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The books I've been reading lately, The Omnivore's Dilemma, The End of Over-eating, and The Story of Stuff, have got me thinking first about simplifying and improving my own life, but also wondering how much of what I'm learning can be extrapolated to American culture at large.

<Lady> The Omnivore's Dilemma, The Story of Stuff, and The End of Overeating all kind of converge onto a central thesis
<Lady> "stop being fukkin wasteful"
<Lady> they all come at it from different angles
<Lady> story of stuff is straight up 'man overconsumption is BAD'
<Lady> omnivore's dilemma is like 'umm, why do we spend so much money on making corn when we could be making better things for us'
<Lady> and end of overeating is like 'the industry deliberately caters to our evolutionary traits to make us buy more food than we could eat'
<TKF> what does it say about meat production
<Lady> that we feed animals to animals of the same specie and wonder why they rapidly contract diseases
<Lady> that we feed them food they aren't biologically equiped to digest and wonder why they can't process it well enough on their own
<Lady> that we keep them in incredibly confined quarters, bred for obscene qualities of meat
<Lady> and yet, we throw so much food away
<TKF> well, if you read about the island of wild chickens in hawaii, you learn that wild chickens are nasty as hell, like, stringy and gross
<Lady> he doesn't propose that all animals run free, but that when people actually perform animal husbandry, the results are good
<Lady> as opposed to animal warehousing
<TKF> yeah animal warehousing is gross
<Lady> anyway, I thought it was kind of neat the way they all kind of converged on the topic from different directions
<Lady> hell, thinking about it, the whole reason my company was founded was the idea of taking a hit in profitability to maintain sustainable long-term growth
<Lady> by not throwing people away just because we didn't need them after a project ended
<Lady> but rather, letting them build their skills while waiting for the next one to come along

If we make the goal to increase happiness and contentment, rather than increase profits, what would happen?

Without a drive to increase profit, I think a lot of [positive] changes would occur:
* marketing and brand awareness budgets shrink
* the reduced redundancy of having brilliant minds siloed into competing companies, rather than collaborating on a common goal
* the practice of using more effective materials and methods in place of more efficient ones
* false dichotomy of identical products in different packaging is removed
* less incentive to "save money" by buying more than you can use because it's cheaper in bulk.
* more free time, and as a result, increased artistic effort, participation in sports and recreation, and free-form learning
* education and health systems attract more people suited to those lines of work, resulting in more passionate and compassionate care



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 3rd, 2016 01:05 pm (UTC)
Clearly, in a finite world the Weltanchauung of consumerism is untenable. But it goes deeper than that: we have a financial and economic system that runs on credit, an ever-expanding money supply and requires endless growth - or the prospect of growth - in order to function (i.e., not collapse). That's why the sooner we endure the Great Reset and reboot world markets and economies, the better.

Now I'm no socialist, because I know any form of collectivism is always coercive and injurious to freedom, and in the long run institutionalizes inefficiencies and incentivizes sloth. But if we set the proper ground rules - and made sure they applied to everyone (i.e., didn't exempt special classes of people) - we could reorder civilization so that it would be more humane and nurturing of the body as well as the spirit.
Feb. 4th, 2016 01:24 am (UTC)
I loved The Omnivore's Dilemma, and have heard quite a bit about The Story of Stuff. I'm not familiar with The End of Overeating; perhaps it's time to hit the library.

Feb. 4th, 2016 02:04 am (UTC)
The Story of Stuff is irritating for me to read because the reasoning and arguments presented in it are almost wholly based on emotional tugs. There are citations, of course, and occasional numbers, but as far as the meat of the text, every fact seems to be picked for how SHOCKING and HORRIBLE it is, rather than building a chain of cause and effect like Pollan does in Omnivore's Dilemma. When the author related an anecdote about protesting a cargo ship in the Philippines that her group "just knew was hiding toxic waste", I was only vaguely surprised when she nonchalantly mentioned their intent to handcuff themselves to the anchor or moorings should the ship try to depart.

But, I appreciate the message that she's conveying, and agree with it... I probably just wouldn't hang out at her club meetings. Or read her letters to the editor.

End of Overeating is also kind of sensationalist, which is why I haven't finished it either. It is slightly more tolerable, since the author was the former FDA commissioner rather than hot-head activist.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )