Sunday, November 7, 2010

Some thoughts on economy and activism

Next post up: Peaceful Uprising's Climate Trial 

I got a second to pull Tim away into a darkened pinball room later that evening and grill him about Economics. We talked about various ways to make anti-consumerism more economically viable, alternative economic models to the current hyper-growth that most of America thinks is the only way. He made the point that in our current model all forms of resources are subsidized heavily. All forms of labor, however, are taxed. This provides as financial incentive for consumptive business models over social business models. If you reverse those subsidies and taxes then labor becomes valued.  

We also talked about steady-state economics, models where your economy needn't grow at a massive rate to keep up with the inflation of national debt, among other things. The problem being that shifting from that consumption system to a stable one is in practical terms impossible. 

The system, most likely, needs to be shown it is unsustainable by completely collapsing. Strap-on-the-boots style collapse. Peaceful Uprising and others try to shift the tide as much as possible before that collapse because that creates an alternative to build towards. 

It needn't be embraced by the community at large to be effective, either. Tim made the point that if 10% of America can be convinced that business-as-usual industrialism is not a working model, then there are 30 million people who can be activated. And what can any force do in the face of those numbers? The trick is getting them to care, and act. 

Tim's actions are effective because he's willing to articulate his motives to anyone who will listen. That gives him the advantage over big industry and big oil, who are forced to backpedal and refute his claims from the get-go rather than determine the framework of the issue. I find a pretty illuminating contrast in the case of Jordan Halliday, a local guy who was just sentenced with 10 months for resisting a Grand Jury.  Jordan's tactics, for whatever reason, haven't been as successful as Tim's. In my opinion, Tim's openness to talk to the press and publicize on his own terms turned him into a media figure, while Jordan's commitment to silence on any ideological stances he may have meant the prosecution was able to walk all over him. Tim's also had a lot of practice, now so his arguments have become very convincing to most anybody who takes a second to think through what he's saying. 

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