1.24.2008

Enough Complaining, What's the Solution?

The last four or more posts on my page has consisted mainly of addressing and assessing the problems, but very little has been said about a solution. In fact, that seems to be an inescapable trend lately. Partially, I'm sure because we just don't know what a probable solution might entail. I would love to boil it down to "First, a revolution, then rebuild" but not only is that overly simplistic, as things stand even thinking it could get me on a domestic terrorist list somewhere in someone's basement office. So lets forget I even mentioned it.

We have the superb problems of "Iraq quagmires", "economic quagmires", "health-care quagmires
", "World War three SNAFU quagmires"....honestly, the list goes on. First and foremost it should be mentioned that the new president, whether elected or selected isn't going to change much, we will have to do it ourselves.

Thats a tall order, but I think we can do it. Well, some of it anyway. We will, of course be required to convince otherwise unwilling politicians to go along with our scheme. Maybe we could first convince someone with a lot of money to get on board, and then bribe them. Alright, thats a long shot, but a shot worth three seconds of your time, no?

Let's talk about the economic problems for a moment, because I fully believe it is the one issue we really can affect on our own level. First, unionizing workers would be a great start. Now I know what some of you are thinking, unions will damage "free trade" and all that, but would it really? What if we could unionize in a way that brought back real, sustainable wealth to this country? What if we could do it in a manner that brought back production in tangible terms? As it stands, unions are scattered, and have to constantly fight to get anywhere. Union leaders have to trudge through bureaucratic battlegrounds to make any kind of progress. Unionizing has been the bane of corporate moguls throughout our history, and the folks at the top intend to squash it every which way they can.

If we were all unionized, they would have no other option than to go along with it, and create real progress, and sustainable wealth, with actual upward mobility, and fewer class divisions. Of course, this requires quite a bit of work. We would have to beat the pavement and really create a support system, and convince people that this will work. We'll have to change perceptions, one at a time, until we can gain some real momentum . Many of us are already trying to do this, but collectively, and after a serious recession, I think people will be more apt to listen.


Another aspect of changing the scene of the economy is to change our spending habits. This is something we can do right now. The first thing we need to do is jump of the conformity train. Why? What does conformity require other than conforming? It requires that we, the consumers, keep purchasing items we don't need, didn't realize that we wanted, and will throw away as soon as the new conformity guru decides it's time to change. It's "keeping up with the Jones'" and it's killing us. It requires that we buy items from huge corporate entities that barely employ citizens of this country, doesn't give much back economically, and often engage in less than ethical practices anyway.

Buying locally however, gives small businesses (ie, your neighbors) a chance to thrive in a business world now designed to ensure they fail. It also allows unknown creative entrepreneurs a chance to shine. Not only will we get a chance to save our economies locally, keep our neighbors in business, but we can all finally look different or find new, unusual items that we actually want to buy.

We also need to ween ourselves from our credit cards. Easy money and instant gratification has created a rather huge economic gap that is part in parcel with the failure of our country. If you read Bogle's "Battle for the Soul of Capitalism" what you will see is that not only is the change from a product driven market to a finance market caused a major problems with modern day economy, you'll also understand that trade, in and of itself has become the staple, yet the very poison that is causing our problems. It's a good book, go get it.

OK, so thats economic solution, the abridged version.

Now on to health care. First and foremost we must unload the word socialist. We have to make people understand that the cold war propaganda was geared towards maintaining the capitalistic caste system we now live in - so long as ultimate power is kept in check, socialistic programs are not going to kill our children, control our minds, or poison our water. It's OK, and moreover, it works superbly because everyone gets health care! Ask one person who complains bitterly about the notion of it why it isn't a good idea, ask them to make a case against it. They can't without admitting that they have either fallen prey to stereotypes, rhetoric, or really are so cold hearted that they want people to be sick, or lack the ability to get health care. Use it against them, it's alright. You won't hurt anything but their pride. We also have to start refusing over medication. Thats right, we have to stop taking all these meds. Medicine is a great tool when you really need it. Medicine that does nothing but cover up symptoms, with no offer of a cure, will create a dependent state, thus a load of profit for everyone but the patient - that must stop. Not only will be be walking around like zombies, but zombies with empty pockets as insurance rates skyrocket. Insurance companies are estimating the cost of all these life long drug treatments, and it really adds up, therefore, we pay more all around. Until of course, companies will simply stop insuring us altogether.

