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Nader writes: "The holidays have been hijacked by big companies sending out a message to the American people: 'Buy, buy, buy!'"

Ralph Nader being interviewed during his 2008 presidential campaign, 08/01/08. (photo: Scrape TV)
Ralph Nader being interviewed during his 2008 presidential campaign, 08/01/08. (photo: Scrape TV)



The Gift of a Sustainable Economy

By Ralph Nader, Reader Supported News

02 December 12

 

s the end of the year approaches, so does the biggest consumer rush of the year, as millions flock to the stores and online vendors for the latest TVs, gadgets, trendy toys, clothes and more. The Friday after Thanksgiving, now popularly known as "Black Friday" has, in recent years, been hyped beyond the bounds of decency by marketers hoping to motivate thousands of people across the country to line up outside of stores in the wee hours of the morning in hope of securing discounts on big ticket items. One could even make the case that Thanksgiving is now overshadowed by the next-day shopping extravaganza -- in some communities, stores even opened on Thursday night, so intrepid shoppers could leave their holiday festivities and get right to it. And don't forget about "Cyber Monday" just days later, for those inclined to get their deals online.

The holidays, once considered a sacred time for family and celebration, have been hijacked by big companies sending out a message to the American people, playing on an endless loop from as early as November 1st all the way to the New Year: "Buy, buy, buy!" Think of all of those products that millions of Americans are purchasing as gifts for their friends and family. Where were they manufactured? Who profits from their sale? What happens to them when they break or become obsolete?

Winsted, Connecticut, where I grew up, once had about a hundred factories and fabricators -- manufacturing such things as appliances, clocks, electrical equipment, clothing and more. They were the town's lifeblood -- the gears that spurred the local economy and provided jobs and goods for the town's 10,000 residents. Almost all the factories are gone now. Someone looking for a well-paying job likely has to commute an hour to Hartford, the nearest major city.

The local economy, once the bread and butter of the United States, has been traded away in favor of the national economy -- namely, an economy driven by unpatriotic multinational corporations. The idea of a thriving Main Street has largely became a quaint relic of the past -- drive along any major roadway in the United States today and you'll see the big, bright signs of Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, one right after another. These stores and online retailers such as Amazon are the thriving businesses of today. But how does their success help most of the country?

Because so many big multinational companies ship jobs and industries abroad, the lack of well-paying jobs has become a serious issue for American workers. Millions of blue-collar jobs moved to countries that won't cut into a company's profit margin with requirements such as basic worker's rights and a minimum wage. (Consider the recent factory fire in Bangladesh, where 112 workers died due to lax safety standards. The factory produced clothes for Walmart, Sears and Disney, among other American companies.) Many white-collar jobs have also gone overseas -- how often do you call a customer support hotline only to reach someone in India or the Philippines? The evidence of this great job migration is all around, depressed small towns with empty factories, fewer and fewer family-owned small retail businesses, big banks over community banks, supermarkets over grocery stores. While American workers enjoy more rights and privileges than their overseas equivalents, there is still much work to be done. For instance, the federal minimum wage is three dollars less then what it was, adjusted for inflation, back in 1968. Hundreds of American Walmart workers walked off the job on Black Friday to protest low wages and poor working conditions. Poverty is increasing.

Despite the iron grip of major corporations on the consumer dollar, local businesses have managed to maintain a foothold in local economies, as many consumers grow weary of the processed foods and goods the retail chains provide. Farmer's markets, community gardens, small shops and cooperatives are trendy now, and many are springing up in cities and towns across America. One example -- Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, North Carolina -- is a cooperative owned by 10,000 consumer-owners and 90 worker-owners. It uses locally grown and produced foods to supply its various restaurants and stores, and reports that 50 cents on every dollar spent remains in the local community. (In comparison, 15 cents on every dollar stays local at most big chain stores.) Seeking out such businesses when doing holiday shopping can result in your dollars going much further, in tangible ways, in your local community. Visit greenamerica.org for a directory of such businesses and for more information on cooperatives and sustainable economic strategies.

