Posts Tagged ‘Consumerism’

https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/escape-cult-materialism/

An exploration of our pervasive culture of consumption.

I noted the following well made points illustrated in this piece;

• The materialist dream is not practically possible for all humanity, therefore this will always necessitate leaving large parts of the world behind, keeping them poor and chasing an impossible reality. This level of inequality is inbuilt, and intentional. It is the modus operandi of consumerism

• Violence and warfare are integral aspects of this cult. In order to secure power, competitive advantage and gain access to markets for supply and demand components, an active military is fundamental

• When attempting to find linkage between different facts and truths in order to uncover the greater truths, one part of this documentary was particularly appealing. View from 34:16;

“Wasteful inefficiency, broken social system, toxic pollution, drug addiction, perpetual violence, misery….”

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MoneyWeek always does a good job in joining together different strands of the reality surrounding debt and putting it all into perspective.

This piece is another example of such work, I found the following points worth noting;

• The effect cheap debt has on corporate behaviour, which in turn translates into market moves/signals

• Statistics in the shape of national debt being measured against GDP which is not entirely genuine due to the whole economy not being ‘owned’ by government . However this leads me to ponder that although government debt is initated by the State, it is all tax paying citizens that will ultimately bear its burden, hence comparing it to GDP does equate to it being the nations debt, but of course not all GDP belongs to all citizens

• How much debt is responsible for living standards. This is particularly worth contemplating, many look at material wealth and standards of living as a barometer for social advancement however if this is heavily influenced by credit and in some cases unaffordable credit, is it simply an illusion? Another house of cards, which others are vying endlessly to win a share of?

https://www.capitalandconflict.com/uncategorised/debt-solves-everything-hopefully/

The profound concept of what value is and what value society should try to attain is explored in this worthy documentary.

I would like to highlight a number of the take home messages which I found to be praiseworthy and challenging of conventional wisdom;

  • ‘Not all profits are created equal’ implying certain gains could potentially be more worthy than others, the simple metric that something is profitable should not be an absolutist criterion. Profit should be based on sustainability not success
  • The components of the Value Chain should be continually assessed not for whether they are profitable but for what real value they provide the wider society, what positive aspects do they contribute?
  • Price, a key market signal, does not reflect the true cost to society or the environment, therefore how ‘profitable’ are certain activities
  • Our environment governs our behaviour therefore is there is any such thing as free choice, do we even have the freedom to make a choice?
  • The rewards we have currently have in a market economy incentivise us to make potentially harmful choices, not the beneficial choices
  • Contrast the theory that markets allows us to allocate resources adequately with the knowledge that this allocation may be to detrimental activities
  • Some say society at large has never been more prosperous nor peaceful, but the point of how fractured it is bears contemplating
  • The final scene where the following advice was given had much resonance with me, ‘…it’s time. Serve’ This could also be interpreted as in order to serve (society/the natural world order, and therefore establish justice to ourselves and others) we must SUBMIT…the basis of the concept of Islam

It has been oft repeated that in our democratic, liberal societies, the few have greater power over the many

Is it the top 1% that owns a greater share of the capital and wealth than the remaining 99%? It is interesting to think of how many of these ‘many verses few’ statistics genuinely exist when analysing our reality

Given the freedom to own property and generate capital, which can indeed be a positive thing, to what extent is this so open to abuse that the rules of the game were never really meant to create fairness and a degree of equality? Is human nature, which is left unchecked, too prone to avarice that such freedoms will always result in a small elite hungry to capture ever more resources than required?

This is not another post looking to promote controlled economies,  however its purpose is to illustrate that, with the best of intensions, will some freedoms, when applied to a population shaped and conformed to behave in a certain manner, always result in a pyramidical structure taking shape where these conditions exist? Is this shape the overriding effect of all the freedoms at our disposal? Consider the following;

Top Asset Management firms by total value of assets under management

Think about what this data is actually telling us; when asset managers acquire equity, or interest in another business enterprise, they take a degree of ownership in that firm. Thereby, over time and because of the funds that flow to these giant institutions, the few in combination, have ended up in a position of ‘owning’ in part or in full, the many corporations that they have a share in – allowing them to ascend to the top of the pyramid; the few owning much greater proportion combined than the many. It also follows that this leads to a common source of control and influence across an economy/region given this limited pool of effective ownership.