Now, what we have here is a start to economic change. Once economic change takes place, the political sphere will change with it. It should bend to the will of the people, and if the people have the economic mess under control, and in fact control more of the economy, it must change. Which is how we work our way into changing the Big Politics that need so much of our time.

That however, is in the next post...

12 comments:

RickB said...

Direct To Consumer marketing is a key aspect that creates the over-medicated populace. Pharma exploits anxiety and non expert consumers to create a demand for brand names over generic and to convince people they are 1. sick and 2. only this medicine will help.
The clinical criteria for prescription becomes corrupted by demand from a cynically manipulated consumer.
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/324/7332/278%20
nb. I am not arguing the 'oh you're not really ill, buck up' line (which I detest) but that ill people get correctly diagnosed and treated and the profit motive does not corrupt that process or that individuals deemed 'problematic' by others are not doped to the eyeballs. Particularly in kids this is horrendous, industrial chemicals in food/environment, causing poor health then being further polluted by dodgy behavioural drugs. Speaking of which, they might actually be moving to consider the suicide rates caused by drugs in trials, which I think most people assumed were checked, oh no- http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/24/healthscience/drugs.php

an average patriot said...

Anok!
There is a very simple solution if you could get people to realize the brevity of our situation anf get them to realize their future depends on them coming together and forcing action! that will not happen!
Due to the fact that the entire world is gearing up for a warring future the entire world would have to get involved and that most certainly will not happen.
If we could only get the people of the world to realize we can do this if we all come together and not the leaders, we the people, but Alas!

Anok said...

RickB, I agree. I also think that pharmaceuticals are pushed on people to suppress symptoms, because the industry has no desire to find a cure. When I was diagnosed with PMDD, the first thing was, "which drugs do you want to take?" And when I sought out a non-pharmaceutical solution, many doctors kept asking why I wasn't on drugs yet. Quite frankly, it's because I don't want to be on happy pills for the rest of my life. Which is what it would entail. They don't get that.

Jim, The IWW, from what I understand is trying to get a global movement going, never say never! It can be done, and something will be done one way or another, the question sis....how I think we can try and change the means before the ends get blown up to bits.

an average patriot said...

Anok
You're right the key is to get something started and worldwide on a grassroots level before something happens. You have my vote. I am still hoping to get the relentless liberal who is 90 now as you know but more active than ever, to realize things are at their worst and he is the man with the money and connections to get something done.

paisley said...

i too feel the need to express on issues i feel should be a definite presence in the day to day mindset... there are few solutions and ever so many questions... i do enjoy your style tho.....

Anok said...

Jim, we're on the same page!

Paisley, thank you for stopping by! Ask as many questions as you want.....and ponder away.

Dave Dubya said...

Promoting awareness is the first priority. We do what we can by blogging, but more needs to be done. I like passing out notes and CD's of my music. It may be a drop in the bucket but it is something. How about printing business cards to distribute showing comparisons of rising prices v. stagnant wages?

The second priority is motivating ourselves into action. If everyone who wants change would show up at local Democratic Party meetings and give voice to the cause, half the job would be done. We can't change Washington, but we can start locally. If enough people show up and demand the Bill of Rights as the platform of the party, it can be done. Infiltrate and overwhelm.

That motivation will come eventually. It may be the military draft, or it may be the economic realities of a depression.

Organization is third. A movement for constitutional democracy can begin locally and develope into a national effort. Look at what the evangelical fundamentalists did when they organized.

Expanding the unity of the dis-enfranchised class is important. That's 99% of us. Consumer activism has great potential. Buy Citgo and boycott Fox advertisers for a start, and spread the word.

Apathy and ignorance are the republicans', corporatists' and fascists' best friends.

We have the numbers to do it. Educate, motivate, organize, and unite.

fran said...

