What items do you use regularly that you couldn’t bear to share? The collaborative economy values access over ownership. FULL STORY: http://bit.ly/ViUA0B
To combat gang violence, one man wondered: What if we invest in people rather than just trying to incarcerate our way out of the problem?
Illustration by Jessica De Jesus
America has a problem admitting it has a gun problem. America has a problem admitting it has any problems. Unless it’s the religious right pretending to have a problem, of course. Gay marriage, for example, is not a problem. They just don’t like it. Well, gee whiz. Go cry about it as you watch state after state make it legal. No problem there.
Guns, poverty, racial inequality: Those are problems.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we find ourselves in a peculiar situation: although hardly anyone would deny the deep ecological crisis facing humankind, we seem to be caught in a net of assumptions that impede a practical solution. Having acknowledged that we need to reduce consumption of energy and materials drastically,1,2 we still often think that adjustments within the current system of production and consumption will accomplish this formidable task.
At the same time, it is widely recognized that the results of the dominant approaches to solving the ecological crisis are far from satisfying. Thus, a growing community of scientists and social activists, sharing the basic insight that a reduction of energy and material use implies a reduction of gross domestic product (GDP), is gathering under the heading of sustainable degrowth.3Degrowth obviously entails a fundamental transformation of economic structures. But what precisely are the necessary steps?”
— Andreas Exner and Chrisian Lauk, “Social Innovations for Economic Degrowth.”
From Russell Jacoby’s review of David Gelertner’s new book, America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats). The whole review is worth a read.
While McDonald’s will remain king of the chips at the London 2012 Olympic Games, BP has charged itself with delivering the culinary “spirit of the Gulf”. The Louisiana Office of Tourism announced this week that the oil company would be hosting a series of events for Team USA that will pair three Gulf coast bands with chefs from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida preparing “the world’s freshest and best-tasting seafood”.
No doubt Team USA will enjoy the New Orleans jazz and Cajun food on offer, but it’s more than a little troubling that, after the 2010 Gulf oil spill, BP has co-opted the phrase “spirit of the Gulf” as a promotional device to position itself as the gatekeeper to the region’s culture and cuisine.
It doesn’t quite feel right. But I have a hard time getting too furious with anything that helps the people devastated by that oil spill. And we know that BP is only doing this because - as with their Gulf Coast promoting commercials, their legal settlements require them too.
Earlier this week, one Reddit user asked other forum participants if having a daughter changed their attitudes toward women, and most male respondents with daughters replied that yes, having girls made them see ladytypes differently. Like actual humans! Humans just like men! Imagine that! One father remarked that he no longer lusts after barely legal women, because they look like girls to him. Another said that he doesn’t think it’s funny to watch strippers almost get hit by cars as they try to cross the highway on their way to work anymore. Women are people! Wrote one user,
I’ve never thought of myself as mysogynist, and still don’t think I was, but there were a few issues I had to realize and get over. Namely; dating, sex and drugs. I was worried about when my daughter would eventually start dating, and how to keep her safe, and then I suddenly realized;
My daughter is a human being. Soon (sooner than I’d like), she’s going to be a human teenager. And that means she’ll be experimenting with things outside of her every day experience. Probably she’ll try drinking, probably she’ll try drugs, maybe she’ll try smoking. And she’ll almost definitely have sex before I think she’ll be ready. And yet, these are normal things, things almost everybody goes through. If I had a son, would these things bother me? I thought not, and I told myself that was bullshit. If it’s OK for a son to do it, it’s OK for my daughter.
Reddit users’ testimony is consistant with findings of a study conducted earlier this year, one that found that once men have daughters, they’re not so keen on limiting all women’s choices with rigid gender roles anymore. Progress?
This, this, 100 times this.
If Scott Walker survives tomorrow’s election, there will be plenty of reasons. Many people will point to his huge cash advantage, for good reason. But no factor will have been more important than the decades of decline in U.S. union membership.
“Unions had their place,” a woman named Jerri told me soon after I arrived in Wisconsin last week. “They did their part back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and then they got too big, and are abusing their power.” Jerri and her husband, Tim (both declined to give last names), were eating at a bar in Wauwatosa, the purple Milwaukee suburb that’s home to Scott Walker. They both work in sales: She’s in retail at the mall; he’s in wholesale, selling caskets. Tim said Walker’s union “reforms” were necessary because local politicians had been “looking out for the union” instead of “people like me.” He said unions are for people who don’t “feel they should have to work very hard.” Jerri complained that unions “are sucking off my teat.” Public workers’ benefits, she said, “should be the same as anybody in any kind of private job.”
I absolutely cannot understand the people holding thoughts like this - if they are not millionaires. They are against other citizens like themselves joining together in order to have some leverage when negotiating their wages and benefits with their employers. If they are not part of a union, they disparage those who are instead of trying to figure out how to join or create one for their industry.
Yet these same individuals think that a single CEO taking multi-millions in compensation for a single year is no big deal - and they probably have no problem with a ball player, who is a member of a union of sorts, taking a million dollar salary.
Only the guys and gals they think of as equals or slightly beneath them should have no right to a decent wage and a less stressful life that comes with a living wage and health benefits.
I can’t tell you how much this depresses me.
“a picture of how profoundly we are failing to have any kind of decent respect for our world: how our romance with nature has become sick and twisted.”
So said Jonathan Jones this week in a piece entitled ‘Behold Mt Everest, reduced to adventure tourism’, which was a reaction to seeing this photograph of long queues on Everest last week (which undeniably contributed to four deaths in one weekend).
The piece isn’t very long and is worth reading in full, but the bit I’d like to highlight is as follows:
“The picture of Everest’s numerous ascendants reveals not only the excess of commercialised adventure tourism but the mind-warping impact of technology: why on earth do we believe there should be “progress” in ascending Everest? That this of all things should become easier and more accessible?
We believe it because we believe everything is becoming easier, faster, and more democratic. Technological advances, better clothes, better oxygen supplies, make what once took years of planning and a nationally sponsored expedition possible for anyone with the cash – we assume. Nature, from being a terror, has become a tame toy in the modern imagination.
Which is, of course, an illusion. Everest is not tame. The idea that it is controllable has been exposed once again as a spurious fantasy. Modern communications do not save you when you are too high for helicopters. The crowds queue past the dead and dying. This sad surreal image is not just about Everest but captures the delusions that hasten the world towards environmental catastrophe.”