Another problem, accentuated by the perverse overload of holiday commercialism, is the enormous amount of waste we produce. How many of the gifts that Americans buy this holiday season -- the computers, the TVs, the cell phones, the tablets -- are broken or obsolete after a few years? What happens to all these big-ticket items? Many end up discarded. And the goal of the companies that manufacture them is simple. By planning product obsolescence, enticing consumers to spend more and more on increasingly disposable products, customers will keep buying more, year after year.

For change to occur, Americans have to become more aware about what manufacturers are doing and why, and expand the use of second hand, reuse and material exchange programs. Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff Project has done an admirable job of bringing attention to the vast amount of production and consumption waste in our throwaway economy. Patagonia -- the environmentally-conscious clothing company founded by Yvon Chouinard -- recently started a pledge with a simple goal: "Don't Buy What You Don't Need." As of now, nearly 40,000 people have signed up. Across the ocean, Holland has seen the recent emergence of "Repair Cafes," where people can take their broken appliances to be repaired instead of tossing them and buying a brand new one.

This holiday season, instead of venturing out to the big retail chains to do your shopping, try thinking alternatively. Ask yourself what you, your friends, your neighbors and your family really need. There are real benefits to establishing local self-reliance -- both short and long term. By supporting local shops, businesses and co-ops that have a tangible investment in the local community -- far more so than the powerbrokers running national retail giants -- and by encouraging new ideas and programs that focus on sustainability, you'll do far more good for your community. What's a better gift than that?


Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+62 # guyachs 2012-12-02 12:45
Unpatriotic mutinational companies. You just nailed it. As soon as a company becomes mutinational, their interests no longer coincide with the interests of our country and they should not be permitted to contriubute to the political envrionment in any way. It's the same as allowing China to directly influence our elections. They do it indirectly now and that should be stopped also. Corporations showed their true colors in WWII when they supported us and Germany. They didn't care who won the war because they won either way.
 
 
+8 # abdullahiedward 2012-12-03 03:30
You forgot to mention the fact that the Bush family was heavily involved with investments and contracts in Germany well after the start of WWII. Is it to be expected that they and their ilk have changed their spots over the years? No, I'm afraid they just got better at hiding these sorts of things.
 
 
+33 # fredboy 2012-12-02 12:46
So true. But don't "give" any additional taxes to help bail out our nation. That, according to the Repugs and other selfish creeps among us, would be "un-American."

Pretty much strains belief, doesn't it?
 
 
+4 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-12-03 17:46
Come on fredboy, are you afraid to say that the 'other selfish creeps among us' are Democrats? Most of our know by now that the two corporate parties are really one party with two puppet heads. I don't think many working people are enjoys all the hope and change as we face austerity measures by our corrupt government.
 
 
+1 # dovelane1 2012-12-04 04:50
Want real - You may be somewhat correct about the "corporate" side of the parties. I don't include most of the individual liberals and progressives I know in that same group. And there are probably some "conservatives" that don't like the corporate practices they see either.

That being said, I trust the "normal" liberal or progressive a lot more than I do the conservative, as a general rule. I don't think I would visit this site, if I didn't. I have learned a lot from this site and the articles they have brought forward, even those that were critical of the progressives. I've even learned from some of those that post criticisms here as well.

I believe, as Obama said, there is much work to do. The more I learn, the more qualified I become to do some of the work necessary. I can't say the same thing for the devotes of Fox news.

So, I ask you, what are you doing to make our "corrupt" government more accountable? Are you part of the solution, or part of the problem?
 
 
+50 # DaveM 2012-12-02 13:10
In order to maintain a stable economy based on capitalism (that is, the exchange of "capital", not the version that Wal-Mart claims it practices), you have to make something. And you have to have a market consisting of people who have enough money to buy the products they make.

Right now, we have an economy based on institutions like Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart does not create anything. It acts as a broker between buyer and seller and takes a "cut" for providing the service. Many who work at Wal-Mart cannot afford to shop at Wal-Mart--it is said that new hirees are given the papers to apply for food stamps when they sign on. In effect, that leads to government subsidy of Wal-Mart. Which then ships the proceeds to the producers of its products, most of which are in Asia.
 
