Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Disassociated American

As a group, we Americans don't seem too care much about the hows and whys of modern life. As the chief consumers of consumables, what matters most to us is that the price is right, the service is good and the product arrives on time. In other words, we are a superficial people. Not only do we not care what lies just below the surface, we seldom even glance beyond the surface sheen.

We drive our vehicles like there's no tomorrow. We slurp up petroleum like a thirsty man guzzles water after being lost in the desert. We don't seem to care that oil is a finite resource and that most of it is found under the soil of other sovereign nations. We need it to fuel our insatiable appetites, so we have few qualms about murdering others to get control of it. Hey, it's our God given right!

We gorge ourselves on foods produced by the sweat and toil of others. Who cares if these workers are paid less than a subsistence wage which forces them to live in squalid conditions? Who cares how many rain forests are plowed under or how many peasants are thrown off their land to make way for corporate agriculture? Who cares how many tons of pesticides and other toxins are used to increase the crop yield?

All of that is unimportant to us. All we care about is that price of apples, bananas, potatoes, sirloin and whatever else is within our reach.

The same can be said about our clothing and other creature comforts. We don't worry about the poor who toil away in sweatshops for pennies a day so we can purchase our Nike shoes or Martha Stewart cooking gadgets for $89.95. It's not our problem that the people who make our cherished possessions don't earn enough in a week, month or year to buy the product for themselves.

A lot of pundits have predicted that the American empire is on the wane. They point to our imperialistic tendencies and nonsustainable policies as the chief culprits. While I share their belief in the bottom line prediction, I believed the one variable that will do us in is our disassociation from humanity.

Until we, as a society, learn genuinely to understand the true ramifications of cause-and-effect, we will continue down this road to eventual ruin.

At the end of the day, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Trey,

    You're right, we don't consider the ethical or global consequences of our actions. I believe one of the ways we can try to alleviate this is by trying to source products locally, thus supporting local growers and businesses and hopefully reducing the demand for sweatshop clothes and food. If we have to buy globally we can buy Fairtrade products. We may think we have no power as we have no choice but to consume, I think we have more power to effect change than we realise.



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