Monday, January 3, 2011

Death by Consumption

Dennis Soron
Labour/Le Travail
Spring 2005

Rapacious Consumption
Beyond alerting us to mounting environmental dangers, prevailing global consumption patterns also serve to draw our attention to the sheer injustice of a world in which all manner of luxurious consumer indulgence exists casually alongside the most debillitating forms of scarcity and human deprivation.

As the United Nations Human Development Report 1998 and other sources have dramatically documented, current Northern expenditures on discretionary goods such as ocean cruises, ice cream, perfumes, and pet food vastly exceed the total amount of moneythat would be needed to eliminate world hunger and malnutrition, immunize every child, supply clean drinking water for all, and achieve universal literacy.

However striking, such statistics should not simply be taken as a sign of the heedless self-absorption of individual consumers, but as a measure of contemporary capitalism’s failure to ensure a rational and fair distribution of material reources and social opporuniies. Indeed, they are an index of the peristent structural inequalities of a global economic system that leaves billions with unmet basic needs, while ensuring the most affluent continued access to the cheap labour and resources on which their consumption-intensive way of life largely depends.

Read more HERE (pdf).

No comments:

Post a Comment