Another perspective on this could be that much of this capital originates from the mass population who are the ultimate owners, through their long term savings and pension provisions invested with these providers. Therefore, is this an attempt to invert the structure, allowing the many to benefit? I would argue not, the masses, when considered individually, on average, do not financially benefit as much as the managers who take material cuts from the pool of funds at their disposal. Often their reward incentives are not adequately aligned with the retail investors at large, allowing the elite to become disproportionally better off than the investors who are searching for gains. The small investor is also not the party which excercises the controlling power.

In addition to this asset ownership, consider more generally, how much land the few own in comparison to the larger population, the size of GDP of the few regions compared to the many, the distribution of resources, the access to what is classed as the best quality of education, the trend continues and the structure that we can continually see forming is that of a top down, hierarchical pyramid – it should be clear from such insights what the ultimate power structure of the contemporary world is and what the fruits of everybody’s efforts are really delivering.

 

 

By following the money trail it is possible to  discover how intertwined British Imperialism was with its emergence as an economic power and the prosperity created for the nation.

Please read the following eight short pieces by James Walvin, on the monuments and show pieces across Britain and the people behind them, all connected to various trades directly linked to Slavery.

I will continue to explore this topic in a number of posts in future under a similar title

Imaging rights? Monetising the right to use your likeness…even when you are dead….they say money never sleeps, well it doesn’t much die either

Muhammed Ali sold his rights while he was alive….but now he has passed, it will continue to be used. Much like the rights of Elvis Presley which have financially benefitted his estate long after his death.

The ability to recreate an actors image from CGI…most recently seen by the reimaging of Peter Cushing’s Star Wars character is also not a new thing, but something which is becoming increasingly believable and sophisticated, and therefore a potential market exists which can only become more lucrative for the living celebrities who have distinctly popular images.

This allows people to ‘trade’ on their own image, in life and increasingly, in death. Creating revenue streams beyond your physical presence, or even your own labour, in this life.

In an earlier blog, I mentioned how money defies the some of the basic laws of the created realm, notably the way it is created…out of nothing

It seems it can cheat death now too

 

An oft repeated argument by numerous commentators about the benefits of free markets and capitalism is the incentive system it fosters.

Whilst constructively shaping human behaviour is needed in order to positively reinforce the benefit humanity can bring to the wider universe/environment, a question continues to linger about what type of incentive do alternative systems propose, and can they indeed work?

This post by a Muslim Counter Racist activist sheds meaningful light here and in my opinion makes a compelling argument if fully analysed

One particular point I would like to highlight here is the final part;

If this all sounds too ‘idealistic’ and ‘anarcho-libertarian’, I should like to draw attention to the closing phrase in this sign / indicator (ayat) – which is also the closing phrase of this enclosure / chapter (surah), viz. “and if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.” In short, if a people are not willing to measure up to this ‘ideal’, then they will be replaced by others.

Capitalism might appear robust and permanent, but it is nothing but the ‘froth’ that mounts up on the surface of the water and is destined to pass.

I draw your attention to this because it ultimately plays to another well rehearsed attribute of capitalism and pluralism which should be supported; the idea of ‘Creative Destruction’, if an idea is deemed to fail, then it should be allowed to, naturally (no bail-outs/artificial support), and a more robust, stronger idea will take its place by having learnt from the weaknesses of what came before.

The true form of Deen-al-Islam is not with us in the contemporary world and how can we therefore assess accurately if it can indeed work. If it is not implemented correctly, it will indeed fail.

How do we assess whether our flirtation with capitalist principles have failed – do we really have the freedom to choose to replace it, or have we been coaxed into believing that it works?