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Author Topic: The Greens, NDP and the endless Growth issue
Sean in Ottawa
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posted 05 March 2008 07:03 AM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The growth issue is significant because the NDP generally looks to grow the economy in order to provide for the have-nots in our society (The Liberals rely on this strategy even more so).

If you accept that this growth is environmentally unsustainable then you have to admit that those who have too much must give up some of that for those who have too little. For years, both the NDP and, to a much greater extent, the Liberals have peddled the idea that we can all get more -- and if a greater share of this growth goes to people who have less they can catch up. But if you take growth out of the equation this increase in the fortunes of the less well off- must come directly from the better off. Those in the NDP who want to make the Greens entirely irrelevant must address this issue head on. And there will be a cost. Those who are better off but feel guilty about it, support the idea of new growth supporting the less fortunate but now we will have to tell them they will have to give up some of their own fortune. Some of those people may prefer to control their guilty feelings rather than give up what they have.

Presently, the Greens essentially are saying that the environment trumps everthing and they are fuzzy about how to address social inequality. It would appear that they are saying that we cannot environmentally afford social equality. They do not come out directly and say those who have too much need to give to those who have less.

The NDP, favours greater social equality but does not directly come to that conclusion either, by avoiding the sustainability of growth issue (even with otherwise good envirnmental policies to their credit). So essentially the NDP is saying that social equality will trump the environment and we will support the environment only in so far as we can afford to.

For those who want to see a meeting place for the two parties-- it will come from a policy that says it is unsustainable and undesireable to keep growing environmentally AND it is unsustainable and undesireable to mainatin the social inequalities we presently have in our society. Niether party has adopted this policy directly although the NDP more than the Greens seems to be moving towards such a compromise.

The problem is that while the NDP may be closer to the compromise joint position, the Greens remain truer to the realization that no more total global economic growth is possible on a full planet. Their position is that the situation the planet is in is an emergency and there is no other top priority.

Progress must come from equitable distribution alone. While neither party will admit it they are facing the voters with a choice between action on the environment with sympathy and concern for social inequality and action on social inequality with sympathy and concern for the environment. This does not mean that either party is entirely silent on the other issue, it is just that niether link the two into a single coherent policy that says social inequality on a full planet has to come from the rich giving up a considerable amount of their present wealth and power.

While it would not be without risks, this is the only possible common ground that includes an intellectually honest view of both the environment and our social responsibility. As well things will only change when we recognize that on a full planet some people actually have too much. I personally believe that while some people would be turned off by this, it is not only the right thing to do but others will accept and support it-- probably more than currently support both parties. Without this allignment, I would consider talks between the two parties a complete waste of time.

In the meantime, I would consider it beneficial for both parties to take seats in parliament so that even if they do not agree they can each pull policies towards this reality on a vote by vote basis. For my part, I choose to remain a New Democrat hoping that we can improve our positions on where the extra fortune for the less well off must come from. While the NDP is not there yet, I feel that our recent policy statements are getting better. I also admit that I believe the NDP is doing a better job of recognizign the growth sustainability issue, along with many practical environmental policies that are actually superior to the Greens whereas the Greens remain silent on how they will achieve any greater social equality leading us to believe this will be forgotten on the way to a better planet.

I am aware of one person who is addressing the issue of social inequality and the environment together as essentail pieces to the same puzzle-- that is Mike Nickerson in his book Life, Money and Illusion. I recomend the book highly for this reason. You can reach Mike by email (and can order a copy from him if you like- or just discuss the issue) here: sustain5@web.ca

Please do not spoil this thread with pro and anti-Green/NDP posts that do not address the growth issue-- we have heard those before and that is not the point I am trying to raise here. Can we try to keep posts here on to this important topic-- how do you achieve social inequality on a full planet?

[ 05 March 2008: Message edited by: Sean in Ottawa ]


From: Ottawa | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 05 March 2008 07:18 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sean in Ottawa:
Please do not spoil this thread with pro and anti-Green/NDP posts that do not address the growth issue-- we have heard those before and that is not the point I am trying to raise here. Can we try to keep posts here on to this important topic-- how do you achieve social inequality on a full planet?

If you don't want people to compare the NDP to the Green Party in this thread, and you only want to discussion how to achieve social inequality on a full planet, then you probably shouldn't have named the thread "The Greens, NDP..." and spent much of the first post comparing the Green and NDP platforms. People from both parties are obviously going to take issue with your interpretations and I don't think it's off topic for them to do so, the way you've set this up.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sean in Ottawa
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posted 05 March 2008 07:25 AM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Clearly you missed the rest of the sentance "That do not addres the growth issue" I am looking for a comparaison between the two parties on this issue -- NOT a long line of posts burying that important discussion in screaming that the Greens will get no support aren't worthy to exist etc. That can happen elsewhere. My distinction is not subtle- no idea why you did not get it.
From: Ottawa | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 05 March 2008 07:28 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh, okay! I guess I didn't get it because I'm human and make mistakes sometimes. Or maybe I'm just really stupid or something. But thanks for clarifying!
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sean in Ottawa
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posted 05 March 2008 07:41 AM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey Michelle, If I thought you were stupid, I would not have said no idea why you did not get it. Clearly, you are not - glad you see the point.

I'd really love to see this issue addressed because every time it comes up it gets derailed in the venomous posts that include the overuse of words like "so-called"

I don't think the Greens or the NDP for that matter are that weak on the environment. The issue is more if they can clarify where social equality comes in.

Here is an example: women are paid 70% or so what men earn. The Greens who don't want growth may say well that's just too bad but we can't fix it because that means growth. The NDP would have the women paid more. Who is saying the men might need to be paid less to achieve this balance? Can we get all of this difference from the stinkin' rich?

Economic disparity-- if we want to consider the plight of First Nations communities-- do we not have to (on a Green Democrat policy basis) accept that our other commuities should do with a little less luxury? What do we give up to get public transit -- I'm for raising the cost on people who drive (myself included) because I know this has to come from somewhere. We are no longer talking about money that we can create more of but the environmental ca[pacity to handle growth- this brings a whole new meaning to the question how are you going to pay for this? Unlike some Green supporters, I am not willing to accept that social equality is unaffordable. Unlike some NDPers I am not willing to accept that increased grwoth at environmental cost can cover the big amount of social equality we have to make up.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
KenS
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posted 05 March 2008 08:58 AM      Profile for KenS     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I am aware of one person who is addressing the issue of social inequality and the environment together as essentail pieces to the same puzzle

I think there is a problem in you speaking in such generalities Sean.

In my view, BOTH the NDP and GP can make legitimate claims that they are "addressing the issue of social inequality and the environment together as essentail pieces to the same puzzle."

As you seemed to be saying- the differences can be seen as different emphase. If you didn't say that, it's my opinion: no really categorical difference.

So now what?

To my mind it's comparable to the Cinton-Obama thing: there aren't enough policy differences between them to get really partisan over that in its own right. But along other lines- many of them essentially organizational or 'nature of being a party'- many Dems see a difference over which it's worth fighting tooth and nail.


From: Minasville, NS | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sean in Ottawa
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posted 05 March 2008 09:02 AM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It is not a generality that the NDP does not have any official recognition that there is a limit to growth- we are still speaking in terms of growing the economy etc. This is a major distinction and one that separates the parties.
From: Ottawa | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
KenS
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posted 05 March 2008 09:17 AM      Profile for KenS     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It is not a generality that the NDP does not have any official recognition that there is a limit to growth- we are still speaking in terms of growing the economy etc.

the second part is not entirely true. but the first part is, and you are right- that is a difference.

It's also one where there are still differences within the NDP- and it is by no means just the role of the unions. [Think rural membership, across the country.]

What we have within the NDP is a willingness on everyone's part to accept policies that in fact are not consistent with growth without definite limits... but many are not ready to salute that flag if it is run up the pole.

As long as people either do not, or cannot succeesfully, stand in the way of building a platform of sustainable policies, I personally can live with not forcing the issue of saluting the flag. And a few years to several years back we reached that point.

So we now can put together sustainable policies without having to appease anyone [which the NDP is prone to do over all sorts of babbler sacred cows, and used to have to do with people inresource industries and regions]. And we have a Leader and Caucus who support the policies.

What we don't have is a political will to do the long hard eductaional work of giving the policies real legs. But the Greens don't have squat on that either, and aren't going to for at least the forseeable future.

[Note on the last point. I'm respecting Sean's desire to talk in an adult fashion about the party's policies. But it isn't all about the boiler plate on the door.]


From: Minasville, NS | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 05 March 2008 10:59 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It is not possible to be really against growth without being really against capitalism, since growth is in the DNA of capitalism. Capitalist economies can no more stop growing than sharks can stop swimming.

I know the NDP is not against capitalism. But I'd be really surprised to find out that the Greens are, and really interested to know what they think captalism can be replaced with, if not socialism.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
huberman
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posted 05 March 2008 11:23 AM      Profile for huberman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I know the NDP is not against capitalism. But I'd be really surprised to find out that the Greens are, and really interested to know what they think captalism can be replaced with, if not socialism.


Co-operativism. Same thing the CCF was advocating.


