RTMark Bag Authority on 10 Aug 2000 15:10:27 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Re: AW: AW: Urgent inquiry for Paper bags!

RTMark believes it is too much to expect citizens--or "consumers," as they
are sometimes derogatorily called--to be ever vigilant, each a processing
mill for the reams of information that, even when distilled by corporate
watchdogs (of which RTMark is *not* one), could easily take hours per week
to sift through and understand. 

People cannot be expected to keep on a first-name basis with the latest
important statistics, and exercise their knowledge daily, sometimes at
their own personal expense. Such an existence would be enough to turn
anyone into a jabbering wreck, or a cloying, self-anointed saint. In any
case, it would leave precious little time for a fulfilling home life:
policy-making takes time and energy, far more than most people have. 

Policy-making is what government is for, and sometimes it fulfills this
calling. In Europe, citizens decided, through their governments, to buy
bananas not from the criminal Central American regimes called Chiquita et
al., but from their former colonies in Africa, at higher prices.  This
decision having been made, citizens didn't need to be confronted with the
daily choice of decent but expensive versus evil but cheap. 
Unfortunately, the WTO has other plans, and democracy (and foreign policy
decision-making) is just in the way.... 

The European gas taxes are another example. Although never chosen by
voters, the taxes that make gasoline twice as expensive in Europe as it is
in the U.S. are quite consciously accepted and maintained, even when there
is no longer a strict need for them, out of awareness that cheaper gas
would lead to larger, more polluting cars. Imagine if everyone, daily,
were faced with the choice whether or not to pay those taxes. The market
would sort it out? 

The choices have indeed already been made, often as not, or not made-- by
governments increasingly in the clutches of giant corporations.  Often,
indeed, the best we can do is fight, even while hypocritically continuing
to feed our addictions. Nothing happens overnight. 

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