Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Gift Economy

The world has changed since I was a kid. I know things that are happening with my friends and acquaintances around the globe, all the time. I can check up on anyone, and I can browse a countless number of fashion, art, news, shops at the click of a button.
Nearly all of these websites and organizations are built off of money, and need money to survive, however. We are all deeply rooted in capitalism, whether you choose to be or not. It is a rare person to live without money, anywhere on the globe now.
But, with all the negativity of money, can there spring positivity. Capitalism is simple at it’s theory, at its very core – the companies or organizations that get money, survive, and those that don’t die. It is the sum of all the people’s decisions dealing with money that influences these outcomes, and it is ultimately money that controls the existence of some organizations, businesses, and even ideas.
In a gift economy, people give to give. They give to support, and they give to say something. They give objects or the give money, sometimes the prior being too cumbersome or too complicated to do, while money is simple, effective, and easily transmutable.
It is with money that you can support art, ideas, technology, and people. It is with money that you can voice your opinions across the globe.
It is the feeble mind that finds itself wondering if it can actually support another. It is the weakened and fearful that believe a small donation may wreak havoc on their lively hood. I made a realization at one point after finding 20$ in my pocket that I had forgotten about, that 20$ is really nothing. I forgot I had it, for god’s sake. I could have burned it in the fire and nobody would have known. Yet far too often do I see people bickering in their heads on whether to support someone for half that amount. As if it puts their life in jeopardy.
I ask you all to support what you love. Don’t save and horde your money. This is a time to transition from the belief that you need to save money in order to thrive. It is absolutely the other way around. Give gifts, spend money (conscientiously, of course) and be supporting.
Support! Gift! Be generous!
For those of you who buy coffee at starbucks [or insert any other shit like that here] a couple times a week – make it at home and spend it on something you actually care about.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Gun Regulations... Shut the fuck up already!

[Deep, long, almost pass-out breath]

This subject is getting so muddied and so disgusting I really would rather not write about it, but I've read enough and I need to put my opinion down on paper/webz before I explode.

After countless incidents with guns harming people, it became a huge deal that maybe the government was going to ban guns. Nobody in the white house has really made that claim, but it became a prevalent fear that seemed to spread country wide in a matter of days. The conversation changed from "I am so sorry for those lost" to "Don't take my guns!"

So many posts on facebook and around the web have been pulling up so many different perspectives and facts. And in the end, none of them matter.

The fact is, is that since guns exist at all, the problem will persist. Making them illegal or legal will prevent someone like me from getting them, but if you truly want a weapon, you can find one. That being said, a high-functioning psychotic isn't going to be going into the ghetto to find an uzi and smoke grenades, like the Batman murder guy. He probably would have been  prevented from obtaining them, since he had to get them legally, and I doubt he had many connections in the black market of guns. He was a college student from a relatively good family, and I highly doubt he had ever come into contact with weapons before owning them himself (legally).

THAT BEING SAID the man rigged his apartment to explode with gasoline, which means if he hadn't done it with guns, he would have done it with something else. Making an explosion is not a hard task, and thanks to the freedom of the internet, it's pretty damn easy to get a recipe book for bombs.

I think this whole debate about the freedom of owning guns is irrelevant for a number of reasons, some of which I've already stated;
1) Making them illegal is like putting the cookie jar on top of the fridge. It might hinder the well behaved adolescent-minded people, but those determined to get it will find a way.
2) "Freedom" is not so simply defined, and having the freedom to own a deadly weapon, often implies that you need it to end another's freedom - a tricky subject, with no logical end.
3) We should be focusing on being better people and admiring each other's good sides, rather than prepping in weapon-mongering and 'fuck you' mind-set.

If we start having impatience  coupled with a want for guns, I don't think this is a good combination. We need to be better people to each other to remove the hate, the anger, and the sadness. These emotions are the only real reason anyone dies, right? So if we work on removing the source of the problem, rather than the symptoms, we're bound to get farther.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Capitalism without Regulation [W/O Government]

Due to all the Ron Paul Supporters that I seem to come in contact with it came to my attention how complicated this issue is. I want to use Ron Paul as an example, but this is not about Ron Paul, this is about all regulation, but Ron Paul is a good lead in.

A purely capitalist society would have no regulation - trade would be unregulated and no restrictions would apply, and thus the economy would decide basically everything. In Ron Paul's perspective, in his ideal he would remove the FDA and the EPA. I have debated this heavily and sometimes I get some people who understand, but many do not want to see it from another way. I urge you to read this with an open mind, and realize the importance of regulation in a capitalistic system!

No where in this post am I going to claim the FDA is a god send, nor is it without its problems. To say the FDA is bad is an understatement, but its negative issues do not outweigh what it does.

First lets make sure we all know what the FDA does. The FDA makes food 'safe' for consumption by investigating factories and production plants, making sure contamination in organic food is minimal. It also regulates anything that has proven effects on people (i.e. drugs). There was a controversy some time ago that the FDA would have to regulate cheerios because cheerios were proven to reduce cholesterol. I didn't follow it, but Cheerios can still be bought at the store. The purpose of this is so that medicines that PROVE to be useful to health, MUST fit the bill, and must be watched by an entity. That is, the FDA wants to make sure the drug you're getting is actually the drug you're getting and not a watered down placebo.

However, the bads that come with the FDA (and EPA) is that often the 'most qualified' people to run the FDA (and EPA) come from big business. After all, if you were the government, wouldn't you want someone running a huge foundation such as these, to have a great deal of experience at a similar level? Where would you get that... Big business. Its a bad thing, and it should be mended. I am opposed to how this works.

However without regulation, and in Ron Paul's ideal (RPI for short lol) there would be no regulation, and more catastrophically, there would be no ingredients labels, no nutritional value labels, no information would be absolutely mandatory by law. However, in theory, the economy could choose for the products that have labels.

But who is going to verify the labels? Do you have a Mass Spectrometer in your lab? Or a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance machine? Didn't think so. Are you going to dish out the 100$+ per sample of food you want tested? Probably not. The FDA does this, and makes sure what is SAID is in your food is actually in your food. 

In RPI, this would be enforced by the individual suing the company for lying or so forth. Of course this could work, but would it always? Take for example, if a company starts dishing out a protein shake that is actually contaminated with heavy metals from the water it uses to grow its Yeast or Algae? You aren't going to know until it is too late, and suing someone from your death bed just doesn't ring 'freedom' to me. Again, you could easily run the samples yourself by sending it to a company, but do you want to dish out >$100 dollars for every new protein shake you try?

How about going to the Doctors and getting some medicine. How do you really know what is in there. The label no longer is regulated.

The EPA is what is saving the U.S's air from looking similar to Mexico City or Beijing. Introducing pollutant control is saving a couple years on your life, arguably. You have to pay taxes for it, but the alternative is pretty nasty.

In RPI it would be now in your hands to go and find which factories are producing the most smog, and then making the economic choice to buy from them. If you live in Southern California, and live next to a nasty smog producing plant, that sucks, even though you may not support them economically, people in Minnesota aren't going to give a shit about you. In RPI, you would supposedly be able to sue said company for dirtying your air, but without regulation, who's going to say what limit of smog is too much? How are you even going to prove that they produce the most smog. You'll have to run thousand dollar tests to compare different companies.

Water polluted? In RPI you better do some intense research, because it is in your hands and your hands alone to take on this problem. How are you going to find where the pollutants came from, and what if you can't prove it?

Do you like National Parks?
Well, too bad in RPI.

That is all.