 
-40 # dar1292 2012-12-02 13:32
Mr. Nader would have much more credibility if he had realized in 2000 the importance of not electing a man like George Bush. By remaining on the ballot in Florida he shifted the outcome. If he had not stayed on the ballot we would have elected Al Gore and the Supreme Court would have stayed out of the election. I lost all interest in Mr. Nader at that point. Nothing he has done since has caused me to change my view on what I see as one of the most self serving men in the country. Just as Wal Mart is interested only in Wal Mart Mr. Nader's actions in 2000 show that he is only interested in his own brand. He is no different than the ones he attacks.
 
 
+40 # Eliza D 2012-12-02 16:04
Mr. Nader has more credibility than just about anyone else in public life because he practices what he preaches. I worked with him some years ago at one of the PIRGs that he started. The man lived and lives like a monk, in an apartment with few possessions. The FBI, who investigated him in 2000 was able to find absolutely nothing on him. If he had been elected President, I believe we would be powering our homes with wind and solar energy,Glass Steigal would have been repealed, the oil companies stripped of their tax breaks and havens,in short we would have a better, cleaner country. There are few people in the last century who have worked so tirelessly to help preserve and increase the rights of the middle class, the disenfranchised and our species.
 
 
+20 # reiverpacific 2012-12-02 18:51
Quoting dar1292:
Mr. Nader would have much more credibility if he had realized in 2000 the importance of not electing a man like George Bush. By remaining on the ballot in Florida he shifted the outcome. If he had not stayed on the ballot we would have elected Al Gore and the Supreme Court would have stayed out of the election. I lost all interest in Mr. Nader at that point. Nothing he has done since has caused me to change my view on what I see as one of the most self serving men in the country. Just as Wal Mart is interested only in Wal Mart Mr. Nader's actions in 2000 show that he is only interested in his own brand. He is no different than the ones he attacks.

Another tired ol' Nader-basher.
Where was Al Gore -pretty self-centered himself and bred from a dynasty of elite politicos, when Nader was going after the powerful short-cutters and safety deniers in the auto and other major industries on YOUR behalf?
If Gore had shown any cojones, and the SCOTUS hadn't been bent we'd have had a different 'selection" in 1999.
So you don't believe in third and fourth-party challenges? Ye canna have it both ways!
Nader/La Duke was a perfectly valid ticket and a courageous one at that; -get over it and look to the future.
 
 
-12 # dar1292 2012-12-02 19:40
The election was in 2000, not 1999. What I find to be very interesting is that those who have responded to my post have resorted to personal attacks. I'm neither old nor tired, what I don't believe though is listening to Ralph Nader like he is some sort of oracle. He has yet to do anything on my behalf. As for the validity in Nader/LaDuke, that ticket brought us Bush. Without him running there wouldn't have been a recount in Florida, there would not have been the selection by the the Supreme Court. If you want to listen to Nader that's obviously your choice but the left has just as little right to tell me about the validity of my beliefs are as those who watch Fox News and to tell me what I need to do.
 
 
+12 # reiverpacific 2012-12-03 00:28
Quoting dar1292:
The election was in 2000, not 1999. What I find to be very interesting is that those who have responded to my post have resorted to personal attacks. I'm neither old nor tired, what I don't believe though is listening to Ralph Nader like he is some sort of oracle. He has yet to do anything on my behalf. As for the validity in Nader/LaDuke, that ticket brought us Bush. Without him running there wouldn't have been a recount in Florida, there would not have been the selection by the the Supreme Court. If you want to listen to Nader that's obviously your choice but the left has just as little right to tell me about the validity of my beliefs are as those who watch Fox News and to tell me what I need to do.

