Category Archives: Buy a Better World

When Money Is Power, Business Owners Are King

We all have the most to gain by working together, yet we’re not doing that. Instead, we’re fighting each other tooth and nail in a dog-eat-dog rat race. We’re treating everyone like our enemies. We’re cutting everyone’s throats, stabbing everyone in the back or turning a blind eye to each other’s’ problems. Look where it has gotten us. People are building bunkers preparing for the apocalypse. Nobody questions whether there will be another war, just how soon it’ll happen.

So the world’s going to hell in a handbasket because everyone is acting stupid and mistreating each other even though the people we’re discriminating against are the only people in the universe who can help us build the most advanced world possible. We all have our excuses, but in the end, no matter how justified those excuses are, the end result is still that if we don’t work together we can’t build the most advanced world possible.

So the question is this, “What are you going to do?” Of course, we’ve all been asked that before. A lot of us have been asking ourselves that question a lot. The only problem is we don’t know what we can do. Sure, we can vote, but how much potential progress has that turned into reality in the past 60 years? Where’s it gotten us? It’s gotten us to where we are today. We’ve given billions to charity, but half of that gets siphoned off to “administrative expenses,” stolen or mismanaged. There’s a question as to whether the money that does make it to the intended recipients helps them more than it enables a brutal cycle of dependency.

The question of “what we can do” is a complicated one because the truth of the matter is that we don’t have as much power as we like to tell ourselves. Truth is, most of us barely have the power to take care of our own lives. Some of us don’t even have that much power. So how can we be expected to save the poor if we can’t even save ourselves?

Ask yourself, how did the people with all the power get it? They bought it. Money represents anything it can buy, including power. In fact, the only way to get power is to buy it. Sure, you can take power with force, but force costs money. You can win power through popularity, but popularity costs money. No matter how you cut the cake, money is power.

"Money equals power; power makes the law; and law makes government." Kim Stanley

If you want to change the world, then you need power. If you want power then you need money to buy it. If you want money you need to make it. And you don’t need to do anything illegal, violent or terroristic to make money. In fact, the best way to make money is to start a legal business. That’s how all the most powerful people in the world today came to power; they started a legal business and made their money right on the store shelves in plain view of the entire public, and that wouldn’t have hurt or killed anyone if they hadn’t gotten greedy. Somewhere along the line, they lost sight of the fact that we all have the most to gain by helping the most amount of people as much as possible over the long haul. Then they decided to help themselves to as much as possible as quickly as possible, and they sold the rest of us out and exploited us to make that happen.

The most lucrative (and thus most potentially powerful) way to change our lives is to follow the example of the people who took our lives from us. We need to start our own legal businesses because that’s where we stand to make the most money. The more money we make the more we can build a sustainable lifestyle that reduces our dependency on the archaic and inhumane systems that we have to reluctantly serve today. The less dependent we become on the systems that prey on the poor the weaker those systems will become.

Even if you didn’t own a share of the system, wouldn’t you want a system in place that didn’t own (or have any interest in ever owning) you? If any part of this idea appeals to you, I can promise you that the system with the most power will always be the system with the most money. The system with the most money will always be the system that sells the most goods and/or services. If you want to have any power over the environment you live in, you have to own a share or be an employee of (or be in the good graces of) the system that sells the most goods and/or services.

You only have as much control over your life as you have over your environment. In the world we live in, the amount of control you have over your environment is relative to the percentage of the wealth you own within that environment. When you look at the entire globe as a finite environment it looks to me like people’s lives suck because they don’t have enough control over their environment, and the main reason they don’t have control over the environments they live in is because the people with all the money (and thus power) are exploiting their positions of power to force the poor to work under worse conditions for less pay so the rich and powerful can have more money and more power.

Even if there’s not any bizarre Illuminati conspiracy theory, there’s still no denying that the rich are screwing over the poor. In fact, you can look it up in any intro level economics textbook. The backbone of our economy is based on the idea that businesses need to pay as little as possible to produce goods and services that they sell for as much as possible. The idea is that you have the most to gain by screwing the most amount of people for as much as possible. If you don’t believe me, go fill out a loan application at your nearest bank.

