, citizens didn't need to be confronted
> with the daily choice of decent but expensive versus evil but cheap.
> Unfortunately, the WTO has other plans, and democracy (and foreign
> policy decision-making) is just in the way....

are you not suggesting that an electoral democracy is needed in order to
protect us from a direct democracy?

> The European gas taxes are another example. Although never chosen by
> voters,

who chose it? i thought you were arguing for electoral democracy.

> the taxes that make gasoline twice as expensive in Europe as it

> is in the U.S. are quite consciously accepted and maintained, even

> when there is no longer a strict need for them, out of awareness
> that cheaper gas would lead to larger, more polluting cars.

do you really believe this?

> Imagine
> if everyone, daily, were faced with the choice whether or not to pay
> those taxes.

if it is quite conscious then why would it be so hard to face the choice?

> The market would sort it out?

the market is not responsible? consumers are not responsible? it is only the
pusher, never the puller? should we just continue to be blind addicts? (the
government focuses on the war on drugs on supply because it provides it with a
way to blame someone other than its constituency...) are not disney and
starbucks only the symptoms of a culture which refuses responsibility for its
leisure, for its consumption?

i do not believe the line between someone who buys stock in a company and
someone who buys a product from a company is so easily drawn.
is it ok to not know anything about susane feminine concept and buy their
product as a person, but not as a company?

why are shareholders and not consumers responsible? (for example mutual fund
shareholders who probably know less about the hundreds of corporations they
invest in than someone who buys sneakers knows about the sneaker company) just
because its too hard to be a good consumer? you could use the same argument to
defend a corporation requesting paper bags - it is just too hard to know the
other corporations on a first name basis - it could easily take hours per week
to sift through and understand...

following the logic of being personally responsible for corporate crime,
should not the punishments proposed for corporations also be extended to
consumers who support these corporations by consuming their product?

for example, from gwbush.com: (replacing shareholder with consumer) 'but if
each' consumer 'is personally responsible for corporate crimes - from safety
errors all the way down to lies about quality - then you've got market
controls, just like that.'

but instead of utilizing fear of personal responsibility, i.e. reprimand, why
not get over that fear and realize that, not only as a citizen, but also as a
consumer, you already are personally responsible. and i am personally

> The choices have indeed already been made, often as not, or not made--
> by governments increasingly in the clutches of giant corporations.

if the choices are already made, why are we even discussing this?
does this really mean that we are justified in using cars to go protest gas
companies? this 'the choices are made for us' reminds me of the unabomber's
manuscript. the unabomber used the very technologies and corporate giants he
abhorred to spread his message, thinking this was subversive. but all along it
was they that were subverting him, making him into a press icon with blow-out
news coverage.

media loves media, the content is irrelevant (so long as it does not result in
action). same with gas companies, you can go ahead and put big stickers and
megaphones on your car decrying gas companies and pollution, so long as you
keep driving.

> Often, indeed, the best we can do is fight,

couldn't agree more.

> even while hypocritically
> continuing to feed our addictions.

we can fight our addictions too.

> Nothing happens overnight.

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