Sunday 16 January 2011

Industrial Consumption &
the Entremanurial Spirit

For the record, I am an industrial consumer. I eat me the hell outta some mutherfuckin' 'tater chips, just to take one example. People like me are the reason they don't make resealable bags. Or, anyway, the chip-clip wasn't created with me in mind.

Still, I don't answer my phone when I have company.

Ten years ago, if you didn't have a mobile telephone, you just weren't that hip. Or your job didn't require it. Yet. Today, do without it and you're some kind of misanthrope. This despite its users' anti-social behavior:
Have you ever met someone for coffee, only to sit awkwardly as they send text messages the whole time?

Even wannabe ascetics have certain predilections or make exceptions: from vegetarians who eat eggs and fish, to cyclists who change their tires every spring.

And then there are folks who will only communicate to you via certain media. And I am guilty. I won't text anymore and, indeed, avoid turning on my mobile phone whenever I can get away with it. But I like email. Or use it.

I've come to know that there are certain people who spend loads of time social networking, but just don't get around to email much. And I suppose sometimes this behavior is by design.

(Had the Cuban Missile Crisis happened today, JFK could've responded to Khrushchev's email, and ignored "the Kremlin's tweet".)

Diets without Borders
I've been thinking about how this relates to supply-side economics: the "underdeveloped world's" lacking its plentiful bounty; how the developed world has gotten fat off the contents of its 30% more packaging; how entrepreneurs know better than to eat their own shit and threaten unemployment if you raise their taxes; that the byproduct of tax-relief trickles down to the lower classes in the form of the aforementioned shit.

Industrial consumption is the default mode which devours that which is so mass-produced that its consumers argue that there just aren't any alternatives - even before there aren't any alternatives.

In any industry, it begins with an idea, which is then marketed. Then there is the choice. When its a hit, its everywhere. You just gotta get one! It doesn't take long for a product to become prerequisite to remaining functionally social.

Mothers of Invention
But how many of those creations were for a need and not just a want? And how many of those wants hadn't actually occurred to the average consumer, who would subsequently eat that shit up so much that it would then become the standard?

Case in point: Facebook and Facebook the Movie. Edible case in point: read about the history of the banana (but for god's sake not the United Fruit version; though that would still be enlightening, as nimrods' cover stories tend to be).

Enter the need to eat chickens that don't spread diseases. A couple of nuggets from that piece:
The team believes that the genetic modification they have introduced is harmless to the chickens and to people who might eat the birds.
I'm wary of beliefs; they are more obstinate than diseases.
The researchers say they think the technology has the potential to boost food production and reduce costs.
Ah, yes. The money quote.
"As the demand for animal products increases and it's going to get increasingly expensive and we are looking at different ways to tackle that problem."
Suppose those demand increases might stem from reduced costs?
In addition to that, produce would need to be labelled so that consumers would be able to make a choice about the food they eat.
I don't know that much about the UK, but I do know that twenty years ago Monsanto successfully lobbied the US Congress to ban such labelling on milk from cow's injected with the BVGH, and that the EU has been forcing member nations to accept the cultivation of genetically modified feed and food or suffer consequences.

Truth or Consequences
When your grandchildren accept that some new technology is harmless and submit themselves to minimally invasive surgery for convenience sake, those who opt out will be paranoid luddites. But their children won't have a choice.