I’m not saying it’s the only way or the end-all best way for the poor to take control of our environments, but as best as I can tell from where I’m standing, the best bet we have to make our dreams come true is to start our own perfectly legal businesses and earn more money than the bastards who are making our lives suck more than they have to.

If we want to control our lives, we need to own our own businesses and reduce our personal expenses. We can kill two birds with one stone by living in our offices. That way we won’t have to buy our own homes. We won’t have to commute. We won’t have to pay for repairs to our property out of our own pocket. And any fun and luxurious amenities we wanted in our house we could bill to the company and call an “office improvement.” And we wouldn’t have to hide it because we would own the company and get to decide what the company’s profits are spent on. It wouldn’t be illegal or immoral in any way.

You could spend your life working and financing someone else who is going to use that money to pamper themselves and hold your head down farther, or you could start your own business and spend your life working and financing your own security without having to hold anyone else’s head down. The only thing you would have to do is exactly what you already do. Just instead of doing it for a greedy leech, do it for yourself and share the wealth with your fellow workers equitably.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 Build a Better World
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The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement

The World Won’t Improve Until You Stop Being A Consumer Whore

In order to understand why the world won’t get better until you stop being a consumer whore, you have to understand how the economy works: Businesses don’t make money unless they sell products. The more stuff we buy the more money businesses make. In theory, this should create jobs, and it does, but it creates as few jobs as possible, because the goal of business is to make as much money as possible for the owners and investors. They maximize their take-home pay by making as few workers as possible work as long as they can get away with, paying their workers as little as they can get away with, making as cheap of quality of products as they can get away with and selling them for as much as they can get away with.

Businesses can only sell as many products as customers are willing to buy, and people don’t have any motivation to buy things they don’t need. In order to remove this roadblock to profits, big businesses have dumped billions of dollars into studying human psychology in order to perfect the art of manipulating consumers. Today advertisements are ubiquitous and effective. We are inundated with them to the point that we accept an advertisement-saturated life as the norm. Inevitably we grow up buying crap we don’t need with money we can’t afford to spend. We’re all guilty, but for what it’s worth, we’re as much victims as we are offenders.

But make no mistake, we are offenders. Every time we buy something we don’t need, big business owners and investors take home profit that they can hoard, invest in more brainwashing advertisements, or influence politicians to pass laws that make it easier for them to screw more people harder, quicker. At the same time, every time we spend a dollar on something we don’t need we take a step away from financial independence and a step towards dependency on whoever is going to give us our next dollar. The less financially independent we are the more desperate we’ll be. The more financially desperate we are the less money and dignity we’ll demand from our employers.

Mass consumerism makes life in the present less enjoyable for everyone who gets squeezed by greedy businesses, and given enough time, it will make the planet unlivable. Our factories are tearing through the world’s resources as fast as possible in a mad dash to make cheap, barely-useful junk that will end up in a landfill within a year. The fewer resources the world has the more expensive they will become in the future, and thus the more expensive consumer goods will become, which will make economic disparity even worse. If the economy doesn’t change then eventually the majority of the population will live in polluted ghettos where there is no hope of upward mobility. In fact, this has already happened in the poorest areas of the world.

Arial photo of an endless shanty-town ghetto in a third world country

The survival and expansion of the economic system that creates inhumane slums depends on us buying mass-produced stuff we don’t need.

You might defend your purchasing habits by pointing out that if we don’t buy consumer goods, then companies won’t make money. Then they won’t have money to pay any workers or expand production to create any new jobs. This argument isn’t justification for continuing business as usual; it simply states why the current system is oppressive and unsustainable. The call to action it raises shouldn’t be to keep feeding the beast. The call to action should be to redesign our economic model so that workers and consumers aren’t caught in an inescapable downward spiral of economic oppression.

