Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Walmart Dilemma

Now I'm no fan of Wallyworld, but I found myself there one day last week. I've got this cat, you see - he's an old male, and like some old male cats, he's prone to urinary tract infections. The only way to prevent them is to feed him special food. I can buy that food from the vet, but the annual food bill for the cat is over $1000 if I do. But Purina makes a reasonably priced brand that does the job. The problem is that no place in 30 miles of me other than Walmart sells it. So once every few months, I go and donate the price of a couple of bags of cat food to the cause of industrialization.

I won't justify it, except to say that I don't think spending four times as much gas to go buy it at a Kmart is really all that much better - Kmart being only marginally preferrable, and just as much money going to feed the monster of industrial civilization. And from a purely sociological perspective, Walmart is kind of interesting. For example, I was nearby early one morning, and discovered that really early in the morning, our local Walmart plays Christian devotional music on the PA system. How interesting is that - apparently, only Christians shop early.

One of the things that has interested me the most lately about Walmart is its turn toward organic food. Now this is the most industrial of industrial organics. And they've always had some - as long as I've lived out this way you could buy organic tofu, Stonyfield farms yogurt and organic goat's milk. But now there's a *lot* of organic food. For example, I saw some grapes there - 3xs the price of the conventional grapes, and packaged in a giant plastic clamshell box, lest one of the grapes (which cost 5cents each, I suspect) get squished. But it has a nice, earthy brown paper label, with a picture of a pretty farm, and that all important label "organic" on it.

Target has decided to compete, creating its own organic label. And helpfully, the USDA has relaxed the already not-very stringent rules on what constitutes organic in industrial agriculture. Apparently you can use a little bit of poison here and there, and add some petroleum distillates to your food - just not as much. And, of course, there are no limits on the amount of petroleum permitted to plant, harvest, package, ship, refrigerate, etc... your food. Very few limits on the inhumane treatment of animals, and none at all on the inhumane treatment of human beings, including migrant workers. In fact, organic agriculture often is worse for workers, who don't get pesticide exposure but do get massive repetetive strain injuries. Industrial organic agriculture is a disaster - just a slightly smaller, milder disaster than regular industrial agriculture. If you don't believe me, definitely read Michael Pollan's account of it in _The Omnivore's Dilemma_.

Now the good thing about Walmart and Target going organic is that millions of people who don't have food coops, or local farmers will have access to organic food. In fact, Walmart is committed to making it cheap (don't think too hard about what has to be done on the other end to make it cheap!), so that poor people can have equal access to organics. Lots of people are happy that now they can have pesticide-free food in their little town.

But here's a question. Is it reasonable to say that the only thing we have to do if we want a safe and sane and just food system is "create demand?" Because that's what the free market claims is the only obligation we "consumers" (think hard about that word - do you want to be known mostly for your capacity to consume things?) have. If we demand things, the magical market will supply them. But what is left out of this equation is that it won't really supply what we *want* - it won't give us the things we dream about, or that we hope for, or that we believe are good and right. Markets and corporations don't do that - they can't. They aren't people, they don't have a morality, or a sense of justice, or passion or love. Corporations are facsimiles of human beings, stripped of ethics, love, caring, justice and honor. So what they give us is facsimiles of what we truly want and dream of. Thus, you get the organic frozen turkey dinner, with paste-flavored mashed potatoes, instead of the turkey grown by a neighbor and roasted by someone who loves you. The same is true of industrial organic food - it requires so much petroleum, because it is essentially a plastic model of small scale organic food. We are told all we have to do is want, and open our mouths like a baby bird, and the market and corporations will drop something into our open gullets. But let us remember that if all we are going to contribute is demand and an open mouth, we should expect what is dropped into our mouths to be a worm.