From: NAFTA | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged
munroe
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posted 05 March 2008 11:38 AM      Profile for munroe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Co-operativism"? You mean putting the means of production into the hands of those who actually produce the wealth and distributing the wealth on the basis of needs, not means? A guy named Karl thought of that a long time ago. Now if the greens were marxists, I might be interested....
From: Port Moody, B.C. | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 05 March 2008 12:08 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Co-operativism is never spoken of by the NDP or the Green Party. In fact, nobody today seriously advocates co-operativism as any kind of alternative to capitalism.

Therefore all that follows below is thread drift.

Co-operativism, to the CCF, was not a challenge to the capitalist system, but a way of accommodating its characteristic features of private ownership of the means of production, private profit, and commodity production. It was not a "no-growth" economic form. It was a form of utopianism - a way of creating enclaves within the capitalist system without challenging the legitimacy of the system itself.

Rosa Luxemburg's analysis was quite apt:

quote:
Co-operatives–especially co-operatives in the field of production - constitute a hybrid form in the midst of capitalism. They can be described as small units of socialised production within capitalist exchange.

But in capitalist economy exchanges dominate production. As a result of competition, the complete domination of the process of production by the interests of capital – that is, pitiless exploitation – becomes a condition for the survival of each enterprise. The domination of capital over the process of production expresses itself in the following ways. Labour is intensified. The work day is lengthened or shortened, according to the situation of the market. And, depending on the requirements of the market, labour is either employed or thrown back into the street. In other words, use is made of all methods that enable an enterprise to stand up against its competitors in the market. The workers forming a co-operative in the field of production are thus faced with the contradictory necessity of governing themselves with the utmost absolutism. They are obliged to take toward themselves the role of capitalist entrepreneur – a contradiction that accounts for the usual failure of production co-operatives which either become pure capitalist enterprises or, if the workers’ interests continue to predominate, end by dissolving.



From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
RosaL
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posted 05 March 2008 01:10 PM      Profile for RosaL     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And now for a brief, and decidedly non-commercial, message: This is Rosa Luxemburg's birthday (March 5th, 1871).

We return now to our regular programming ....

[ 05 March 2008: Message edited by: RosaL ]


From: the underclass | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged
ocsi
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posted 05 March 2008 02:25 PM      Profile for ocsi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sean in Ottawa wrote:

quote:
Progress must come from equitable distribution alone. While neither party will admit it they are facing the voters with a choice between action on the environment with sympathy and concern for social inequality and action on social inequality with sympathy and concern for the environment. This does not mean that either party is entirely silent on the other issue, it is just that niether link the two into a single coherent policy that says social inequality on a full planet has to come from the rich giving up a considerable amount of their present wealth and power.

Although I fully agree with your sentiments, Sean, there is no historical evidence that shows the rich giving up their wealth or power. It must be taken! While the CCF hinted at that, the NDP and the Green Party will not, can not, entertain such ideas.

So what do we do? I continue to support the NDP for lack of anything more viable.


From: somewhere over the rainbow | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
Sean in Ottawa
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posted 05 March 2008 02:43 PM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ocsi:

So what do we do? I continue to support the NDP for lack of anything more viable.[/QB]


This is pretty much where I am. Although I also agree with those who say that Layton has done a lot to advance green issues. I would like to see us go further than we have as you can see here and I would like the connection made to social inequality which I do not find the Greens dealing with adequately.

I do support the idea of a carbon tax that taxes non-renewable resources- while the Greens are out there first on this, there is no reason the NDP cannot adopt this position- the tax would replace the GST and not apply to services encouraging work that does not degrade the environment.

I also believe we should be able to tax environmentally unfair products include many of those that are produced off-shore at horrible cost to the environment- if people here can do the same product for a bit more money but not degrade the environment- let the tax make that difference.

Most of all I would like to see the kind of discussion that addresses how we can best combine environmental sustainability with measures to address present inequalities.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 05 March 2008 02:57 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sean in Ottawa:
Can we try to keep posts here on to this important topic-- how do you achieve social inequality on a full planet?
I think we've already achieved that! Or did you mean "equality"?

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
ocsi
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posted 05 March 2008 03:01 PM      Profile for ocsi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sean in Ottawa wrote:

quote:
Most of all I would like to see the kind of discussion that addresses how we can best combine environmental sustainability with measures to address present inequalities.

I think that would have to be a global discussion since both are global issues and interrelated. Unfortunately, I'm not particularly hopeful. Rich and powerful nations, like rich and powerful individuals, don't just give up their power and wealth.


From: somewhere over the rainbow | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
Sean in Ottawa
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posted 05 March 2008 08:58 PM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Unfortunately I agree with you-- But Canada could set a better example
From: Ottawa | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
George Victor
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posted 06 March 2008 02:15 AM      Profile for George Victor        Edit/Delete Post
You have very nicely described the two public views of the problem of growth and social justice, Sean.
What has to follow - if all is not to bog down in frustration - is a clear account of the economic mechanisms by which zero growth and social stability can be brought about.
My own experience, as one of the handful who founded the Green Party of Ontario in 1983, is that of a New Democrat who gave up on a Green Party because of its libertarian dependency on "the market" to take care of everything after the application of carbon taxes.
This is patently dangerous nonsense.Meeting the former national leader of the Green Party last fall allowed me to see where it came from.
The current leader is sort of an Obama figure, with something for everyone.
At the same time, the connection between freedom of investment (of mutual funds, pensions, etc.) and a remotely comfortable old age, seems sometimes to be lost on my New Democrat friends (whom I run to for reassurance that there is still a social conscience alive out there, that my grandaughter may escape a social Darwinian fate.)
Anyone googling up Manufacturing Consent (by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, 1988) can see that part of the reason the question is only now being seriously debated - but only on such chat lines as this - is its suppression by the owners of that nebulous entity, the "free press".
The discussion began in the late 60s, was laughed down in the stagflation of the mid-70s, and watered down by Bruntland's sustainability idea, which, of course, meant an open door to development.
The one idea that this veteran green came away from the 70s with, that held out hope, was Charles Taylor's surmisin' that a "spirit of Dunkirk" might arise and all would pull together - when the going got tough enough, environmentally.
Not much to go on, but it allows one to call oneself an optimist. And singing Kermit's song while speaking truth to power, helps.
Carry on the debate, but for goodness sake, take it "out there" into the world of politics.Bring your real experiences back to chat about!

From: Cambridge, ON | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
Scribe
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posted 06 March 2008 09:54 PM      Profile for Scribe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I believe that the issue of urban sprawl may be such a joint position they could take. Urban sprawl, or the limitless expansion of sub-urbia, destroys the environment, while draining the downtown core of it's vitality. In this sense, the Greens and Dippers could support urban renewal as a means of avoiding both.

As an aside: speaking truth to power is not enough, because the powerful already know the truth. What is lacking is the will, not the truth, which is already in abundance.


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KenS
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posted 07 March 2008 09:26 AM      Profile for KenS     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A "joint position" held by both the GP and NDP on such a central issue would be tantamount to a merger for the Green Party, and amount to folding their tent.

Let alone what New Democrats would think of doing something like that [irregardless of content issues]: its and absolute non-starter for the Greens.

I'm packing my bags and don't expect to see this discussion, but that would be my parting 2 cents. If the spirit of the discussion is general and substantive then maybe it has legs.

If you are literally looking for a joint position, its DOA.

I'm sure lots of individual Greens would like to see something like this happen- but I'll bet there is nary a Green in touch with the party's organizational heatrbeat who would disagree with me. [Leaving aside points such as the NDP would never agree to what we expect, etc. I mean the question of whether finding a 'joint position'- even if you call it a more modest 'common ground'- is desirable at all.]


From: Minasville, NS | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 07 March 2008 09:53 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sean in Ottawa:
Unlike some NDPers I am not willing to accept that increased grwoth at environmental cost can cover the big amount of social equality we have to make up.

How does a relatively under-developed "G8" country with below replacement birth rates pursue green economy without spending a bit of money to make it happen?

This country has millions of leaky, drafty homes and businesses which should be torn down and-or retrofitted with energy-saving building technologies. We can't do that without spending money and investing in the future.

There is a $130 billion dollar infrastructure deficit across Canada. And this is since the privatization of the remainder of the money supply and bailing out banks from 1988 to 1993. The city of Vancouver can't afford to replace its aging water works. We've had people in Ontario die of thirdworld conditions wrt tainted drinking water. I don't know where the Green Party stands on these issues, but the NDP says it's entirely unacceptable.

And this has less to do with economic growth and more about doing something more than nothing. Our growth rates in Canada's largest economy are below the piddling 2-2.5% projected by Liberal economists since Canada has lost a third of a million manufacturing jobs. It may be a world trend to lose manufacturing to offshoring and countries where labour costs are 1/100th of what it is here. But what are Canadians supposed to do, accept McWage jobs as a replacement? What about a plan for the future? Are burger flipping and pumping gasoline, and McService jobs the old line party economic plan for the future?

It's about maintaining what we have, and the two old line parties are derelict of their reponsibilities for maintaining the country to certain minimum standards in favour of padding the pockets of big business execs and big bank monopolies. Modernizing our economy from hewer and drawer(as of 2005) will require a plan and long-term investment not more sellouts to big business through NAFTA and deep integration.