Please read http://www.diggers.org/freecitynews/_disc1/0000001e.htm.
I was here too y'know but all the work and skullduggery is done well before an election as you should know. I don't think Nader could have affected the outcome of the foregoing well laid plan. And I still maintain that Gore folded his hand too soon.
And BYW, don't take yerself so seriously. I was referring to your anti-Nader quite unnecessary comment and stance, not you, as "Old and tired": I don't know you personally, so how could I do otherwise? You were the initial attacker here after all,
Relax,
 
 
+15 # dkonstruction 2012-12-03 12:34
Quoting dar1292:
The election was in 2000, not 1999. What I find to be very interesting is that those who have responded to my post have resorted to personal attacks. I'm neither old nor tired, what I don't believe though is listening to Ralph Nader like he is some sort of oracle. He has yet to do anything on my behalf. As for the validity in Nader/LaDuke, that ticket brought us Bush. Without him running there wouldn't have been a recount in Florida, there would not have been the selection by the the Supreme Court. If you want to listen to Nader that's obviously your choice but the left has just as little right to tell me about the validity of my beliefs are as those who watch Fox News and to tell me what I need to do.


Ever rode in a car and used a seatbelt? Then Nader has indeed done something "on your behalf" not to mention the millions of others whose lives have been saved by them.

Nader is not an oracle and i don't think those coming to his defense are "groupies" but rather those that recognize the major contributions he (and the PIRG's he helped create) have made to this country in the last 40+ years fighting for the consumer and worker rights (including workplace conditions).
 
 
+14 # abdullahiedward 2012-12-03 03:33
@dar 1292, Don't get your facts and or history twisted! The "election" in Florida in 2000 was an out and out theft! And don't you ever forget it! If you want to hold a grudge against somebody my I suggest the Republican Party!!!
 
 
+10 # RLF 2012-12-03 09:52
Or the Democratic party for, under Clinton, becoming Republikan-lite . If they had kept to progressive ideals, Nader would never had made a splash in 2000.
 
 
+5 # reiverpacific 2012-12-03 22:11
Quoting RLF:
Or the Democratic party for, under Clinton, becoming Republikan-lite. If they had kept to progressive ideals, Nader would never had made a splash in 2000.

Damn good point.
His prodigy Blair did the same to the British Labor party as a kind of Clinton-lite" and became a Dimwits Bush cypher, with the results we still have to live with both sides of the pond.
 
 
+6 # dkonstruction 2012-12-03 12:32
Quoting dar1292:
Mr. Nader would have much more credibility if he had realized in 2000 the importance of not electing a man like George Bush. By remaining on the ballot in Florida he shifted the outcome. If he had not stayed on the ballot we would have elected Al Gore and the Supreme Court would have stayed out of the election. I lost all interest in Mr. Nader at that point. Nothing he has done since has caused me to change my view on what I see as one of the most self serving men in the country. Just as Wal Mart is interested only in Wal Mart Mr. Nader's actions in 2000 show that he is only interested in his own brand. He is no different than the ones he attacks.


dar1292, let's say for argument's sake that i agree with your take on Nader's role in the 2000 election and that this has undermined his credility with many. How does this speak to the issues he is raising in this piece (i.e., it is one thing to say that because of his role in the election he is no longer the right messenger but this does not speak to his message at all)?

Unfortunately, i think you undermine your own credibility by not at the same time speaking to the issues/points Nader raises rather than focusing solely on Nader the man and his role in the 2000 election.
 
 
+30 # boadacia 2012-12-02 13:44
If we stopped buying what we don't need, we would shift to a different kind of world. Capitalism has to change a lot if the human race is going to continue. That's the real message of "story of stuff." Business as usual isn't going to work for much longer. We need to come up with a more sustainable way of living.
 
 
+45 # Adoregon 2012-12-02 13:50
Consume what you need... why, what a novel idea. Quaint,like the Geneva Conventions during W's 911 junta.

The signs of over-consumptio n protrude for all to see:
-- bodies so stuffed with faux food that their inhabitants are risibly rotund or simply morbidly obese.
-- homes so stuffed with accumulations of mindless,unneed ed crap(that never should have been manufactured in the first place) that the dwelling's inhabitants rent storage space so they themselves won't be displaced.
-- minds so stuffed with trivial and shallow nonsense and desires (should non-heterosexua ls be allowed to marry? should powerful men be censured for their inability to resist "hooking-up" with vaginas they are not married to? when is the next i-phone available? who is going to win the football game on Sunday?

We are witness to a society so deranged that it is largely unaware it is self-aborting as it converts ever more of earth's matter (which can neither be created nor destroyed) into people and their artifacts.

