Friday, September 14, 2007

The Capitalist Forces That Be

I'm afraid to say that Shop Til You Drop has gone from a fashion fantasy to a tragic necessity. Buying pants from the Astroboy store was fun, but requiring a work wardrobe asap, and all the household niceties has been a real pain in the arse. Also it's sad but true that most excursions Heza and i go on involve shopping destinations. Ok, you get some cultural exposure in the bizarro behemoth markets (6+ massive stories of haggling vendors/expensivorama name brands), but it's just capitalism in a raw and concentrated form. I can dig it, but i still get a dirty feeling from it all. Kinda like too much tv.

99% of everything is Made In China, so the western world guilt of supporting and enabling the system which underpays and overworks workers/kids etc, has been strangely alleviated. Now i can call it Supporting the Mother Land. Go China! Make shit cheaper than anyone else! We DARE you to make it cheaper! You can't! Hahahaha!

Also, pretty much everything is overpackaged, and clearly you must be partly insane to say, "No bag, thanks". In the field of enviro-consciousness, Canada is miles ahead of China. Which is a bit odd considering how the impacts of enviro degradation are pretty clear (or should i say, "hazy"), considering the air quality around here. Granted, it's not at all as bad as i'd been forewarned: most days seem pretty decent for now. But there are definitely times when you can't make anything out that's more than a few km away. For now i'm just gonna call that humidity.

Maybe people don't make the link between Consumerism and Industrialization. Or maybe people don't get it that we all contribute to enviro probs through daily choices. Or maybe the magnitude of the population makes Personal Responsibility seem like... Well, "a drop in the bucket" seems like far too generous of a metaphor, if you catch my drift Heza shakes her head at me when i do go to unnecessary lengths to recycle a bottle or something around here, and even i can appreciate that my efforts are realistically (?) inconsequential. But i can't help it. Around here I don't actually feel like i'm accomplishing anything except protecting my personal karma.

i also bet that a whole shitload of people get the links between consumerism, industrialization, and environmental degradation, but why bother thinking about it when it's obvious that the cheap labour and toxic factories have created a China which is more stable and prosperous than anything ever experienced? Also, i suspect a few of you readers may be aware of how the capitalist machine tends to self-propell. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

1 comment:

Molly said...

How odd. I was just reading an article on the bottled water trend and how most of the water bottles are not getting recycled. There was a picture of a Chinese man on a bike with thousands of bottles strapped on the back. Perhaps you have seen this.

I too go to great lengths to recycle everything I can. I will even bring garbage home with me in order to recycle...I know noone who recycles here and they all think I am crazy for saving cans. I always try to buy things that are packaged in large quatities, but have a hard time even finding more than three flavours of yogurt in big containers. If you want peach, you have to buy the little ones. Oklahoma is the least environmentally friendly place I have ever lived. Even in Korea, take out is delivered on plastic and metal plates and bowls. The delivery man returns for them when you are done.

National Geographic Traveller magazine has a very interesting article on travelling and eco-footprints. It may be on their website. It's a great mag.