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Our Economy Or The Environment?

Sunday, September 1st, 2013 by Guest Commentator


By E. J. Sieyes

#1. Our Economy or the Environment?

A criticism raised by industrialists and labor is that our environmental initiatives constrain the economy and as a result cost American jobs. In some ways this is a legitimate complaint. Many of our past initiatives do have an adverse impact on the economy, costing jobs and raising the prices of American-made products. Yet a choice between jobs and the environment is not our only option – we can have both. In fact our efforts to protect the environment can strengthen American industry, add jobs, and bolster our economy.

For this to happen we must recognize that we live in a world where the environment is global while our economy is local. Wind and water have no national boundaries. What affects the environment in one nation eventually impacts all nations world-wide. Satellite images show a huge cloud of air pollution over Asia, pollution that did not exist just a few decades ago. Samples of ocean fish taken close to the estuaries of major Asian rivers are starting to show measurable amounts of organic toxins and heavy metals, again to the extent not seen decades ago. This pollution would not exist if measures well-known at the time were taken to prevent pollution as we grew Asian industry.

Industrialists argue against the environment based on cost of pollution abatement. Yet the cost of such measures as would effectively reduce or eliminate this added burden of World pollution would have been economical to incorporate at the time of creating this Asian industrial capacity. Why did industrialists and business magnates not accept their responsibility to the larger World civilization? Did they fear it would cut into profits and the amount of wealth they could amass? Do they intend to pass on this burden to their descendents while reaping immediate profits exploiting nations unable or unwilling to protect their environment?

Consider the impact on the environment if the cost of environmental protection was mandatory in the total economic analysis for producing products and delivering services. We can compel this total cost of production by one simple national measure: prohibit the import of all goods produced in-whole or in-part in nations that do not enforce environmental protection provisions equivalent to or better than those in the United States. Consider the benefit to the environment as nations build-in environmental protection as they industrialize. Consider how manufacturing jobs will be brought back to the United States as companies find it is more economical to produce goods where environmental protection already exists.

Are our major political parties considering such measures? Despite all their claims, all their posturing, all their platform statements, the answer is a resounding NO! Big money control of both major parties will continue to exploit the environment in the quest for ever greater wealth at the expense of the have-nots of the World and our future generations.


Saturday, August 17th, 2013 by Darin Robbins

Not only does the Occupy movement have a rich past and dynamic present, but regardless of being now ignored by the media, it has a potential future. (Based on a presentation given to the Peace And Justice Group of Bath, New York in October of 2012.)

The Occupy movement is more than one year old, and much has happened in the world. Inspired by these years of worldwide revolution, people have decided to come together to offer a new dialogue and a new vision for the country and the world. Not only is there the resistance to income inequality, corporate power, and austerity but the creation of new political and economic forms that offer a brighter promise of the future. This is despite the increased repression of peaceful demonstrations by the police, who in this context are clearly agents of the state rather than protectors of the public. The depiction of this police brutality through the lens of a reluctant and corporate controlled media has made a demarcation between the haves and the have nots much more clear and specific. The world is now fully aware of the conflict between the 99% and the 1% which has been a product of the policies of the past 30 years. The 99% were those who have been most affected by the economic crisis, while the 1% were those who have survived the crisis unscathed due to their inordinate wealth and power. As time passes, and to further cement this awareness, there needs to be a history of the movement to understand where it can go next. This history not only details what happened, but also how and why it happened. The people of the world can never go back to what was before, and so a new topology must be mapped out so that the past mistakes and crimes can never be repeated. The potential for change is strong if the understanding of the movement is strong.

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Saturday, April 20th, 2013 by Darin Robbins

On Immanence:

1. Immanence is internal causality, in that any action or phenomenon in a structure occurs within that structure and each part has the potential to affect any other part. All things in reality can be defined as structures in that each thing can be made up of parts that are in relationships with each other.

2. This internal causality means that the structure in question has autonomy. Autonomy can be defined as “self law” or self-determination, and is a form of freedom that is independent of external forces.

3. Autonomy results in the formation of many cases of direct democracy and an abundance of the commons. Democracy is the method where individuals in groups are able to practice autonomy, while the commons is the resources that allow individuals and groups to make free choices and free actions because of their equality of access to those necessary resources.

4. The many cases of democracy and the abundance of the commons are used as an apparent tool by participants. Participants make use of democracy and the commons in a very self-aware way to further autonomy in the understanding that these tools are their own creation and are meant for this purpose.

5. The apparent tools of democracy and the commons are an expression of desire. Humans can either passively consume external things to fill the lack they have within themselves to fulfill their drive, or they can actively produce things in the world to fulfill their desire.

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