Tag: Fair Trade

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: An Alternative Economic System, Part II by Diomedes77

The Stone Breakers, by Gustave Courbet. 1849

At the end of Part I, I said we, as communities, regions and nations should be able to ask the following, when it comes to public projects, without worrying in the slightest about funding:

1. Is this something we all want?

2. Is this something we can build together?

3. Is this something we can maintain together?

4. Does it benefit the community?

5. Is it Green? Is it sustainable?

6. Do we need it now?

I also talked about money being a bizarre concept and a fiction. Another thing that is truly strange? That a government would print money, give it to bankers so they can distribute it as they see fit, with the government getting some of that back in the form of taxes later. Much later. Not to mention the incredibly complex system of taxation and collection, which still manages to miss hundreds of billions per year in potential revenue.

A conservative might think this is strange/wrong because, to them, far too much money goes back to the government in the first place. A minarchist would want very close to nothing going back to a public sector they’d rather see shrink to the size of a peanut. Me? I think it’s all quite bizarre for a totally different reason. Not that it’s inefficient and bad because a portion of the money flows back to the government, instead of remaining in private hands. But that the public sector sends it out into the private sector in the first place. This I find to be absurd.

It’s like if you had plans to build a house, and you had all the resources needed — labor, funding, time, etc.. But the system said you have to send all of your tangible resources out into the private world first, and then wait until a portion of them come back to you. You had everything you needed to begin with. But the system says you can’t just build your house. You have to accumulate tiny portions (percentages) over time before you can build it.

An alternative to that would be that the public sector starts with a permanent store/pool of funding that never runs out. It’s always there. It’s already there, waiting to be used. And it’s owned by everyone. We all own it in common. No one owns more of it than anyone else. There is no need for taxes, debt, borrowing or investors. All funding would come from commonly owned banks on the community, regional and national levels. Not from the price of merchandise. Not from the exchange of dollars for that merchandise. The banks would completely supplant the former revenue stream used in capitalism. That revenue stream would now be obsolete and non-existent. Funding would only flow from the commonly owned banks.

How would this work internationally, once it took hold nationally? More below the fold.  

Disabled Vet: Contractors Should Be for Cafeteria Services That’s It

We had a great time last night in a Q+A with John Waltz, a disabled veteran and Progressive who’s running for Congress in Kentucky’s 4th district. This answer cracked me up and at the same time made me yell out.. RIGHT ON!

Spandan Chakrabarti John, another question about the military, specifically defense contractors. I understand some are needed, but how do you view the Bush era explosion in defense contracting and contractors who operate outside the UCMJ, and is there a way to rein them in?

John Waltz  When you privatize military functions, you’re creating an incentive, specifically a profit, to go to war and stay in war. Use of military contractors should be kept to an absolute minimum. Maybe cafeteria services and that’s about it.

The full Q+A is below the fold

Crossposted to the Daily Kos and Progressive Electorate

Would YOU work for $3000 a year?

Apparently many workers in China would — for how much longer though is not entirely clear.  You see the Chinese, want to make more, improve the Standard of Living for their families — just like Americans and Europeans do.


8-12% Raises in Minimum Wages across China, in 2005!?

Apparently, Workers around the World, AREN’T Working just for the Fun of it!

This new trend toward leveling the the Global playing field, doesn’t bode well for the Wal-Marts of the world, who rely on such “captured cheap labor markets” —

to remain quiet, dutiful, and

happy with a pittance.

Afterall Billions of Dollars (and Euros) are at stake — those Foreign Workers must not upset that Apple cart.

They should just be happy they have a Job!

Shouldn’t they?

Do The Math #2

In #1, I explained the Math of why Unions (read YOUR rights as a Worker) are a good thing.

Now, lets talk about “Why the Jobs went away” and disperse the clouds of disinformation about “Global Economies”. Lets talk about TRADE.

I am not an economist, in fact my eyes roll back in my head at the dry numbers and endless spin economists like to put on things.

I am however not STUPID, and can bring this down to a few simple truths.