Have you seen the corporate response to Unions? Classic example Walmart- when corporate gets word that any particular site is thinking about it here is what they do (I shit you not- See teh film the high cost of low prices).They fly in corporate specialists. The existing manager is no longer in the managing position. Whomever was talking about union gets fired, or let go-- remember all employment is *at will* so they don't even need a reason to let anyone go. the initial wave of firings has a cold as the arctic chilling effect on all the rest of the workers. Because even though they get paid a shit wage- generally not enough to afford healthcare- in fact they pass out welfare paperwork to employees as if that is a part of the company management plan! In hard times like this, a shit job is better than no job- because someone else will take that shit job or a few out of desperation. Thus the perpetuation of the unionless, shit job circle. On the flip side-- I believe the CAT (big machine caterpillar company) had a union, workers were making over $20 bucks an hour & went on strike over some benefits issue. The company announced after 1 week- either report back to your job on monday or be replaced. They have stomped the union literally both coming & going. In part, times are hard enough, and deregulation allows employers to blow off the union, and bypass them. My workplace needs a union it almost screams for it-- but I bet they would pull the same thing-- known pro union employees would disappear & that is enoug to scare everyone else into not crossing the line.

On the flip side.... employees with the at will employment can quit any time too & not have to give 2 weeks notice. Some new business is moving into town & I'm thinking there will be a mass exodus-- sure you can treat your employees like crap & underpay them- but the moment somethign better comes along.... they are outta there. This shift will happen right in the middle of their super busy season too. They put themselves in the situation by exploiting us. We may not have a union, but they can take this job & shove it.

As for meds-- that is a whole can of worms.
I understand the overmedication aspect - and it is that way too because consumers usually want the quick fix- ie give me a pill & male it better. Plue ther eis no cap on the profit margin.... some of these meds have a 500% markup- resulting in people having to choose between eating & heat or meds. I can;t tell you hpw many times I have been in the line at the pharmacy & had people say call my Doctor & have him/her prescribe something else- I can't afford this medication.
Then there is the other aspect-- some kind of chronic illness- diabetes- that requires insulin, syringes, testing meters, strips, this that & the other-- suddenly you have a myriad of expenses & it;s not like you've won the lottery- no one gives you extra money because you have this bitch of a disease.
In fact- lots of companies do their best to avoid having to cover it. I sat through an AFLAC additional insurance presentation talking about how they help when people are sick & the different levels of protection & at the ends of their schpeal they say but we don't cover diabetics or people with heart problems.
In other worlds people who really need the help cost too much, and we don;t cover them.
Funny how they don;t mentiont that in thir whimsical quacking Duck commercials.
Other insurance comapnies take the overall approach of adapting the pre existing condition exclusion. If you have a health issue, we won;t cover it for a year of so. Worse- this is legal!
The pharma industry totally takes advantage because they know you HAVE to buy products, why not just jack it up sky high?

You make some good points about how to begin to fix things--there needs to be incentives to do so- including cutting out some of this permitted injustice.
Nobody gets to pick what diseases they get- there should not be exclusions & exception to cruise the gravy. Insurance is good about taking the $, but can suck at paying it out.

Anok said...

Dave, your suggestions are great. I'm forwarding them to everyone! Mind if I e mail you?

Fran, yes, you are very right! There is a reason I got out of the insurance industry. They're crooks and liars! The reason however, that they delay payments so often is because the money gets tied up in investments. (Yes, they use your premiums, risk it in investing to make a profit!) The longer the money stays in, the more money they make.

Bastards. Read my newest about taking shit jobs - I'm on that like a - well like a "me" on a chocolate chip cookie!

Daniel Owen said...

Unionise to socialise! "Free trade" is a sweet idea (in the cutesy sense of the word) but I'm not overly concerned with it. However, as "free market anti-capitalists" such as Kevin Carson, etc. say, it seems likely that we'll never actually see a free market until workers throw off the parasites and rulers.

Anok said...

Daniel, I'd be happier with fair trade, rather than free trade. However, I'm with you on unionizing! It really is time for employees to take back (or take at all?) their rights. We make the products, our blood, sweat and tears are what keep companies running. Without the underpaid worker, there would be no company at all. The CEOs would be Chief Executive Officers of nothing, nada, zip, zilch.

I want CEO wage caps. If companies spent less money on CEO's (manager capitalism) and more on employees (owner capitalism), we could have more jobs, better wages, real health care, and a stronger economy.

Unions are the only way to make that happen, and ensure it stays that way.

Dave Dubya said...

Yes, of course.
FreedomRants@ gmail.com