6. Juni 2010 von Anne | kein Kommentar
Did you ever ponder on the difference between choosing options and creating options in a society? The difference between the freedom of choice of a given variety of goods, politics or lifestyles and creating those things on your own?
And, did you ever spent a single thought about what happens to you, if you just compare, value and choose, but don’t built, prepare, set up, shape, make or bring anything into being on your own? To say it in other words: if you only consume other’s thoughts, products and ideas?
The intended and unintended side effects of this fundamental feature of consumers societies was object of our examinations at the climax of our workshop. As a warming up for the beginning of our workshop sequence, we took a closer look at the destructive impact of highly industrialized consumers society for the ecosystem planet Earth and on the livelihood of the poor. Especially the incredible situation of cotton growers in India, Africa and the Aral Sea area on the one hand, and the slavery like working conditions in Chinese jeans factories provided a new perspective on our appetite for shopping.
Just today, we figured out what kind of poor guys actually we, in a affluent society, are: Being caught in a world of “one dimensional universe of thought and behavior” (Herbert Marcuse); “having” instead of “being” (Erich Fromm) and a culture of “kidults”, whose social function is to shop excessively instead of taking over responsibility (Benjamin Barber). Recent version of capitalism wouldn’t work, if we just lay around on a meadow enjoying the sun and playing cards with friends. Or if the ratio of buying and self made would be turned around. Growth would turn into degrowth. And a shrinking GNP seems to be the ghost of noways. Many measurements are taken to dispel this ghost. Most obvious ones are massive marketing and commercialization in more and more spheres and a standardized public communication in mass media and politics: Did you ever wonder why the case of cotton farmer’s suicides in India find hardly a way in our main news? And practices of Coca-Cola company? Or Bayer’s responsibility in the field of massive pesticide poisonings? Who has put the veil of ignorance on media and people’s mind??? Why does the majority take the world for granted, instead of asking, why don’t we change the world, as we would like it to be? You might find roots for that “positivism” even in our education system: We are to reproduce answers instead of question the answers. There is subject on consumers freedom and responsibilities.
That takes us to the beginning of this text: In an affluent society, that relies on the vast majority to shop more and more, people are to choose from the menue – not to be critical and create own options.