We need a national energy plan for the future not leave it to the market capitalism which will guarantee Canada's fossil fuels and hydroelectric power are siphoned off by the corporatocracy south of us. What's the Greenies plan to reverse the selloff of Canada's environment ot Exxon-Imperial? The NDP says we need to think about the future not giving our stuff away and sabotaging Canada's obligations to help curb America of their voracious appetite for cheap Canadian fossil fuels and water power in the process while we build more nukes in Ontario to help them be greener. Does the Green Party give a damn about any of this?


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Scribe
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posted 07 March 2008 12:18 PM      Profile for Scribe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by KenS:
A "joint position" held by both the GP and NDP on such a central issue would be tantamount to a merger for the Green Party, and amount to folding their tent.

Let alone what New Democrats would think of doing something like that [irregardless of content issues]: its and absolute non-starter for the Greens.

I'm packing my bags and don't expect to see this discussion, but that would be my parting 2 cents. If the spirit of the discussion is general and substantive then maybe it has legs.

If you are literally looking for a joint position, its DOA.

I'm sure lots of individual Greens would like to see something like this happen- but I'll bet there is nary a Green in touch with the party's organizational heatrbeat who would disagree with me. [Leaving aside points such as the NDP would never agree to what we expect, etc. I mean the question of whether finding a 'joint position'- even if you call it a more modest 'common ground'- is desirable at all.]


I'll sooner eat my hat than concede consensus as impossible.


From: Thompson, Manitoba | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
John K
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posted 07 March 2008 02:00 PM      Profile for John K        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Posted by Sean: The NDP, favours greater social equality but does not directly come to that conclusion either, by avoiding the sustainability of growth issue (even with otherwise good envirnmental policies to their credit). So essentially the NDP is saying that social equality will trump the environment and we will support the environment only in so far as we can afford to.

It's possible to have continued economic growth, greater social equality and a smaller environmental footprint. This does not have to be an either/or proposition.

Sure, the current track Canada is on is not sustainable. That's why the NDP has to push for massive investment in clean energy technology, energy conservation, and pollution reduction so that Canadians can enjoy a green AND prosperous future.


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Frustrated Mess
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posted 07 March 2008 03:41 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It is too bad a discussion like this automatically veers into partisan hyperbole. "My party is less capitalistic (but capitalistic nonetheless) than yours. Nyah!" What nonsense.

So, tell me Sean in Ottawa, growth for what and for whose benefit?

The economy has grown at a rate in the past 100 years that neither Marx nor Smith could have anticipated. But rather than eradicating or reducing poverty, it has been globalized and wealth has been further concentrated into fewer hands. So how is the NDP's growth model working out?

You might argue that it is working a bit better for North Americans and Europeans. But then you are making the case of the empire - that our lives and comfort are more important than their lives or comfort from whom our wealth and comfort is derived.

And of course, unlimited growth through the exploitation and consumption of limited resources is mathematically impossible. I'm not a mathematician, but I'm sure someone could produce a formula.

The Greens, on the other hand, believe we can maintain the same growth, or even better, if we simply buy green widgets as opposed to any other kind. The Greens would have us believe that we can have our earth and eat it too. Of course we can't.

What Sean in Ottawa fails to recognize, or rather what he fails to address, as does both the Greens and the NDP, is that our current capitalist system is simply not sustainable. M. Spector said it best when he said "growth is in the DNA of capitalism. Capitalist economies can no more stop growing than sharks can stop swimming."

The reality is that party politics tied to frittering away at the political margins hoping to reform the beast, while entertaining little or no real electoral hope, is counter-productive and ultimately defeating.

A future can't be found within a system based and founded on an unlimited consumption model that mandates extraction and environmental destruction trumps the sustainability of life.

The industrial economy and processes doesn't care if any of us lives or dies.

Further, the system can't be destroyed or defeated. It can only collapse under its own weight.

For those who can afford it (I can't), the best alternative is divorcing oneself from the system and joining self-sustaining communities.

Those who will fare the best in the next two to three decades are those who require the least. That is to say, those who can grow their own food on their own or communal land and draw their own, clean water.

The challenge is finding land that won't become subject to resource extraction in the dying days of a capitalist system that would rather trash than preserve what's left of the planet.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
janfromthebruce
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posted 07 March 2008 04:43 PM      Profile for janfromthebruce     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sean you made this statement which I would like to build on: make "into a single coherent policy that says social inequality on a full planet has to come from the rich giving up a considerable amount of their present wealth and power."

I think that we won't be able to acquire a sustainable environmental society unless we equally address social/economic inequality - both are equally on the opposite sides of the same coin.

People with less will not buy into accepting less of the possible 'good life' unless their needs are addressed, and thus will not buy into sustainable environmental policies/regulations. So addressing both must happen simultaneously. Monbiot addresses this same "problem" in Heat. Hence his slogan consume less, share better is coupled with think globally and act locally. It is the coupling of the economic with the social into coherant sustainable environmental policies that address both.
If he were reading this conversation, he would suggest that we are fixated on the economically disadvantaged, and although relevant, it misses the point. The rich fuel our desire to consume, so not only do we need to have a minimum (get rid of poverty so all can share in the good life) but that we must address overconsumption by the too rich. He would suggest that there should be a CAP on the amount of wealth one gets to accummulate in order to decrease "desire" and thus consumption overall.
Managing a sustainable economy requires "green investment" as mentioned by others, caps on wealth creation, eradication of poverty.

I could be wrong here, but Greens seem to accept the philosophy of economic inequality as fair. This is a conservative ideology, and thus support a tax/carbon system that would perpetuate this inequality. Those with bucks would be able to afford green cars, houses and so on.
Anyway, when I am talking about the rich, in many ways I am talking about the super rich. We just have to look at our fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and famour to get my drift. They fuel the mass consumption of all others. Pricking those balloons to something sizable would decrease that desire.
That's my contribution.


From: cow country | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged
George Victor
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posted 07 March 2008 06:17 PM      Profile for George Victor        Edit/Delete Post
If you folks heard Jack Layton in parliament yesterday, you would have heard him presenting a motion condemning the government for not acting quickly enough on carbon reduction policies - an unconscionable lapse in that this question will affect all future generations, as he pointed out.
M. Dion said he supported Layton's idea, but would not support the motion in the house for strategic reasons.

Why would people only "speculate" about the meaning of political parties when you have the evidence of your senses?
The idea that New Democrats are just social policy and the Greens are the only defenders of the green faith is simply a crock.
The Green Party is on record as saying that "the market" will fix all if there's a carbon tax, and that is a socially reactionary position that only the reader of the National Post could accept as gospel.

Neither New Democrats nor Greens really want to talk about the problem of how to deal with an economy that isn't allowed to grow any more, and only those people who have looked at the controls of a wartime economy are being honest.
But reviewing the above comments here, it would seem that the two parties are not alone in avoiding the economic question like the plague.

And while one can understand that political parties would be shooting themselves in the foot by putting forward scary scenarios in the climate of political ignorance out there where folks get their news from corrupted sources, why is the economic question not discussed in this quiet, contemplative, safe environment?


From: Cambridge, ON | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 07 March 2008 08:33 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The rich fuel our desire to consume, so not only do we need to have a minimum (get rid of poverty so all can share in the good life) but that we must address overconsumption by the too rich.

But that is not accurate and I would like to be sourced on Monbiot's comment. if by rich, he means western societies as a whole, including you and me, then okay. Because over-consumption is a problem of rich societies not the so-called super rich. If only the super-rich over consumed, we wouldn't have a problem.

You can go here to get a sense of what "one million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the US every six hours" looks like. We take the tops of mountains and literally destroy eco-systems and drainage basins to get coal cheaper.

The capitalist system is insane. We are insane for not recognizing it.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 07 March 2008 08:56 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by janfromthebruce:
I could be wrong here, but Greens seem to accept the philosophy of economic inequality as fair. This is a conservative ideology, and thus support a tax/carbon system that would perpetuate this inequality. Those with bucks would be able to afford green cars, houses and so on.

And I think this is what the rich and powerful and supporting cast of plutocrats are worried about. There were grand promises made for growth and material well being during the cold war era. We see now that this was a colossal lie - that globalizing "this" can't happen without destroying the environment.

Plutocrats already are faced with waning support with even FPP elections. The USA is faced with yet another economic recession and low growth rates. Meanwhile, Russia, China and India's are growing somewhere around the average of ten percent a year. And the poorest Americans will face more hardship all of a sudden than the same groups in Asian countries if there is a global slowdown. Asians are more used to sustainable growth(what we call absolute poverty) than those of us who have lived the cold war lie for many years. The cold warriors may well lose political capital, and that should be worrisome for everyone not just the power elite for obvious reasons.

Our money supply is now about 95 percent privatized, and our governments at all levels can only make-believe they are in control of our economy and way of life. Private money creation makes funding of green infrastructure and building modern, more efficient economies far too expensive, whether privateers or governments do the funding. And yet the new Liberal capitalist banking rules since 1991 dictate that we must grow in order to create the money to pay compounding interest on previous loan principals to all governments, citizens, and private businesses alike.

However, I think we can still get to where we need to go even without democratic control of the financial system, which is still considered a noble goal for social democrats and socialists alike. Countries like Sweden are striving toward non-reliance on oil and fossil fuels by so many years' time. Given the political will, Canadians can do achieve this as well, and this is the time when social democrats in Canada should be fighting hardest for democracy. Now is a good time.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 07 March 2008 08:57 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 07 March 2008 09:19 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:

But that is not accurate and I would like to be sourced on Monbiot's comment. if by rich, he means western societies as a whole, including you and me, then okay. Because over-consumption is a problem of rich societies not the so-called super rich. If only the super-rich over consumed, we wouldn't have a problem.