It would be a shame for people to lose their jobs and their meager livelihoods by starving the system to the breaking point, but people are living in hunger and fear now, and that’s only going to get worse the longer we continue doing what we’ve been doing. Starving the economy to the breaking point would at least allow us to start over and change directions. There is another alternative though, start building sustainable communities now and slowly transition workers from the oppressive system to a more humanitarian one. Unfortunately, it will cost a lot of money to build sustainable communities since those materials will have to be bought from companies that charge as much as possible. However, if the poor stopped being consumer whores, saved their money and worked together instead of fighting each other for the scraps that fall from their masters’ table we could build a better world.

One way or the other though, the world won’t change until you stop being a consumer whore.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World
Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Fixing the Economy

Buy A Better World By Donating Dividends

Graphic of a small plant growing money symbols out of its branches

Many people give away a percentage of their income to charities each year. The more of a percentage of your income you give away, the more I believe this idea would help create the effect you’re looking to accomplish, which is to make the world a better place.

Instead of just outright giving away your money, find a company on the stock market engaged in doing something you feel is worthwhile. This could be companies that make products and services that help the poorest of the poor directly, like desalinization technology, or ones that help indirectly, like cell phone manufacturers. Find one that pays dividends, and invest in that company. Then donate your dividends to charity to help those who can’t wait for technology or the economy to catch up to their plight.

Going this route, your initial investment will grow and allow you to give away more money in the long run in addition to helping a needed business grow. When you’re ready to cash out and retire, you can sell off all your stocks so you don’t become destitute yourself.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Fixing the Economy
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One Dollar Equals One Vote In The Economy

"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want." Anna Lappe

The term, “free market” is defined as, “an economic system in which prices and wages are determined by unrestricted competition between businesses, without government regulation or fear of monopolies.” The American economy is not strictly a free market. There’s a lot of regulation that goes on, but by and large, the general population determines what’s sold and how much it’s sold for via supply and demand. If we don’t want something that’s offered, we won’t buy it, and then business offering it will cease to exist. If we want something, we’ll buy it, and the more we want it, the more we’ll pay for it.

The more money we spend on a certain product or service, the more money that business will make. Thus, the more money that business will have to reinvest into making that product or service better. As investors see us spending our money in certain places they’ll start more business to fill that need. That drives up competition and forces each business in that field to make even better products for potentially lower, more competitive prices.

There’s no ballot box where we deposit our voting slips and determine what we want businesses to sell us, but there are cash registers and dollars. A free market is a democracy where we vote with our dollars, and we suck at voting. If we took all the money we spent on sports over the past 30 years and invested all of that money into energy we’d all be riding around in flying cars right now. If we took all the money we spent on designer clothes in the past 30 years and invested it in public transportation there’d be no traffic. If we took all the money we spent on movies and invested it in housing there’d be no homelessness. We’ve done a good job of voting on computers at least. For every other bad decision, there’s Master Card.

As we watch banks collapse and the economy lag, we hear a lot of talk about the role regulation and deregulation of business practices has played, and it’s all very confusing. We’re all looking for someone to point the finger at. We need a scapegoat, and I have no doubt that one will be found for us. It won’t solve our problems, but it’ll make us feel better because we won’t have to point the fingers at ourselves. We won’t have to admit that gas prices are so high because we voted for it by buying Hummers. We won’t have to admit that the reason so many mortgages have defaulted is because we voted on mass-produced houses we couldn’t afford in unsustainable suburbs. The reason we’re worrying about whether or not we’ll have the basic necessities of life when we retire is because we didn’t vote on them. We voted on Pepsi, Prada, Persian rugs, iPods, Hollywood, Harley Davidson, Marlboro, Ikea, and Viagra.

There are a lot of corporate villains and incompetent politicians out there who have done a lot of unethical things to bankrupt the economy, but we shouldn’t forget we voted in all of these mistakes with our dollars, and we should take responsibility for it and feel ashamed. However, that won’t do us any good unless we use that shame to vote wiser in the future. Don’t waste your money. Spend responsibly on the things that matter, and the things that matter will improve. Not wasting your money on things you don’t need will also allow you to save money to give you a cushion when things go bad. Then, the shit will never hit the fan.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 Build a Better World
Buy a Better World
Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Fixing the Economy

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