Breaking: Pelosi to Block Vote on Colombia FTA

According to the New York Times, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will change its rules so as to block the requirement of a vote on the free trade agreement with Colombia.

Pelosi says the House will vote on the rules change policy Thursday, effectively putting off a vote on a free trade agreement that is a key priority of the Bush administration.

The president took his action. I will take mine tomorrow,” Pelosi said.

NY Times

If she succeeds, the Colombian Unfair Trade Agreement is dead for now.

More, after the fold.  

Alos in Orange:  

Obama and Clinton Agree: Tell Congress to Say NO to Colombia FTA!

George Bush today sent a proposal to Congress to create yet another “free” trade agreement — this time with Colombia, a country where more than 2,200 trade unionists have been assassinated since 1991.

During an appearance at the White House, Bush said he signed a letter giving Congress 90 working days to vote on the agreement.


The labor federations Change to Win and the AFL-CIO oppose this agreement.  Change to Win says: “The Colombia “free” trade agreement is a bad deal for American and Colombian workers alike.”  

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton also oppose this agrement.  So should all Democrats, including you.

More, after the fold.

Where to Buy Fair Trade Chocolate


A Valentine’s Day reminder, given chocolate’s status as a conflict substance, that ethical (and tasty!) chocolate is readily available. Why is this important? With Fair Trade chocolate:

* Forced and abusive child labor practices are prohibited

* Farming families earn a price that is adequate to meet their basic human needs

* Environmentally sustainable production methods are required

Where to buy Fair Trade chocolate and other Fair Trade goods?

A partial list is available here

Happy Valentine’s Day from THE ENVIRONMENTALIST


The little bit I do to make a difference

Hey all,

Wanted to post this random thought. I read zwoof’s diary about living in China and it made me think of my job.

I am a Dog Obedience Instructor at Petsmart and I own 3 cats. Many of you may remember the pet food recall awhile ago, the more recent lead in toys and the date rape drug in kids toys , all from products made in China. I am not really going to go into whether it is bad or good to import so much stuff from China etc. but what I am going to talk about is the little bit I do to help US companies in my store.

When it is slow at work, I read labels, I read labels on new dog toys, read food labels. I find out what products are made where. If they are made in the USA I promote them. I have a fair percentage of people who ask me if there are products made in the USA. Even when they do not ask, I tell them anyway. We got a new line of dog toys made by a company called GoDog..You can see them here. They are guaranteed for life, have new “Chew Guard Technology” and from what I can tell are made in the USA. I recommend them to all the customers at the store who are in the market for new soft chew toys. Everyone is willing to try them especially when you say  “They are made in the USA.” So to anyone out there who works retail, you CAN make a small but over time an exponentially huge difference to small companies in the US. Customers are always looking for new things to try, they WANT to shop MADE IN THE USA, but very few read all the labels. I think too it is depressing to read label after label that says “Made in China” etc.  So use your position to make recommendations of products that are made here. The more we sell, the more they can make.


Action: Tell the candidates, No More Toxic Toys!

Today Public Citizen released a new report “Santa’s Sweatshop ‘Made in DC’ by Bad Trade Deals”. According to the report toy safety problems have skyrocketed as major U.S. toy corporations relocated their production overseas to exploit sweatshop wages in countries where they cannot ensure the safety of the products.  Thankfully the good folks at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch has put together a easy to use petition to the presidental candidates that simply says this:

Our current imported toy safety crisis is a symptom of race-to-the-bottom globalization. We need new trade policies that protect our kids and support strong consumer safety protections – not trade deals like NAFTA and WTO that promote the relocation of toy production overseas to venues where safety cannot be ensured.

The U.S. President has the power to ensure U.S. trade policy doesn’t undermine the safety of children at play. Urge the candidates to oppose provisions in trade deals that provide special benefits and protections for manufacturers to produce goods in other countries and limit U.S. border inspection and imported product safety standards. Also urge the candidates to provide greater funding for domestic agencies responsible for product safety.

That sound sensible to you? Join me below the fold to learn more about the issue and how to take action.