We casually consume the earth and drive other more sustainable life forms to extinction.

As a species we are far too care-less to survive in our current incarnation.

Good luck, you funny bunch of monkeys overflowing with hubris.

Peace out.
 
 
+33 # PABLO DIABLO 2012-12-02 14:22
DAR1292. Get real. When Florida was recounted (as mandated by law) Gore beat Bush by at least 65,000 votes. The Supreme Court gave Bush the presidency. Stop blaming Nader, who has given plenty (consumer protection) to make your life better.
Keep it up Mr.Nader. I appreciate ALL you have done.
 
 
-8 # dar1292 2012-12-02 17:29
The final total for Florida in 2000 was:
Bush: 2,912,790, Gore: 2,912,253, Nader, 97,488.
Without Nader on the ballot there would not have been Bush. I'm not blaming Nader to make my life better I'm showing how Nader made our lives worse and that the left can be as blind as the right.
 
 
+5 # dkonstruction 2012-12-03 12:44
Quoting dar1292:
The final total for Florida in 2000 was:
Bush: 2,912,790, Gore: 2,912,253, Nader, 97,488.
Without Nader on the ballot there would not have been Bush. I'm not blaming Nader to make my life better I'm showing how Nader made our lives worse and that the left can be as blind as the right.


All those that have looked at Florida and a full statewide recount have said that Gore won. This does not even speak to the perhaps 20,000 (some say up to 40,000) voters purged (mostly African Americans) from the roles, the vast majority of whom were most likely democratic voters. It also doesn't speak to the many elderly Jewish voters who mistakenly cast their votes for Pat Buchanan (who, himself said that the vast majority of these were probably votes intended for Al Gore) due to the confusing ballot. It also doesn't speak to Joe Lieberman's declaration (before the recount even began if i'm remembering the timing on this one right) that absentee military votes should be counted even if they were neither dated nor signed (something even the Bush administration initially opposed).

For the record, i voted for Nader in 2000 since i was in NY and i thought it was a serious mistake for him to run in key swing states (and an even bigger mistake/betraya l not to have immediately gone down to florida after the election to scream bloody murder at how the election was stolen and how this was accomplished by throwing mostly African American voters off the roles).
 
 
+16 # Vardoz 2012-12-02 14:34
It was frightening to see the mobs at the stores stocking up on worthless junk from China. This is the menality we have to overcome if we are to effect any changes. Our lust for crap and our unwillingness to protest, march, strike, boycott and even call reps and Obama is the real problem. They depend on our apathy and low numbers.And with the TPP threatening our soverignty we better wake the hell up.
 
 
+1 # abdullahiedward 2012-12-03 03:37
Well said Vardoz!! Your second sentence really hits the nail on it's head!
 
 
+22 # Helen 2012-12-02 14:40
Once again, Nader is absolutely right. The older I get, the more I realize that the very best gift anyone can give is the time the giver spends talking with and listening to another person.
 
 
+24 # rgperman 2012-12-02 14:41
In my mind Ralph Nader had always been a true American patriot and hero. This essay is yet another in a lifetime of writing and commentary that is absolutely on target.
"Build a cheaper mouse trap
and most Americans won't notice
that it doesn't work"
America, please wake up!
 
 
+15 # hsfrey 2012-12-02 15:47
Unfortunately, the American economy now depends on consumer retail buying.

Most Americans are no longer employed to MAKE things or GROW things.

Most are employed in Selling things that machines or other countries make or grow.

So, it is true that our economy has degraded to the point that that we do have to Buy things in order to keep our neighbors employed.
 
 
+3 # abdullahiedward 2012-12-03 03:38
America has to stop practicing Capitalist based Consumerism and start practicing Consumer based Capitalism!
 
 
+1 # boadacia 2012-12-03 11:05
Quoting hsfrey:
Unfortunately, the American economy now depends on consumer retail buying.

Most Americans are no longer employed to MAKE things or GROW things.

Most are employed in Selling things that machines or other countries make or grow.

So, it is true that our economy has degraded to the point that that we do have to Buy things in order to keep our neighbors employed.