Okay, but how did the superrich become superrich? By pushing for green and sustainable economies?

Exxon-Imperial and transnational energy companies didn't lobby our weak and ineffective Liberal government to create a national energy plan or to levy green taxes on oil and gas exports to the U.S. What they did lobby Martin's stoogeocrats for were huge tax breaks and more taxpayer handouts. The superrich and powerful are a big part of the post-cold war picture I'm afraid.

Which special interest groups have lobbied for privatization of the common good from last century to this one? Which special interest groups have pushed for the rights of capital and big business and weakening of labour and environmental laws? It wasn't me, and it wasn't the NDP, that's for sure.

[ 07 March 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
janfromthebruce
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posted 08 March 2008 02:40 AM      Profile for janfromthebruce     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:

But that is not accurate and I would like to be sourced on Monbiot's comment. if by rich, he means western societies as a whole, including you and me, then okay. Because over-consumption is a problem of rich societies not the so-called super rich. If only the super-rich over consumed, we wouldn't have a problem.

I will look for the quote and text. I do remember reading it and thinking about what he said. It could be saved on another computer.
But I did go to New left Review, where Monbiot talks about an overall Cap, and where my thinking has been informed.
[url=http://www.newleftreview.org/?page=article&view=2672[/url]


From: cow country | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 08 March 2008 05:24 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, and Monbiot also talks about carbon rations. Being a well paid newspaper columnist, maybe he doesn't understand life on the street in capitalist consumer culture where we are all so worried about social-justice.

Growing up in Toronto very close to the street, I do have a little understanding of how it works. And I appreciate one salient fact. In a world of carbon rations or allowances, the poorest and most vulnerable among us will sell ours for more immediate needs whether it be rent, food, or a fix.

What shapes the debate on this issue is our insistence, including almost all the posters above, to maintain that capitalist consumer culture we all think is so unfair and we all berate the Green party for not disowning even as we want it to continue "just more for me, please."

Not to single out Fidel, but when he says "Russia, China and India's are growing somewhere around the average of ten percent a year," it begs the question of how? And the answer is fueling and feeding the global capitalist economy that threatens to completely undermine our biosphere.

Sean in Ottawa says "if you accept that this growth is environmentally unsustainable then you have to admit that those who have too much must give up some of that for those who have too little." What he is talking about is consumption. Not ending it but better spreading it. But it has to end. One way or another.

The reality is that most of us are not willing to really work against the capitalist system. We benefit from it and even if we are upon overshoot and collapse, that option, to many, is preferable to reorganizing ourselves into something different and unknown and probably with much fewer gadgets and toys.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 08 March 2008 10:05 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
The reality is that most of us are not willing to really work against the capitalist system. We benefit from it and even if we are upon overshoot and collapse, that option, to many, is preferable to reorganizing ourselves into something different and unknown and probably with much fewer gadgets and toys.

I think you're referring to the middle class in general in North America who are living fairly well and supporting plutocratic governments with their votes. But this unsustainable prosperity exists only in pockets in inner cities as well as various rural areas. But the general trend here has been for pockets of middle class prosperity surrounded by increasing layers of neardowells to increasing poverty. We have third world condition across much of Northern Canada, and some of our infant mortality rates among indigenous people are comparable to those same baseline statistics in developing nations.

There are now large sections of the U.S. that are, for all intents and purposes, abandoned wrt towns and villages existing without organized town councils, hospitals, tax collection, without fire departments, safe water monitoring etc.

In other words, cold war era growth rates are already shrinking well below what we were used to. And along with the popularity of those cold war era growth rates goes their political capital, the right's political support base. These next generations of Americans and Canadians will have fewer and fewer reasons to support the old plutocracy, or those political friends of the superrich who depend on upside-down socialism in order to concentrate more wealth and more power into the hands of those who have it and have had it for a long time.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 08 March 2008 10:19 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The global capitalist consumer model has been quite effective and perhaps even more effective at attracting and capturing the poor who would form the alienated, disenfranchised critical mass of any socialist movement.

Consider that Wal-Mart considers its most loyal customers to be female, poor, in debt, and driving a used car. Henry Ford wanted to pay workers well enough to buy his cars. Wal-Mart wants to pay them poorly enough to keep them as customers.

Consider that obesity, is a North American disease that disproportionately effects the poor. That is because the poor are not necessarily making poor nutrition choices, but are necessarily driven to affordable, mass produced, processed foods high in fat and sugar and low in nutritional value.

The global capitalist culture has been successful in creating virtual chains around the poor defined by what is affordable.

I agree we have First Nations people and rural folk living in poverty comparable to some of the most extreme examples of poverty anywhere in the world. But a CBC report, today, on tobacco smuggling, reports that dollars made on First Nations land are being used to purchase Cadillacs and Hummers demonstrating that the reach and attraction of conspicuous consumption even reaches into the most vulnerable of communities.

The collapse of Western consumerism will not necessarily represent a rush to socialism. Ask post-war Germans. And even if it was, to what end? How will socialism resurrect and sustain industrial consumer societies with bulging urban populations at the exact moment in time that we are discovering the limits of earth's abundance?

I don't think that question has been addressed.

[ 08 March 2008: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 08 March 2008 10:58 AM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I wanted to think about this for a few days before jumping into the discussion. I think that we have to be careful not to view either party through narrow lenses. I believe there are clear differences between how each party wants to achieve their aims.

quote:
Presently, the Greens essentially are saying that the environment trumps everthing and they are fuzzy about how to address social inequality. It would appear that they are saying that we cannot environmentally afford social equality. They do not come out directly and say those who have too much need to give to those who have less.

This is not necessarily true although I must grant you that there is division in the Greens as to how to achieve this. Greens believe that it is the quality of life that counts and that there is not a universal definition of what constitutes this and therefore, attempts to cram everyone into the same definition is futile. If we are talking about capitalism vs. socialism then yes Greens are clearly capitalist. In my belief so is the NDP. If we are talking about capitalism vs. corporate dominance then we as Greens believe that corporate dominance is unhealthy and that international corporations (through free trade agreements as presently written) pose a clear threat to quality of life in Canada and elsewhere.

The question of growth depends on where that growth comes from. It is clear we cannot keep extracting resources from the earth at the present pace of development and that consumerism is out of control. This does not mean that Greens believe that the environment trumps all but that quality of life and social equality is directly linked to our attitudes toward the environment. You cannot achieve the social equity we are talking about without reversing the present trend of consumption without consequence.

Greens do not believe that the market will fix everything after the carbon tax but that it is a vital element to reducing the amount of energy we are consuming and wasting. Greens believe that government regulation is necessary in certain areas, perhaps fewer areas than the New Democrats although I’m not certain about this. There should be regulation on how you build and operate but artificially subsidizing energy costs with the intent of keeping them artificially low only fuels our present attitude that we can consume without consequence. In a market economy the market plays an important role and you can’t have a market economy that is controlled by an ‘iron fist’. It just won’t work.

How are we defining social equity?
Jan from the Bruce

quote:
- “I could be wrong here, but Greens seem to accept the philosophy of economic inequality as fair.”

This is a fair question and you need to define for me what economic inequality means in real terms. The Canadian social safety net needs to be strengthened and expanded in order to create a minimum quality of life standard. Both Greens and NDP believe that Canada needs to expand and develop a national drug care program. At present we can find out if we are sick for free but we can’t necessarily get better for free.

Both Greens and NDP believe that a proper minimum wage is necessary and should reflect the basic level of income needed to live. At present both believe in a $10.00 minimum wage. Both believe that it is the right of workers to unionize and minimum labour standards are necessary. There is a myth that Greens, as a party, are anti-union which isn’t true. Do we believe every workplace needs to be unionized? No but this is the choice of workers.

Housing is a human right and both parties believe that Canada needs a national housing plan and both advocate it in their policies. Both believe in a national affordable day care program. The difference is that Greens believe that the private sector still needs to be involved and creates an element of choice. Again it is parents who decide between homecare and institutional care and should have that choice. The New Democrats appear to be reluctant to admit this in public and build in exclusions of the private sector giving the impression that the government can create all, manage all and pay for all. Both parties believe in fair trade and that this should be an important element of foreign policy and development.

Canadians believe and have endorsed the concept of equitable distribution of wealth. Some have made it clear in past surveys that they would be happy to pay more taxes if it meant improving the right areas such as health care, child care etc. The carbon tax would offset much of the necessary increase in income tax. Why pay more income tax if targeted taxes from other areas can be implemented? The Green Party does not rely on people buying ‘green widgets’ but believe that there is a green economy and business opportunity to be had for promoting and developing renewable materials, environmentally friendly services etc.

We need more compact urban communities which have greater accessibility to services and stop infringing on agricultural land. We need an agricultural policy that reduces corporate farms and increases multi-use farms and these are steps that Greens believe will curb growth in the energy sector. There is economic inequality in Canada but I believe it is fed by the mantra of mass consumption and living off credit as the economic marker.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 08 March 2008 11:30 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
The collapse of Western consumerism will not necessarily represent a rush to socialism. Ask post-war Germans. And even if it was, to what end? How will socialism resurrect and sustain industrial consumer societies with bulging urban populations at the exact moment in time that we are discovering the limits of earth's abundance?

