We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, February 10, 2012

Not Like Cigarettes?

Click here to access article by Michael Dawson from his blog, Death by Car: capitalism's drive to carmageddon.

He quotes a recent remake made by a Ford executive:
“I never wanted us to be like the tobacco [companies], where our employees would have to apologize to their family and friends for working there. If that happens, we are not going to get the best and brightest.”
Which prompts Dawson to respond:
If Ford’s products are freedom vehicles and wonder machines, why this apparent slip into cigarette talk?
This brief article serves as an introduction to a piece entitled, "Cars & Capitalism" by Yves Engler who last year wrote about how capitalism has resulted in lifestyles oriented around cars (also a book). Engler focuses on the auto industry, but it is probably only the worst example of how a private profit driven industry results in so many disastrous consequences for healthy societies.

The automobile has been heavily promoted by government subsidies to feed profits to capitalists. But then, why would we expect anything different from a ruling class that is made up of capitalists? It really doesn't matter to them if it causes urban sprawl, global warming, exhaustion of cost effective sources of energy, and numerous health problems. Worst of all are the devastating wars that have been and will be waged over access to fossil fuel resources. As long as they get their profit and power fixes, nothing else matters.