As Winona La Duke pointed out a few years ago, "We don't need a bigger piece of the pie. We need a new pie."
 
 
+1 # dovelane1 2012-12-04 05:13
HS - There are also large numbers of people employed in "service" industries, most of which are not well paying jobs.

Much of the reason for that is that service jobs employ lots of women, and the pay inequity is still a factor.

I have long thought that people should buy mostly what they need, as compared to what they want. Part of the trouble begins when people call something a need that is, in reality, a want.

For instance, the smoker who says "I need a cigarette," or the drinker who says I need a drink." Both are extreme wants, so extreme people have learned to call them needs.

Also, through the process of socialization, people have come to believe they are entitled to everything they want. In so doing, they don't think about what they will have to give up in order to get what they want.

By giving in to the media socialization, and peer group pressures, what we are giving up are such things as clean air, clean water, healthy food and a healthy, sustainable economy.

Because most of the people in media and their peer group are doing the same thing, my guess is it comes down to a fear of being different, or rocking the boat. Being seen a "different" has such a negative connotation to those who feed off the status quo.
 
 
+17 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-12-02 16:09
Yep, Ralph Nader. Correct you are, per usual. Buy, buy, buy! Same m.o. as war, war, war. All for $$$ into the coffers of the greed and power addicted 1%ers.

Lots we the sheeple, across the globe, have to do to...

UNDO THE COUP !
 
 
+11 # Kathymoi 2012-12-02 16:14
They can't even wait for Christmas holidays. They have hijacked Thanksgiving weekend. The news for weeks before Thanksgiving is all about the deals on "black friday," a term invented by those companies to get shoppers into the stores shopping for Christmas in November.
 
 
+13 # Doll 2012-12-02 16:47
It isn't just the crap from China. It is the excessive packaging too.

So much of my trash is in the packaging of products. So much waste. It's not just the plastic bags we take it home in.

And, folks, don't forget about Freecycle, where you can go on line and give your uneeded stuff away.
 
 
+6 # cordleycoit 2012-12-02 16:52
I just wish Nader had seen earlier that a complete economic revolution is the only answer to spectacle that the corporations stir up for our annual festival of greed.
 
 
+14 # Vardoz 2012-12-02 16:55
And the sad thing is, is that all our stuff is made in China and not here. Companies will take advantage if we let them. But it was the desperation in the mad shoppers that made the biggist impression. As our Earth is nose diving in climate change and the top are extracting more and more wealth too many focus on consumption rather then constructive action. I don't expect companies to give a damn about a family holiday, All they care about is selling as much of their stuff as they can. But in an ever impoverished society, buying power will also be diminished. We had a great Thanksgiving and did not buy abything except food.Black Friday was not on the menu.
 
 
+10 # ereader 2012-12-02 17:14
Thank you, Mr. Nader, for focusing on these issues, and nailing them: the simultaneous hijacking of what is supposed to be a religious celebration by corporations; the unending depletion of the earth's resources; and the hollowing out of our cities and towns.

While I encourage folks to shop locally if they feel they must buy 'stuff' for gifts, I also strongly encourage alternative gifts, such as donations to charities in honor of family and friends. Some excellent examples of truly meaningful gifts can be found through Global Giving, Kiva, and the International Rescue Committee. Just think how much a gift of a year of school fees means vs some plastic toy (for an adult or a child) made overseas that brings momentary excitement. We all need to be thoughtful about what we are supporting when we spend our dollars. We do have choices.
 
 
-3 # Smokey 2012-12-02 20:52
Ralph Nader skips around to offer lots of points. I'm sympathetic to some of arguments and bewildered by others. So I'll offer a few holiday comments.

1) Accusations that "Christmas is grown wicked" have been around since the days of the Puritans. "Keep Christ in Christmas" was a popular slogan during the 1950s. What's new, Ralph?

2) Hey, guess what... The Wal-Mart in my town pays lousy wages and offers few employee benefits. However, it was the same story with the local shops that Wal-Mart replaced. Old man Scrooge was a local boy. The old economy had plenty of sweatshops and cheats.