I don't think that question has been addressed.


FM, this is a massive point, and and even larger questions.

Because really what you are asking is how do we, individually, and then collectively, perceive the future constructs of society, and indeed the world.

If a capitalistic model is disgarded, what then would the world look like? And this, really is almost incomprehensible to perceive in personal understanding, or conceptualizing, by way of full ramifications and how, or if, they are attainable, and how they would have to be actioned.

Instantly cutting 1/8 - 1/4 consumer driven markets in Canada would mean massive layoffs in targeted sectors. What would happen to those people and families in the long run? What would have to happen in the short run? Would there just be a shift to another sector thereby driving wages further? Could another non-consumer sector be developed? What is another non-consumer sector that could be, or needs to be, developed?

Jack Layton in his speech to the BC federation of Labour, spoke about the NDP's understanding and devloping Green sectors of employment opportunities.

quote:
...today I’m here to talk to you about jobs. Good jobs. Quality jobs. Sustainable jobs. Jobs that match the economy of tomorrow. I’m talking about Green-collar jobs. And lots of them – here in British Columbia and across the country.
My friends, the New Energy Economy is coming.

Strategies such as this have to and will happen, and I see no other party, other the the NDP, who have the farsighted vision and who can put forth, already developed strategies which will lessen the impact of forced decreased consumerism upon all peoples of the world. The NDP have practical solutions to protect our environment. Our 5-point Green Agenda for Canada would conserve energy, cut polluting emissions, attract green investment and create jobs.


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
George Victor
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posted 08 March 2008 01:15 PM      Profile for George Victor        Edit/Delete Post
In "real terms", economic inequality means doing without food, proper shelter and clothing, medical care and equality of opportunity in school and after, and a shorter life.And that inequality is growing like Topsy in this increasingly market-dominated economy.

As to the idea that the Green Party does not depend totally on the market to solve the climate change crisis - the Ontario greens issued a release in the fall saying that when you "shift taxes" from incomes on to fossil fuels "the market will take care of the rest".

We know how those kids will fare under that formula, which is pure Libertarian.

Read Bryan Evans "Budget 2008: the forward march of neo-liberalism" to see where we are headed.

The New Democrats aren't perfect, but they are the best of the bunch, and they are not dealing in snake oil remedies that say a market economy - ruled by greed and fear - can reign in market excesses.
The next market bubble - after the failure of peddling variable rate mortgages to folks who don't have a job - is going to be investment in alternate energy. Watch the moose pasture sold in that one.

Bring some history to bear and read about what was accomplished with a wartime economy. That is what will have to be done again. And concensus will come out of the obvious need to row together, as in war.

Monbiot's rationing. Chin up. It kept us a bit slimmer and a helluva lot fitter.


From: Cambridge, ON | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
KenS
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posted 08 March 2008 03:01 PM      Profile for KenS     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I'll sooner eat my hat than concede consensus as impossible.

Nothing is impossible. But as to what has better than remote longshot odds: I suggest you start cutting that hat into digestible size pieces.


From: Minasville, NS | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 08 March 2008 04:38 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Strategies such as this have to and will happen, and I see no other party, other the the NDP, who have the farsighted vision and who can put forth, already developed strategies which will lessen the impact of forced decreased consumerism upon all peoples of the world. The NDP have practical solutions to protect our environment. Our 5-point Green Agenda for Canada would conserve energy, cut polluting emissions, attract green investment and create jobs.

It is not that I haven't read the NDP platform, Remind. It is that it represents a continuation of global consumer capitalism with a green, happy face. I am not attempting to be merely facetious.

But what will people do with the income of all those "green collar jobs"? Consume, right? They will buy furnishings, and cars, maybe even green cars, and new computers, and cell phones, and suburban houses that efficiently burn energy all year round as there are no trees for shade or a windbreak.

In many ways, it is the identical "green widget" platform of the Green Party.

mimeguy, speaking for the Green Party, says it is all about quality of life. Who defines quality of life? For the great majority of us, it is the ad agencies that are paid to drive up demand and consumption of an endless list of consumer items.

We can no longer envision a society where the central purpose of our being is something other than consumption. If global capitalism has succeeded in anything, it has defined for Western Civilization the meaning of life: to shop.

[ 08 March 2008: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 08 March 2008 04:43 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
But what will people do with the income of all those "green collar jobs"? Consume, right?
The reality is FM, people have to have incomes and there has to be in between job creation that changes us to a more sustainable society and world.

quote:
In many ways, it is the identical "green widget" platform of the Green Party.
Point of clarification, it is the the Green Party who has cribbed off of the NDP, and poorly at that.

From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 08 March 2008 05:12 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The reality is FM, people have to have incomes and there has to be in between job creation that changes us to a more sustainable society and world.

Perhaps we can agree on that. But if so, then neither the NDP nor the Greens actually get it. Green collar still focussed on mass consumption but green mass consumption just leads us down the same road.

In fact, I would argue that in some policy areas the Greens get it better than the NDP.

In order to transition to a sustainable economy, the concept of "growth" must be redefined. Globalism must not only be tut-tutted, it must be abandoned altogether. Cars, even green cars, must be abandoned in favour of mass and public transportation. Highways and roads should not be subsidized and should be paid for by the people who use them. Rail should be resurrected as well as short run bus lines. Bus regulations that control routes and fares and ensure monopolies and poor service should be scrapped. There should be a cap on fuel emissions and any vehicles should be required to meet real and tough fuel standards. Single passenger vehicles should be taxed out of existence. There should be no more support for infrastructure for suburban and exurban sprawl including existing suburbs and exurbs. All new homes should be denser (which doesn't necessarily mean high-rises) and within existing built-up areas. Zoning should allow residential, commercial, and light industrial to mix. Nothing should be wasted and all process should allow water to be reclaimed. Front lawns should be banned and all people should be encouraged, and free training offered, to grow their own food as much as possible. People should be encouraged to develop communities that are as self-sustaining as possible. Oh, and TVs should be smashed to silence the market propagandists. People should be encouraged to reacquaint themselves with books, music, live theatre, and other pursuits that do not require the surrender of souls.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 08 March 2008 07:02 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
In order to transition to a sustainable economy, the concept of "growth" must be redefined. Globalism must not only be tut-tutted, it must be abandoned altogether. Cars, even green cars, must be abandoned in favour of mass and public transportation. Highways and roads should not be subsidized and should be paid for by the people who use them. Rail should be resurrected as well as short run bus lines. Bus regulations that control routes and fares and ensure monopolies and poor service should be scrapped. There should be a cap on fuel emissions and any vehicles should be required to meet real and tough fuel standards. Single passenger vehicles should be taxed out of existence. There should be no more support for infrastructure for suburban and exurban sprawl including existing suburbs and exurbs. All new homes should be denser (which doesn't necessarily mean high-rises) and within existing built-up areas. Zoning should allow residential, commercial, and light industrial to mix. Nothing should be wasted and all process should allow water to be reclaimed. Front lawns should be banned and all people should be encouraged, and free training offered, to grow their own food as much as possible. People should be encouraged to develop communities that are as self-sustaining as possible. Oh, and TVs should be smashed to silence the market propagandists. People should be encouraged to reacquaint themselves with books, music, live theatre, and other pursuits that do not require the surrender of souls.


Now if only I could find a party that had that kind of platform, I would sign up in a minute


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 08 March 2008 08:09 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Frustrated Mess:
The collapse of Western consumerism will not necessarily represent a rush to socialism. Ask post-war Germans. And even if it was, to what end? How will socialism resurrect and sustain industrial consumer societies with bulging urban populations at the exact moment in time that we are discovering the limits of earth's abundance?

I don't think that question has been addressed.


This is way, way off topic. But it's an interesting point. Germany was actually perceived to be a flash point for spread of Soviet socialism to the western world. Several socialist and communist political parties were poised for election in the 1930's. Hitler was going nowhere fast with his anti-semitic rhetoric in the late 1920's. Enter Emil Kirdorf, western industrialists, and Germany's new reason for being is to wage war of annihilation against Soviet communism. Germans were essentially lied to by the biggest liar of the last century.

Something happened during western aggression against Soviet Russia part two, and the Nazis didn't make living space out of Russia, and Chiang Kai-shek and his mass murdering gangsters were booted from China. Franco's fascists did takeover Spain with lots of help from Mussolini, Hitler, Ford, GM and Studebaker. Can't win'em all.

But the result was that the western world, and mainly the USA was unscathed by either of the world wars. They were technologically more advanced than all countries in Asia at start of the last century. That technological gap-advantage was never closed by the Soviets. They were said to have been eight years behind the U.S.S.A. by start of the 1980's. Cold war things happened, and now the Russians, like China, are playing at capitalism. And now the colder war battle is for world resources.

