Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Robert Reich is Right, But...

Good man, that one. Robert Reich is all kinds of cool and correct. See this post:

"Gridlock in Washington doesn't stop your state or city from raising its minimum wage. Minimum wage campaigns are underway in thirty states and a dozen locales. And because most minimum-wage workers are in retail and fast-food businesses, raising their wages won't hurt the competitiveness of businesses in your state or city because retail and fast food is sold locally. To the contrary, by putting more money into the pockets of low-wage workers in your area, you're helping the local economy because those workers will be able to buy more local goods and services. Please start or join a minimum wage campaign in your community."

It is all completely true. There is nothing there with which I don't agree. And he has his cause; he has it and he does it well. Intelligent, well-spake of course, knowledgeable way beyond anything I am. I learn tons from him. 

What about this is remotely attractive?

His cause is not my cause and my cause is not his. Mr. Reich is a champion for the workers, for sure. And yes - minimum wage SHOULD be raised. That's not even a debate in my mind. My side, then? Let's look around at the much, much bigger picture. Why do we have so many minimum wage jobs? Well, first obvious answer is greed, naturally. We have lots and lots of low-paying jobs, and even with those, lots and lots of people who aren't making ends meet and lots and lots who don't even have jobs. That's a whole lot of people.

Because we have too many people. We have more people than we have jobs. This is not likely to change. Why? Because we have been moving toward a society where so much is automated or made easier to do that we don't need as many workers. But we forgot to tell the population. We were supposed to create a future where people did not have to do as much work, and had a better life, because technology made everything so much better. But we forgot to tell the economy. We forgot to factor in that people were still going to need to make money, or forgot to get around that part while we improved everyone's life. 

And we have so much consumerism and waste along with the greed... do we need fast food? Of course not. In fact, it's terrible for us. We'd all be better off eating better, healthier. But we can't, because it's a vicious cycle of poor people who go for cheap food because they don't have jobs or the education for a better life or because they actually WORK at fast food places because that's the only place they can get a job and that is serving a dual purpose of trying to find something for them to do and trying to feed them at the same time - around and around it goes and where it stops....

I applaud Mr. Reich for the amazingness that he does. We need him. Moreover, however, we need to put a halt on increasing the population. The reasons for this are many; I'm addressing population and wages in this post. Not enough jobs? What's the answer? Create more jobs? How? Why? What kind of jobs? Will education keep up with it? Who can afford the education? A whole lot more would have to change for society to to "provide" as many good-paying jobs for the vast number of people out there.

Lowering the population solves that. We don't *need* fast food workers. We don't need anal bleaching technicians. We don't need professional cuddlers. Yes, those last two are jobs out there. I'm all for creating jobs, but can we please focus on quality instead of quantity? Are bleached anuses really furthering the good of humanity? Don't bother - it was rhetorical.

We don't have to forbid anyone from having kids, lest we think we are stepping on someone's right, as is often squawked when the conversation raises its head. We can educate educate educate, provide proper birth control, and stop giving tax breaks for having more children. Easy. Can't raise three children on minimum wage jobs? First of all, don't have three children. Second... well, there isn't really a second, because the first one takes care of it. 1 child = tax break like already exists. 1nd one - NO tax break. Just the one for the first one. 3rd child? You start paying in because now you are putting a strain on resources for everyone else. Easy. Simple. Elegant. No one is forced to do anything.

Of course, there is a societal argument that some are going to be tempted to bring up with this... but I'll let that come out on its own, if it wishes....

Thank you, Robert Reich, for what you do. Again, we NEED you and your passion and intelligence. At the same time, we need to level out our numbers, and this is just one of the many reasons why.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Symptom vs. disease

From One Green Planet: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/beef-production-is-killing-the-amazon-rainforest/

This is a very good and interesting article. It accurately describes and explains deforestation in Brazil due to cattle ranching, particularly in Brazil. Quote, "According to one report, an estimated 70% of deforestation in the Amazon basin can be attributed to cattle ranching."

They properly state that buying only certified beef products and rejecting cattle raised illegally on deforested rainforest land will help stop this.

While that's all well and good and right, I can't help but feel that they are missing the point. They are looking at a symptom and trying to attend to it, while ignoring the overlying disease. With increasing population, and the consumption we cause/face, and the waste we promote, deforestation can only continue. Greed will not change in time and our practices of consumerism and waste are not likely to subside any time soon.

I eat meat. I do not believe a vegan planet is the answer. I try to consume only sustainably-raised meat and I avoid fast food. (Not always successfully, but I sure try and do pretty well.) Sure, if we all cut back on meat like we really should, we could help this. Think about having to feed 9 billion people or more. That;s the real issue. 7 billion is already unsustainable. By all means, leave the rainforest alone. We need it. What I am saying is that if you are going to have this conversation, address the real root of it all.

We must cut back on population. That's the root of it. That's the whole thing. All these things of which we speak and talk and debate and fret - merely symptoms of the larger issue. Let's talk about that instead. It is past time to consider it taboo.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Not Sure What Part is Most Alarming.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/18/world/asia/china-baby-hatch-closes/index.html

Feel free to click and read this article if you wish, but I'll try to address it in a way that you won't need to. It refers to a "Baby Hatch" in China. 25 such places have opened there since 2011. It is a safe haven to drop off an unwanted child anonymously - it is illegal to abandon a child in China, but it happens anyway all the time, especially in poorer regions.

Since this particular hatch in this story - in a city named Guangzhou - opened, they have received on average 5 babies a day. That's a staggering number to me. They closed the doors after they hit 262 babies; they just didn't have room. That is also astounding to me. But it doesn't stop there.

ALL 262 of the babies dropped off at THIS ONE place in THIS ONE city, every one of them suffers from a disease or disability. The article mentions Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy, congenital heart disease. So that's where I get all twisted in my head. What's more alarming: the sheer number of abandoned babies, or the fact that the sheer number of abandoned babies are all that sick?

Of course, we know that the massive amount of rampant pollution in China is causing all the problems. Can we not see that, and learn from that? What is going to become of this next generation? Is Mother Nature finally slamming the door? I realize this is a fairly isolated situation... but then my brain yells "Over 200 babies in a few months!!!!" and I am staggering under the thought of it again.

That's all. I have no answers. I'm just trying to share the weight of this. This has to stop. WE have to stop. We have to look at what is happening all over the world. We can't turn a blind eye because it's not our kids and it's not our country... this is humanity and this is happening. And as the saying goes, "We all live downstream."