3) Big chains like Sears and the supermarket chains may be union. (Any objections to Sears or Kroegers?) The little shops on Main Street have seldom been unionized.

4) What amazes me is the "bohemian gentry" - call 'em yuppies - with their huge homes, their expensive wardrobes, their electronic toys, and their fancy foods, who like to lecture
Joe and Jane Doe about "how to live the better life." Huh?

Guys like Al Gore live like royalty, while telling the world to "use less energy" in order to save the polar bears.
 
 
0 # dovelane1 2012-12-04 05:44
Smokey - There seems to be a bit of a bias to your comments. There are hypocrites you missed. For instance...

1. I think it's the zealot "Christians" who have grown wicked. I would also include any zealot connected to any religion.

2. My guess is when you know the people you do business with, there are a lot fewer "Scrooges" than there are good connections between people. The problem with most chain stores is they are so anonymous. (Even though they try to pretend they are not.)

3. Again, knowing who you do business with is key. (Think "It's A Wonderful Life.". Back in the days, there were fewer people, and people got by on less. You don't miss what you never had, and people then didn't have as much as we do now. Some businesses needed unions, but many did not.

4. "The better Life" - as I mentioned in an earlier post, we, the people, have been socialized by the media to define what a "better life" means or includes. We also live in a peer group that has been socialized to think the same. In all cases like this, the hard part for people is being seen as being "different," as being a boat-rocker. It's much easier in the short run for people to just go along with the status quo.

5. Al Gore - my guess is you are living in the biggest home you could afford. If you could afford more, you'd probably buy more. BTW, have you ever seen Gore's house?
 
 
+8 # Barebonesart 2012-12-02 22:15
Support your local artists. Buy art. Give the gift of art. Enrich several lives in the meantime.
 
 
-1 # Smokey 2012-12-02 22:40
Sustainable economy? I'm not sure what the term means. "Sustainable" for who and for what? Who pays the price and who benefits?

Most Occupy people want economic JUSTICE. For many poor people - including folks in developing nations - "sustainability " may be nice but it's inadequate by itself. Because it's possible to have a racist, patriarchal, violent culture, built on oppression, that can be "sustained" for hundreds of years. Ancient history provides plenty of examples.

The big conservation groups often talk about "sustainability ." However, very seldom do they talk about the need for womens rights, racial justice, labor unions, reducing poverty and homelessness , etc.

Supposedly, when we get to "sustainability ," all sorts of benefits will, automatically, "trickle down" to the poor folks and the various groups that are now oppressed.

Reminds me of Mitt Romney and his "trickle down" approach to economics.
At the end of the day, there's no easy path to social and economic justice. If
you want justice, work for justice.
Don't trust any of the elitist groups.
 
 
+5 # seeuingoa 2012-12-03 02:21
You can´t fix stupid (dar1292).

"Without Nader on the ballot there would not have been Bush."

And without Gore on the ballot there would not have been a Bush either!

Thank you Ralph Nader for still using
your energy on the average stupid Americans.
 
 
+1 # abdullahiedward 2012-12-03 03:51
I read somewhere where 60,000 American companies are registered in China. I also read somewhere that 60,000 manufacturing companies have closed shop in the USA. Has anybody else heard this? Can you help me find the sources?
 
 
0 # Theophilus 2012-12-03 07:28
Dar1292 didn't earn "stupid". He has a legitimate point, part of Nader's logic in running was that the Democratic Party was too close to the Republican Party in policy. Some progressives wrote and begged him to drop out as it was clear which side would lose the most votes. He (Nader)may have been correct, but the marginal difference gave us:
1) Roberts,Alito and Citizens United;
2) An FCC that is complicit in the destruction of net neutrality;
3) Disregard of non-ideologues in the intellegence community and 9/11
4) A War in Iraq that costs trillions and killed millions of Iraqis
5) A Shia leaning government in Iraq and a stronger Iran
6) A Justice Department that purged career prosecutors with progressive leanings and replaced them with reactionary activists
7)A tax plan that sparked a concentration of wealth not seen since just before the great depression
8)An Energy Policy Written by ENRON that transferred billions from consumers to energy companies
9)Appointment of regulators that ignored the derivatives market setting the stage for the near collapse of the money market
10) A $urplu$ converted into a $tructural deficit that put the social safety net at risk.
It IS plausible that Nader's running cost Gore enough votes in FL to make election theft possible i.e. a Bush victory. Nader had the right to run and to be unapologetic. But, people who criticize him a right to criticize him. I have no dog in this fight but hate self immolation on the left.
 