But back to your question, Germany was made a front line state after WWII as were Israel and Turkey and Pakistan and a few more where nuclear weapons technology suddenly sprouted up. West Germany wasn't just made into an unreal showcase for capitalism, like Japan was given MFN trade status to keep that country from their socialist tendencies. Former Nazi intelligence officers were recruited by the CIA to run the spy ops out of West Germany. When west began to realize the Soviets would not invade western Europe after WWII, they began setting up "stay behind" units of hired mercenaries and war criminals to commit acts of terrorism in the former USSR. Our democratizers in yhe west wanted to provoke military responses from the Soviets, and they scored the intended result in Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

So in my view, we're not talking about a system that "collapsed on its own" or one that was driven to concede a cold war due to decades of vicious trade sanctions and dirty wars and unprecedented aggression against the FSU leading up to 1989-91. We could be talking about any group of countries which might have tried to exist outside the spherical influence of a vicious, nuclear-powered empire - one which still has its nuclear weapons on foreign soil and naval ships roaming the seven seas.

And the answer to your question lies in everything I've posted above. At one time, material wealth and consumption was a really good cold war propaganda tool. It's a tossup as to who the biggest liars of the last century were: Goebbels and Hitler, or the cold war propagandists who followed. At one time even I believed in Two chickens for every pot, folkswagon gas guzzlers for all, "mini-me" you can be a rich guy too mansions, all you can eat buffets, and plastic widget economies like there's no tomorrow.

[ 08 March 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 09 March 2008 09:45 AM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
George Victor -
quote:
In "real terms", economic inequality means doing without food, proper shelter and clothing, medical care and equality of opportunity in school and after, and a shorter life. And that inequality is growing like Topsy in this increasingly market-dominated economy.

Yes and both parties have poverty reduction strategies that address this as I pointed out in my post above. I would argue that it is the corporate dominated market that is feeding the gap between the rich and the poor. Coordinated efforts to educate people on choices and redesigning urban and rural communities to allow for more choice and say over how they develop within a common direction. We need more investment in small businesses which are the real driving force of local economies. We are at a point where we can galvanize both the public awareness that we have to shift to conservation and more localized economies. We need the political will to introduce legislation to corral this shift and point it in the right direction.

quote:
As to the idea that the Green Party does not depend totally on the market to solve the climate change crisis - the Ontario greens issued a release in the fall saying that when you "shift taxes" from incomes on to fossil fuels "the market will take care of the rest".
We know how those kids will fare under that formula, which is pure Libertarian.

Meaning that when consumers are faced with the real cost they must assess the real value of what they want to buy and how much they really desire it. Allowing people to keep more of their money along with a clear choice of what and where to buy allows the market to correct itself. Reduced demand shifts the focus of business. The Green Party of Ontario did not simply state that the market alone will correct everything and in the 2007 platform there is government regulation and legislation forcing the direction in which companies have to improve and shift how they present themselves. There is also investment in education to promote environmental awareness and consumer choice. Many schools already do this but they are mainly independent programs. The Green Party would make it part of the standard curriculum. As an example my god daughter goes to an alternative school that educated students on child labour issues and sweat shops. At the age of eight she was refusing to go to clothing stores that used child labour and sweat shops. There is also regulation on how future buildings would be built which included changes in the building codes to allow for the shift to energy efficient homes and buildings. So in point of fact the Green plan is not “pure Libertarian”.

quote:
The New Democrats aren't perfect, but they are the best of the bunch, and they are not dealing in snake oil remedies that say a market economy - ruled by greed and fear - can reign in market excesses.

Your opinion that the New Democrats are the best of the bunch is respected but I take exception to the concept that the Greens are promoting a continuation of the market economy - ruled by greed and fear –. This is simply not true.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Craigsw
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posted 09 March 2008 10:18 AM      Profile for Craigsw   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A few thoughts. The post two above was off topic...more than slightly. In response to the original post, growth of the economy is no longer at the expense of the environment. The cost of managing what we've already created (looming devastation) is already justification for major spending on "green tech".
From: Thailand | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
janfromthebruce
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posted 09 March 2008 10:33 AM      Profile for janfromthebruce     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sorry, Mimeguy, but you just made a factual statement that is factually untrue, and thus based on your belief system.
You stated this: "Many schools already do this but they are mainly independent programs. The Green Party would make it part of the standard curriculum."

Wrong. There are many public school boards who have adopted an ecoschool board wide policy that addresses not only curriculum, but also environmental school policies. For example, the Toronto District School Board, the largest school board in north american, has a board wide policy, along with York and other public boards.

One doesn't need to attend an alternative school to know about child labour and so on. In fact, my oldest who now is age 18 knew not to buy Niki at age 6. Thank goodness she had progressive parents.

My school board is in the process of adopting an ecoschool board wide policy. In my board, there is a school Bruce Pennisula who will be the 2nd school in Canada to be rewarded the UNESCO award for environmentalism. One does not need to vote for the Green party to get green schools!


From: cow country | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged
janfromthebruce
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posted 09 March 2008 10:37 AM      Profile for janfromthebruce     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"Yes and both parties have poverty reduction strategies that address this as I pointed out in my post above. I would argue that it is the corporate dominated market that is feeding the gap between the rich and the poor. Coordinated efforts to educate people on choices and redesigning urban and rural communities to allow for more choice and say over how they develop within a common direction. We need more investment in small businesses which are the real driving force of local economies. We are at a point where we can galvanize both the public awareness that we have to shift to conservation and more localized economies. We need the political will to introduce legislation to corral this shift and point it in the right direction.
That's right, so only focussing on one end, for instance, poverty, ignores the other end, for instance, too much accumulated wealth, that drives the desire to consume more and more. Why attack one and not the other?

Let's start by educating at the top and reining in this unlimited wealth creation, and LIMITING THEIR CHOICE TO CONSUME AND IN TURN DRIVE CONSUMPTION.


From: cow country | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 09 March 2008 10:58 AM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
FM -
quote:
But what will people do with the income of all those "green collar jobs"? Consume, right? -snip-
In many ways, it is the identical "green widget" platform of the Green Party.

mimeguy, speaking for the Green Party, says it is all about quality of life. Who defines quality of life? For the great majority of us, it is the ad agencies that are paid to drive up demand and consumption of an endless list of consumer items.

We can no longer envision a society where the central purpose of our being is something other than consumption. If global capitalism has succeeded in anything, it has defined for Western Civilization the meaning of life: to shop.


Education and promoting personal responsibility can change that direction but it will take time just as the shift to a blind consumption model took time. Ad agencies don't define quality of life. Each person does. Brain washing victimization which says we are not responsible for the choices we make also feeds the problem. We also have to redefine what consumption means. Right now it means physical objects rather than experience. FM is right that there is a lack of vision for a society that can see alternatives to what they consume but this is as much the fault of individuals who just don't care to imagine anymore.

This is why the physical structure of our communities has to change.

This is why we have to place more value on education which expands the application of critical thought and alternative information. More real time examples that incorporate the reality of our social environment. Not just in school curriculum but in labelling and consumer education.

This is why we need increased investment in arts and culture including green tourism concepts.

This is also why consumers should be able to view the real cost of items and why producers should be forced to assume "life long" responsibility of their products including packaging.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 09 March 2008 11:07 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Craigsw:
A few thoughts. The post two above was off topic...more than slightly.

Yes it was. And, yes, I did acknowledge it.

quote:
In response to the original post, growth of the economy is no longer at the expense of the environment.

You'll have a difficult time convincing most of us here. Perhaps in another thread?


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 09 March 2008 11:24 AM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Jan from the Bruce - Yes you are right and I stand corrected on environment studies as part of the Ontario curriculum.
From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 09 March 2008 12:12 PM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
JanfromtheBruce -
quote:
That's right, so only focussing on one end, for instance, poverty, ignores the other end, for instance, too much accumulated wealth, that drives the desire to consume more and more. Why attack one and not the other?
Let's start by educating at the top and reining in this unlimited wealth creation, and LIMITING THEIR CHOICE TO CONSUME AND IN TURN DRIVE CONSUMPTION.

There are two ideas there in the last sentence. Education and reining in unlimited wealth creation. Education has already been pointed out in terms of people knowing the origins and content of things they buy. Regulating the quality of their choice is there in the discussion in terms of regulating how things are made. Eco-friendly efficient vehicles, packaging, eco-friendly housing. How would you propose reining in wealth creation? What is the dollar amount that signifies the ceiling to your earnings? You are never going to have a system where everyone earns the same yearly income. You are always going to have people with less ability to buy things than others. How are you going to stop people in the middle income range from wanting new things or a better life style, whatever that would mean to them? Are you going to outlaw the development of things the state would consider frivolous? Ban advertising on these same products? I'm all in favour of closing useless loop holes that allow wealthier people to escape paying taxes that should be paid but how does that change the attitudes of people in the lower income brackets? Go ahead and take 50% of a person's income but I fail to see how that changes the attitude of someone making considerably less.

So in my opinion I don't give a damn whether my neighbour wants to spend his/her money on a swimming pool, pink ipod or a dog for his/her kid if I have access to the basic necessities of life and cultural choices. Focusing on poverty reduction and the nature of how our society works is the change that needs to happen. I have seen plenty of examples here in Canada and in other countries where a person with safe shelter, the ability to feed themselves and their family etc. simply lose their desire for frivolous things and are content to live within their means.

Well educated people who are not hungry, living without desperation make sound educated choices.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 09 March 2008 09:11 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by mimeguy:
Well educated people who are not hungry, living without desperation make sound educated choices.

That sounds like one of the cornerstone requirements for a democracy, a well-informed and educated public.

So, really, you're saying the WTO is wrong for dictating to member nations through GATS that we need to commodify higher education, and that we should not allow tuitions to continue skyward? And our ruling politicians have been wrong all along in cutting federal transfers to provinces earmarked for post-secondary education? Because if that's the case, then I have to agree. And to heck with bailing out banks for the sake of a globalized casino economy.

