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Re: [carfree_cities] Market as master

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  • Richard Risemberg
    ... Where you have collusion and near-cartels existing among large labor users to suppress unions (which represent the only real venue oridnary folks have
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 21, 2003
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      Will wrote:
      > Chris wrote:
      >>>Market as a master? Who controls it? Why fear it?

      Where you have collusion and near-cartels existing among large labor
      users to suppress unions (which represent the only real venue oridnary
      folks have through which to gain control over their economic lives in a
      society dominated by corporate interests), then you have a master. Go
      work for Wal-Mart at a wage that doesn't let you afford even a crappy
      apartment, that doesn't provide health insurance so you are forced to
      leech off other peoples' taxes to go to the doctor. And don't say you
      don't have to work for Wal-Mart, because Wal-Mart and their ilk have
      very specific strategies they use to kill off local commerce and ensure
      that communities depend only on them and their kind for both goods and
      employment. It is economic totalitarianism and yes, it is to be feared.
      >>>One isn't forced to buy
      >>>things. No one points a gun at you if you don't buy a car. Try not paying
      >>>income taxes. How have markets killed people as a direct plan? Blame
      >>>individuals for deaths, not something that has no face.

      Again, when your choice in goods and services is limited to what a few
      megacoporations choose to offer you, and when their success is the
      result of lying, bullying, and market manipulation either directly
      (selling below cost to tempt buyers away from local merchants till the
      latter go out of business, then raising prices, then abandoning the town
      when the economy drops so much as a result of all this that it can't
      afford to shp even at Wal-Mart--as has happened frequently), or
      indirectly, through contributions to local governments, then the market
      has killed your economic life, and may kill you too, since you can no
      longer afford to live healthily or go to a doctor, and since the
      autodenpendent lifestyle which si the only model that can support a
      bulk-purchase warehouse store model requires you to live with more
      noise, more stress, more pollution, and less tranquillity and healthy,
      pleasureable food than a localized economy with smaller providers can
      supply--yes it can kill you directly.

      This doesn't even address the question of abuses in other countries,
      sweatshop and neocolonial economies where yes, persons are wrung out
      physically and killed for Wal-Mart's gain, or Exxon's, or whoever's;
      where those who protest against neocolonialism, or even try not to
      participate in it, or provide alternatives, may hear a knock on their
      door at 2AM--Burma, Nigeria, El Salvador, and on and on and on....

      Then there are oil wars...bigboxes cannot live without cars and roads
      and oil to fuel them. I have worked in retail for the last twenty
      years. Let me tell you: they cannot. Cheap oil is the key to their
      model. No one's going to drag 40 rolls of cheap rainforest toilet
      paper, a sixty-pound bag of dog food, and thirty frozen TV dinners home
      on the subway.

      Of course, in a localized economy of small stores, everything you want,
      and more, is available within a ten minute walk or less. And it can
      happen in the middle of the biggest cities. It's there in Tokyo. It's
      even there in LA, where I have a seven-day-a-week farmer's market half a
      mile away, two artisanal bakeries around the corner, and so forth. But a
      few miles out in the suburbs, in Wal-Mart territory, it's an
      experiential desert. You don't drive, you may as well be in jail. And
      if you do drive, it still takes more of your time to get the worthless
      crap they sell at megastores than it takes me to buy gourmet
      vegetables--at a price lower than the supermarkets charge. And I live
      near the county art museum, off Wilshire, in what is effectively the
      "second downtown" of the city. High density, transit, all that stuff.
      And lots of fun to live in.

      Richard Risemberg

      "I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity,
      an obligation; every possession, a duty."
      John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
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