Conservance

Social, Economic, Enviromental Responsibility

Tag: rebellion

21st Century Tyranny


In any setting, no matter how large or small; power corrupts. The right and just check against that corruption is accountability. Ideally to an informed party that has no vested interest beyond the best course of action for the parties involved. That is to say, they do not benefit directly from the decisions made, and so have a certain freedom to chose what is actually right. 

This is the model that all nations are founded on, that the government of a nation derives its power from the governed. The people hold their leaders accountable, through elections, referendums, protests and if necessary, rebellion.

The danger is that those in power will corrupt or subvert the check that accountability places on them. Through any number of means, all of them immoral, all of them sinister.

We see in businesses, and those institutions who model themselves on businesses, obfuscation, distraction, and cronyism. The “governed” (ie: students, employees, or customers) are distracted with non-essentials (data limits on cell phone plans for example) that imitate control. In the case of cell phones, choosing a data plan that “works for you” and then paying the supposed higher costs, ignores the fact that cell phone companies are charging that amount of money because they have not updated their infrastructure. Cellular and other communication networks still route to copper wires that were laid in the 50s and 60s. 

University and business boards are both especially guilty of cronyism. Often times, the board members all know each other very well, and instead of holding each other accountable, more often than not rub each others backs. E. Gordon Gee, president of the Ohio State University, was given a ludicrous pay raise, even after a major scandal occurred under his leadership, and the university was facing budget shortfalls. Why? Because the board members are all closely related, some of them are major contributors to the university, and they all benefit financially from the actions of President Gee. The students however, do not. 

Automated customer service lines are the perfect tool to shirk accountability. By running customers through endless levels of red-tape, prompts and low level employees, a business can effectively insulate themselves against the demands of its employees. In today’s modern, globally interconnected economy a company can do this, because ultimately there is no one else. When “The Last Airbender” movie was boycotted, it accomplished nothing, because the production companies Paramount, MTV and Nickelodeon went on with business as usual. Along with that, their parent company, Viacom, was not boycotted. Protestors refused to see “The Last Airbender” but continued to watch MTV, and buy products from other Viacom owned companies. Effectively negating their boycott.

This is a more insidious form of tyranny. It is no less evil, no less dehumanizing, yet because it has no real “violence” associated with it or the masses are given a short-term fix, we fail to see it as such. This is 21st century oppression, this is what dictators and regimes look like now. And we need to resist them as we always have, we must rise up and demand that accountability be restored to all levels of society and government.

 

In short, we must fight back. Non-violently if we can, violently if we must.

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The Most Damaging U.S. Deficit: Trust – BusinessWeek


The Most Damaging U.S. Deficit: Trust – BusinessWeek.

It’s interesting to me to think what happens when the citizens of a nation lose trust in their government. Since 2000, everyone has been upset with the way our country has handled itself at some point and time.

Perhaps it’s time we do something?

We have a right, as put forth by the Declaration of Independence, to alter or abolish any government that becomes destructive towards the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

If things continue on this path it is unlikely that anyone will be alive. If we look back at history, it would seem that in the last 50 years we’ve become steadily unhappier. I know that happiness had a different meaning to the forefathers, but we no longer live in that time, and by today’s definition of happiness: No one’s really happy.

Furthermore, we no longer have liberty. I don’t have the freedom to start a family or pursue a rewarding career that pays little actual money, because I’m beholden to a few companies.

Voting to affect change is a laughable proposition at best. Politicians seek only to serve their interests and a few lobbyists and no one else. Often, the will of the people (those whom governments derive power from) is ignored outright.

How can a people bear the burden of poor government?

Consumer Rebellion


I was talking with my brother yesterday and he made the comment “I’m surprised there hasn’t been a consumerist revolt.” A light Sunday afternoon discussion I know!

He was talking about free markets, and how in many cases they don’t seem to exist. He highlighted urban apparel; companies like Sean John, FUBU, and others sell clothes at ludicrously high prices to a demographic that, on paper, can’t afford it.

Or take gasoline prices. Volatility doesn’t encourage economic growth, in fact quite the opposite, in encourages a bunker mentality. Yet everyday it’s a new price, with swings of $0.50 a day not uncommon.

What has developed is a legal trust or monopoly. And in the face of this, voting with one’s wallet has no impact. Like quitting Facebook because of privacy concerns, it doesn’t send any message whatsoever; it only affects the individual.

It is effectively a captive market, with a few companies doing similar things for similar prices. It is the appearance of a free market, the illusion of one.

Has anyone stopped to wonder why MPG standards have decreased since the 80s? An 80s BMW gets better mileage than a Smart Car. According to the plans laid out before, we should have at this point in life:

Cars with 30 mpg city as the norm.

Clean, renewable energy for everyone.

Ultra efficient homes, and smart cities.

But what has happened? The mega players in captive markets have used lobbyists effectively, dragged their feet, cited “free markets” and “competition,” and in some cases ignored outright government demands and regulation.

And people still believe in a free market as though it were a personal benefit. The current system benefits a small slice of Civilization. And the other 90% believe it benefits them.

At what point do we realize that we are the market, and that we can’t bear what is occurring any longer?

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