At that point when they(as in all those non-elected shits with enormous wealth and pull in high places) start dictating what we can afford and what we can't wrt social democracy versus what benefits a relatively tiny number of people on this planet, then we should at least be suspicious that something may have gone wrong somewhere.

[ 09 March 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 09 March 2008 10:07 PM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes Fidel you are correct in this. I think people are more and more coming to the realization that they can't keep tolerating the direction we are going in. I think people have known for over a decade that something is terribly wrong but haven't seen an alternative.

It's not a question of who scores higher on their policies by a few points but a question of which party has the political will to actually put the right policy in place and act on it with genuine resolve. This is the growing advantage of the federal NDP and Green parties. It is the reason we have had two back to back minority governments with clear indications that the next one will also be a minority.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
George Victor
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posted 10 March 2008 12:25 AM      Profile for George Victor        Edit/Delete Post
Yes indeed folks, "people" are coming to the realization that they have been had.
More specifically, the "had" people are coming to realize that the Chicago School promoters (see Naomi Klein and Robert Reich's revealing works about those folks in 2007) have brought us to a point where the market rules.
And if you want to see more of that market effect on the world's impoverished, read Ha-Joon Chang's "Bad Samaritans:The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism".

And your poor working schmuck now watches changes in the market and listens to the wizards of the banking community - now dominating even the CBC for god's sake - to see how their miserable nestegg is coming along.

At war's end, 10 per cent of the population had something to spare beyond the necessities for investing. Now, practically all have a stake in "the market" - even a percentage of the CPP growth is market-dependant.

And, of course, that is why we got globalization without extensive protest, and opportunity for our investments and promotion of a market economy replacing the old mixed economy. In fact, give "Steve" and the boys a few more years in power and there won't be a single non-profit organization left above the 49th parallel.

The dreamy idea that it's just a matter of promoting backyard businesses at this point hides the fact that real people are going to suffer more. It's not just some romantic notion of "Small is Beautiful", although, of course, Schumacker's ideas will have to be part of a re-invented way of life. It can't be just the virtuous liberal's "well I'm living the way we all should".
That won't pay the bills for the growing number of poor bastards who are now without even a shelter to live in.
And the Green idea that Habitat for Humanity is going to take up the slack is just perverse nonsense.
Try promoting the idea of a federal return to responsibility for social housing that existed before (with apologies to Tommy Douglas) Tweedeldee and Tweedeldum began vying with each other in 1992 to kiss the butts of the "lower taxes" crowd.
It still appeals today to the Green voter salivating at the prospect of dropping income tax for carbon tax. AND, YES, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THAT GPO EMAILOUT SAID, ALONG WITH THE BIT ABOUT THE MARKET TAKING CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS.

Some prospect.


From: Cambridge, ON | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 10 March 2008 06:41 AM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The dreamy idea that it's just a matter of promoting backyard businesses at this point hides the fact that real people are going to suffer more. It's not just some romantic notion of "Small is Beautiful", although, of course, Schumacker's ideas will have to be part of a re-invented way of life. It can't be just the virtuous liberal's "well I'm living the way we all should".
That won't pay the bills for the growing number of poor bastards who are now without even a shelter to live in.
And the Green idea that Habitat for Humanity is going to take up the slack is just perverse nonsense.
Try promoting the idea of a federal return to responsibility for social housing that existed before (with apologies to Tommy Douglas) Tweedeldee and Tweedeldum began vying with each other in 1992 to kiss the butts of the "lower taxes" crowd.

There is no Green concept that H4H and other charities will pick up the slack in housing. Both the NDP and Greens are calling for a national housing plan with comparable targets. It is not just the right of people to become tenants but the right of everyone to be able to buy and/or build themselves a home. In the film "End of Suburbia" I was struck by the massive effort after WW2 to build housing in the US. Something like two million homes built in a matter of a few years. That kind of determination is needed to create affordable housing but it can't just come from the federal government but needs to involve the municipalities and provinces to change building codes and other regulations to allow for innovative and 'green' housing construction. The massive, inefficient 'cookie cutter' assembly line style housing being built now is not the way to do it.

Small business is not just a 'dreamy' idea but a vital component. Businesses need to be connected directly to the community. There needs to be collective will to break the hold of large domestic corporations and multi-nationals. More community owned coop businesses are also necessary but these are mostly small/medium sized businesses in nature.

Globalization is a failure and fair trade is the only way to go. Developing countries need to be able to fully address the minimum standards of living within their own borders. The concept that a developing nation cannot sell or provide, as it sees fit, food within its own domestic market.

You have to change people's attitudes and provide alternatives. The stronger the NDP and Greens put forward their alternatives the more people will be willing to give up on the other parties. Then real change can happen. But it won't happen with the liberals and conservatives.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 10 March 2008 07:15 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by George Victor:
At war's end, 10 per cent of the population had something to spare beyond the necessities for investing. Now, practically all have a stake in "the market" - even a percentage of the CPP growth is market-dependant.

Yes. Our stock market geniuses with CPP investment board apparently lost several billion dollars gambling it away in the first two or three years since 1999. We've got billions of dollars in Canadian pension funds being invested in U.S. and globalizing casino economy.

And foreign ownership restrictions are loosened since FTA-NAFTA. TNC's and rich Americans have scooped up 12, 000 Canadian corporations and crown assets since 1985, and our own oligarchs and pension fund managers complain that there is no place left to invest in Canada. Those ideeots?(ideologues + idiots = ideeots)

Meanwhile, we are short of family doctors in this northern Puerto Rico - looking at a $130 billion dollar and growing infrastructure deficit - real median incomes haven't changed between 1982 and 2004 - and an Environics polls said that nearly three-quarters of Canadians feel they haven't gained anything by rising GDP's(oiw's, a resurgence of new-old hewer and drawer economy since 2005)

[ 10 March 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 10 March 2008 02:16 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Education and promoting personal responsibility can change that direction but it will take time


We don't have time and personal responsibility is no match for mass programming and consumption.

quote:

Brain washing victimization which says we are not responsible for the choices we make also feeds the problem.


Children are raised in front of televisions. Most North American children today would rather be in a mall than in a forest. Most children have no idea where their food comes from but they do know the price of Guitar Hero II. To suggest the mass marketing effect of television does not have a tremendous and overwhelming influence on the "choices" we make is to deny reality.

An example:

quote:
Yosemite may be nice and all, but Tommy Nguyen of San Francisco would much prefer spending his day in front of a new video game or strolling around the mall with his buddies.

What, after all, is a 15-year-old supposed to do in what John Muir called "the grandest of all special temples of nature" without cell phone service?

"I'd rather be at the mall because you can enjoy yourself walking around looking at stuff as opposed to the woods," Nguyen said from the comfort of the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall.
Source


Yes, so I'm a doomer. So let's not beat about the bush. It is already too late. On one hand, we can't stop the global capitalist consumer merry-go-round of destruction because, if we do, there is catastrophe. But, if it continues ... there is catastrophe.

You see, we are screwed either way. We are trapped in a Chinese finger puzzle of our own making.

We are creatures of our biology and we are doing what we have been programmed to do which is to breed, consume, overshoot, and collapse.

It's not like it hasn't happened before. The difference is this time it is on a global basis. And if humans still exist after the collapse, we will do it all over again because despite our large brains, and intelligence, we can't resist our biology.

Let me revisit that. On a small scale, in family groups or clans, where social pressure can exert behavioural changes, we can resist our biology. But once social pressure is no longer effective, once we move beyond small social groupings into towns, cities, states, and nations, biology, marked by over-breeding, over-consumption, and violence, takes over and puts us on a treadmill that will repeat at ever greater severity until once more there is global overshoot and collapse.

We have achieved overshoot and we are furiously working on a global collapse.

I have said this before: Every earth system is under stress: atmosphere, soil cycle, hydrological cycle, forests, bio-diversity, extinctions, oceans, you name it. If the planet was a human body we would be anticipating a complete failure of vital organs.

I don't think it matters what we do now other than as individuals. And if you can get land with good soil near reasonably clean fresh water, that is what you should do in my opinion. If not for yourself, for your kids.

Don't just take my word for it. Do your own research.

We are applying massive industrial extraction processes, without any regard for human or environmental welfare, to the planet in a final, desperate rush for the buffet table.

And let's be clear about something else. Green energy or products or whatever, managed by a capitalist economy is toxic from the get go. Here is another example:

quote:
The first time Li Gengxuan saw the dump trucks from the nearby factory pull into his village, he couldn't believe what happened. Stopping between the cornfields and the primary school playground, the workers dumped buckets of bubbling white liquid onto the ground. Then they turned around and drove right back through the gates of their compound without a word.

This ritual has been going on almost every day for nine months, Li and other villagers said.

In China, a country buckling with the breakneck pace of its industrial growth, such stories of environmental pollution are not uncommon. But the Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology Co., here in the central plains of Henan Province near the Yellow River, stands out for one reason: It's a green energy company, producing polysilicon destined for solar energy panels sold around the world. But the byproduct of polysilicon production -- silicon tetrachloride -- is a highly toxic substance



Solar Energy Firms Leave Waste Behind in China

[ 10 March 2008: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 10 March 2008 02:21 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by George Victor:
M. Dion said he supported Layton's idea, but would not support the motion in the house for strategic reasons.