 
+1 # Ken Halt 2012-12-03 22:54
If you think Nader cost Gore the election you are the victim of MSM (right wing) propaganda. Do a bit of research and you will find that the fix was in with GW's brother as gov of FL, and Katherine Harris, GW's campaign manager for FL, as Secretary of State. Check out Palast's "Best Gov't That Money Can Buy". It's convenient for the right wing to blame the loss on Nader, a true champion of the common man, rather than their corrupt practices, dirty tricks, and general contempt for democracy.
 
 
0 # dovelane1 2012-12-04 06:00
Theo - You are correct in a sense. However, none of the things you mention happened in a vacuum. It was a combination of mistakes on the Gore and Nader side, PLUS it was the ethos of the Bush/Cheney ticket, and the right wing groups (like ALEC?), whose mantra was "The end justifies the means."

That was the same mantra of the Romney / Ryan ticket. Why didn't they get elected this time around?

With an ethical Republican Party, little, if any of the blame would be going to Nader. With an ethical supreme court, we would not be having this conversation.

A lot of things had to happen to get the outcome we got. Let us hope we've learned something in the intervening years, and this never happens again. That being said, we still have a lot of work to do.
 
 
0 # Smokey 2012-12-03 11:54
Back in the year 2000, Ralph Nader convinced a lot of folks - including myself - that his goal was to build the Green Party.

The reasoning was simple: Focus the Nader campaign effort in states where the Presidential election was "already
decided." Try to get 3% or more of the vote, in order to get the Greens on future ballots and to keep building a base. Example: Since it was obvious that Gore was going to win Vermont's electoral votes, ask Vermont voters to vote for Nader in order to build the Green Party in Vermont.

Well, it didn't happen. Ralph wanted to boost Ralph and he didn't care what happened to the Greens. He developed his own strategy and he made a mess out of all sorts of things... Result? America got George Bush in the White House and the Green Party became an odd footnote in history.

As far as Gore is concerned... Prince Albert was out of touch with the Democratic grassroots. If he had accepted Bill Clinton's support, Albert would have probably won Tennesse, maybe Arkansas, and all of the areas that Obama won in the year 2012.

Occupy folks can learn a lot by studying the Green Party. And pay attention, also, to the work of Al Gore and Ralph Nader. They both had their great insights... Both of them failed as political leaders. So it's time for something new and better.
 
 
+1 # dovelane1 2012-12-04 06:03
Smokey - At least they learned. I don't know if that can be said for most of the conservatives.

In order to feel better about themselves, most of the conservatives have to believe they are always correct, which is probably why they are wrong so much of the time.
 
 
0 # fredboy 2012-12-03 19:39
Wantrealdemocra cy, I have a history of never, ever being afraid to say anything I believe. Push your fear accusations at others.
 
 
+1 # abdullahiedward 2012-12-04 16:57
@dovelane1, you said "I have long thought that people should buy mostly what they need, as compared to what they want. Part of the trouble begins when people call something a need that is, in reality, a want." It's close to what I had commented earlier - America needs to practice Consumer based Capitalism rather than Capitalist based Consumerism. I say this in recognition that the science of Marketing is the fuel that presently drives the American economy, creating images and as you say "wants" in order to sell their products. This rather than producing goods and services that people actually "need". At some time in the past 30 or 40 years this concept of emphasizing marketing rather than need has created an "artificial market" that like anything artificial, cannot sustain itself as Mr. Nader is trying to point out in his article. By the way, do you remember the Chevrolet "Corvair" that Mr. Nader forced off the American highways because it was "Unsafe at any speed" even though GM knew it before they put it out there and marketed it successfully as the US rear engine answer to the famous German Volkswagen Beetle!
 

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