The reality is that any decent future asks more of us than simply demanding and wanting. If your community has no access to truly organic, local, sustainably created food, then you need to help create some, not rely on Walmart or Tarjay to produce it. It is easy to rail against corporations, when in fact the reason corporations have so much power is that we have ceded it to them. We have said we don't have time or knowledge or energy to create just systems, so that we should allow markets to do our work for us. And then we act surprised and outraged when artificial human beings, motivated by greed, fail to live up to our principles. The only possible solution is for us to cease to subcontract our needs and responsibilities out to artificial human beings. Instead, buy things from people, ideally people you know, and put your own work into the system. If there's no food coop, start one. If there's no farmer's market, talk to local farmers about sourcing food or finding them. If all the clothing is made by slaves in the third world, buy used or make your own. Grow some food yourself, maybe even enough to sell. We cannot expect corporate ogliarchy to cease if we are not willing to make it stop, one dollar and one project at a time.

As for me, I'm looking into making my own cat food. As much of a learning experience as my trip to Walmart was, more is being asked of me. And you.

Sharon

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

福~
「朵
語‧,最一件事,就。好,你西.............................................................................................................
..................

Anonymous said...

酒店上班

酒店打工

酒店兼差

酒店兼職

禮服店

酒店小姐

酒店經紀

假日打工

台北酒店經紀

童裝批發

童裝批發

童裝

童裝

酒店喝酒

暑假打工

寒假打工

酒店

酒店經紀人

酒店現領

酒店上班請找艾葳 said...

艾葳酒店經紀公司提供專業的酒店經紀, 酒店上班小姐,八大行業,酒店兼職,傳播妹,或者想要打工兼差打工,兼差,八大行業,酒店兼職,想去酒店上班, 日式酒店,便服店,制服酒店,ktv酒店,禮服店,整天穿得水水漂漂的,還是想去制服店日領上班小姐,水水們如果想要擁有打工工作、晚上兼差工作兼差打工假日兼職兼職工作酒店兼差兼差打工兼差日領工作晚上兼差工作酒店工作酒店上班酒店打工兼職兼差兼差工作酒店上班等,想了解酒店相關工作特種行業內容,想兼職工作日領假日兼職兼差打工、或晚班兼職想擁有鋼琴酒吧又有保障的工作嗎???又可以現領請找專業又有保障的艾葳酒店經紀公司!

艾葳酒店經紀是合法的公司工作環境高雅時尚,無業績壓力,無脫秀無喝酒壓力,高層次會員制客源,工作輕鬆,可日領現領
一般的酒店經紀只會在水水們第一次上班和領薪水時出現而已,對水水們的上班安全一點保障都沒有!艾葳酒店經紀公司的水水們上班時全程媽咪作陪,不需擔心!只提供最優質的酒店上班,酒店上班,酒店打工環境、上班條件給水水們。心動嗎!? 趕快來填寫你的酒店上班履歷表

水水們妳有缺現領、想要兼職、有缺錢的煩腦嗎?想到日本留學缺錢嗎?妳是傳播妹??想要擁有高時薪又輕鬆的賺錢,酒店和,假日打工,假日兼職賺錢的機會嗎??想實現夢想卻又缺錢沒錢嗎!??
艾葳酒店台北酒店經紀招兵買馬!!徵專業的酒店打工,想要去酒店的水水,想要短期日領,酒店日領,禮服酒店,制服店,酒店經紀,ktv酒店,便服店,酒店工作,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店經紀人,
等相關服務 幫您快速的實現您的夢想~!!

Anonymous said...

酒店打工 酒店兼職
台北酒店 打工兼差 酒店工作 禮服酒店
酒店兼差 酒店上班 酒店應徵 酒店 酒店經紀

Anonymous said...

壯陽藥

樂威壯

樂威壯

壯陽藥

樂威壯怎麼使用才正確

樂威壯

壯陽藥

壯陽藥品

樂威壯levitra

levitra樂威壯

樂威壯哪裡買

樂威壯哪裡買

威而鋼

樂威壯

壯陽藥
樂威壯

樂威壯