Strategic reasons? So wimpering in the corner is a strategy now, eh Mr. Dion?


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
mimeguy
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posted 10 March 2008 08:08 PM      Profile for mimeguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
FM
quote:
We don't have time and personal responsibility is no match for mass programming and consumption.

No I believe you are wrong. Personal responsibility is precisely the means to counter mass programming. And there is time if we stand up and declare ourselves now in terms of who we vote for. We are not on a doomsday run where Charlton Heston cries out at the end, “Soylent Green is people”

quote:
Brain washing victimization which says we are not responsible for the choices we make also feeds the problem.
________________________________________

Children are raised in front of televisions. Most North American children today would rather be in a mall than in a forest. Most children have no idea where their food comes from but they do know the price of Guitar Hero II. To suggest the mass marketing effect of television does not have a tremendous and overwhelming influence on the "choices" we make is to deny reality.


Again how is this anyone’s fault but people responsible for raising children? There are thousands of kids with the exact opposite inclination. I don’t deny the reality that advertising is effective I dispute the nonsense that we have become brainless robots. Children don't know where their food comes from but their parents do. Schools do. Governments do. Government has to change and it will. People’s attitudes have to change and they are.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 10 March 2008 08:20 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Scott Piatkowski:
So wimpering in the corner is a strategy now, eh Mr. Dion?

Hmmm...

Perhaps, following the model of 'a murder of crows' or 'a gaggle of geese,' a small group of fewer than a dozen Liberal MPs should now be known by the collective noun 'a wimper of Liberals'; larger groups can be termed 'an abstention of Liberals.'

quote:
Only 11 Liberals voted for an NDP non-confidence motion condemning the government for failing to respect international climate agreements and for its refusal to adopt opposition-approved legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Other Liberals MPs were present but didn't vote.

[snip]

Dion himself voted for the motion. But the failure of most Liberals to vote on an issue their leader claims to champion will give rival parties ammunition to paint Dion as either a hypocrite or a weak leader who's unwilling to stand up for his principles.


[ 10 March 2008: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 10 March 2008 10:59 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
FM: "Yes, so I'm a doomer. So let's not beat about the bush. It is already too late. On one hand, we can't stop the global capitalist consumer merry-go-round of destruction because, if we do, there is catastrophe. But, if it continues ... there is catastrophe.

You see, we are screwed either way. We are trapped in a Chinese finger puzzle of our own making.

We are creatures of our biology and we are doing what we have been programmed to do which is to breed, consume, overshoot, and collapse."

You're way too fatalistic FM. The economy can survive whatever people can, it always does, and even our supposedly natural inclinations can be resisted when necessary or sublimated towards more positive ends. We've also evolved more positive potentials, like the ability to connect A to B and back. We just haven't been using it much since the permanently infantile Yuppie scum took over. Yeah, a lot of the damage can't be undone now but what we do now can still make a huge difference.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
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posted 10 March 2008 11:13 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
SGM: " quote riginally posted by Scott Piatkowski:
So wimpering in the corner is a strategy now, eh Mr. Dion?

Hmmm...

Perhaps, following the model of 'a murder of crows' or 'a gaggle of geese,' a small group of fewer than a dozen Liberal MPs should now be known by the collective noun 'a wimper of Liberals'; larger groups can be termed 'an abstention of Liberals.'"

That's good. The NDP should hammer away on how the Liberals have refused to stand up for anything but themselves, and obviously have no intention of doing anything different from Harper if elected again. They're nothing but a total waste of Parliamentary space now. I'm embarrassed I ever even considered supporting Dion.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sean in Ottawa
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posted 11 March 2008 10:15 AM      Profile for Sean in Ottawa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I had been away from this discussion for a while-- due to mostly computer hardware and time reasons. This has turned into a really interesting discussion.

Frustrated Mess connects the dots in a way that I totally agree with and had meant to. The capitalist system is directly linked to growth in that it both depends on it and is responsible for it. Stability and social well being are simply not capitalist objectives. The capitalist system is niether socially or environmentally sustainable. Unfortunately, given the invested interests it has enough power to do a lot of damage before blowing itself out.


From: Ottawa | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 11 March 2008 10:55 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The "capitalist system" is what we are led to believe drives our economies. In fact, capitalism and market economics is a large part of our economy but certainly not all of it. If our economies were entirely market-driven, we'd all be dead or in debtor's prisons by now while Romans live highest on the hog. There are some things which work and are worth salvaging.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 11 March 2008 10:59 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
No I believe you are wrong. Personal responsibility is precisely the means to counter mass programming. And there is time if we stand up and declare ourselves now in terms of who we vote for. We are not on a doomsday run where Charlton Heston cries out at the end, “Soylent Green is people”

Yeah, tell you what, get yourself invited to the next Lion's Club or Rotary Club meeting and ask for a showing of hands for people who have heard of "peak oil". Ask how many are planning a cruise, eat baby shrimp, or can explain why food prices are suddenly going up? Ask how many are giving up their vehicles, or giving up their SUVs, or will forego plane travel. Stand outside a Wal-Mart and tell the people going in they should shop at the Salvation Army instead. Stand on a street corner and count the brands as they walk by.

I once thought as you do. But the reality is most people watch television. It is where they get their news and entertainment and often at the same time. An excellent example is the number of Americans persuaded that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and the WMDs were found after only a few months of intense, media supported, propaganda.

And you plan to compete with that how? Talk to everyone one at a time, and then follow-up weekly?

quote:

There are thousands of kids with the exact opposite inclination.


Among millions of kids?

quote:

Again how is this anyone’s fault but people responsible for raising children?


In a culture where family bonds have been broken, where television ownership is considered a must, and where placing a child in front of a TV while getting dinner on or a laundry completed is often the only choice.
quote:

I dispute the nonsense that we have become brainless robots.


Then explain political discourse and the elections of Bush and Harper. The most powerful man in the "free world" is an imbecile but represents Western thought.

quote:

Children don't know where their food comes from but their parents do. Schools do. Governments do.


Are you sure? Governments think food comes from something called agri-business.

quote:

Government has to change and it will. People’s attitudes have to change and they are.


No, I don't think so. The whole focus of so-called renewable energy is on keeping the destructive automobile culture rolling along no matter the cost. The role of government is to protect and promote corporate interests. People follow. That is why marketing is so successful. Bush isn't unpopular because he went to war in Iraq committed mass murder, smashed the cradle of civilization, and is involved in genocide. He is unpopular because gas is above $3 a gallon and is on its way to $4.

quote:
You're way too fatalistic FM.

Actually, I'm very optimistic. But sometimes the writing on the wall is just too obvious to ignore. In our world, money is more important than life. All life.

[ 11 March 2008: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
George Victor
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14683

posted 11 March 2008 06:03 PM      Profile for George Victor        Edit/Delete Post
I once had a 100 acres on the edge of the bush in Lanark County, FM. It was cold war time and it seemed like a good idea to have a retreat where the world could do what it wanted, I'd be self-sufficient.
Exchanged that for an attempt to see how we got into that condition.
Enlightenment came with reading, but no solutions.

However, as Charles Taylor pointed out back then, things will get worse before they get better, and with general understanding will come collective action.

That's where we're at right now. The Rotarians and Lions are frightened holdouts in their little enclaves because they're small business people who have no idea of an alternate future and don't really want to hear about one.

Inveigled my way onto a local library board, thinking that bookish surroundings might promote discussion of change, but found myself having to take on the gadfly role. (It's easier for an old fart who does not have be concerned about earning a living and the concomitant social niceties.)

Fellow board members have to endure talk of future considerations, beyond the now.

And that future is where such discussion groups as this should be going, once it's understood that it's going to need collective - not individual- action, at the political level. And Monbiot's ratiioning is going to be involved, along with lots of other tough measures, and lots of social support.

I also think that you are indeed a positive force, FM. Admirably so. And if your circumstances allow it, try a shot at playing the role of mole. As events develop, you'll rapidly go from being a pain in the derriere to seer. And your experiences in the interval -keep it light - will provide entertainment to family and friends. Bon chance.


From: Cambridge, ON | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1299

posted 11 March 2008 06:49 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sgm:
Perhaps, following the model of 'a murder of crows' or 'a gaggle of geese,' a small group of fewer than a dozen Liberal MPs should now be known by the collective noun 'a wimper of Liberals'; larger groups can be termed 'an abstention of Liberals.'

Oddly enough, fellow babbler ravijo and I were discussing this very topic a week-and-a-half ago on a road trip to an NDP meeting in London. He mentioned that he and some friends had been trying to come up with a name for a group of Liberals and I chimed in with "an abstention of Liberals", which we immediately declared "the winner". Great minds, yada yada


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Erik Redburn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5052

posted 14 March 2008 10:11 PM      Profile for Erik Redburn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
FM: "Actually, I'm very optimistic. But sometimes the writing on the wall is just too obvious to ignore. In our world, money is more important than life. All life."

I'm sorry FM but you don't sound very optimistic to me, saying that it's already too late as self destruction is in our genes. I agree with you that "market based" solutions (as conceived so far) aren't the answer but I don't believe the choices are quite as stark as all that. I don't see the point in believing it either.


From: Broke but not bent. | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged

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