Summary: Dave Pollard' s interested in How to Save the World (also the name of his weblog). His arguments and suggestions are very much worth your time.
He just wrote, for example, a marvelously focused essay (see bottom of page) on the necessity for containment of corporate consciousness and action. In it he concludes:
It must be stopped. Americans must start working together to use the only resources that haven't already largely slipped from their control -- their votes and their dollars -- to stop the coup and take back their country from rapacious corporations and their political handmaidens. To do this they must:
Politicians will only learn to behave responsibly when they are held to account by informed citizens, and forced to wean themselves off the patronage of corporate elites. Corporations will only learn to behave responsibly when they are stripped of legal and tax protections that encourage them to behave otherwise, and lose in the marketplace to businesses that put people and community welfare above profits.
- Demand that political leaders support aggressive programs to end corporatism and undue political influence, including the elimination of corporate 'personhood' and other corporate 'rights', campaign finance reform, and the elimination of indemnity of corporate managers and directors from litigation for corporate misdeeds. This will be the most difficult change, since it literally requires politicians to bite the hand that feeds them.
- Demand that political leaders reform corporate taxation to prevent corporations from using offshore tax havens, strongly discourage them from eliminating or exporting jobs, and penalize them for environmental destruction and wasteful resource consumption.
- Demand that political leaders put a total moratorium on the sale to private interests of public lands, property and resource rights, on the basis that these public resources belong to the people.
- Demand that political leaders revoke 'free trade' agreements, and replace them with statutes that strongly discourage international trade in goods and services that can be readily provided locally (even if they can be produced elsewhere cheaper), and strongly encourage international trade in goods and services that cannot be readily produced locally.
- Refuse to buy imported products when domestic products are, or should be, available, even when those imported products are cheaper in price.
- Refuse to support retailers that import the majority of their merchandise. Identify, publicize, and organize nationwide boycotts of the products and services of corporations that have eliminated valuable jobs (and hence lowered the quality of their products and customer service) or exported jobs to lower-cost countries.
- Support local businesses that employ people at reasonable salaries and show social and environmental responsibility for the community.
- Learn to take responsibility for their own employment by establishing new local businesses with high labour standards, and high social and environmental standards, which place a greater value on the well-being of their people and communities than on their profitability.
Think his criticism is extravagant ? Perhaps biting the hand that feeds us all? Yes the changes would amount to a self-imposed revolution, but I'd like to think that Americans still have a sufficient mettle to choose and travel a difficult path to survival when the alternative is "the bottom".
While you're at it you should look at his signature essay How to Save the World an ecological essay. After recommending detailed changes he concludes:
That is my prescription for saving the world. Before it can work we need to do [three] other things first:
- We need to change our own minds, one person at a time, to the point where enough of us share an understanding of the problem and agree at a basic level on an Agenda for Action, such as the one I've outlined above.
- We need to come to believe that the change is possible, that it's not hopeless, that we're not the crazies in this world, and that it is possible to break through others' ignorance, cultural barriers, natural propensity for denial, procrastination, fear of change, resistance to hearing bad news and sense of hopelessness, and hence get them to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.
- There is a third prerequisite for change. Some of the solutions and processes I've suggested in this Weblog may appear quite bloodless. We cannot win the debate for the validity and necessity of these actions by purely intellectual argument. Only a small part of the enormous collective energy that must be engaged to turn our world around will stem from the fact that this is rationally, analytically an appropriate set of actions to achieve a logical goal. Much, most of the energy we must galvanize must be emotional, visceral, born from the innate knowledge that beyond logic and reason this is a cause that we are ready to commit totally to, it is inherently just, moral, human, a way to recover what we instinctively know is missing, to correct what we sense, with all that makes us what we are, is terribly and grotesquely out of balance on our planet. We did not end the Vietnam War by brilliant intellectual argument, we ended it because our passion, more than our ideas, outshone and outlasted the passion of the other side. Only through that kind of passion can we save ourselves from ourselves.
We are hospital workers in the ER trying together
against incredible odds to save a horribly ill patient. And we are
doing so in tears.