Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit, Ad-blocking and the Blaring Trumpet.

What are you seeing from up there, Mr. Crow?
Two news stories this morning:
  1. Users of the internet can buy ad-blocking software that eliminates most advertising from showing up on their mobile devices. If we all bought the software, ad revenues that pay for the production of what we use on the internet would dry up and Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. would disappear, along with a myriad of research sources, amusement sites, etc. etc. In short, the death of the internet unless its consumers would be willing to pay large fees to maintain it.       We’ve long been able to watch nearly-free television because the pesky ads paid for it for us. Same principle.
  2. Britain has decided to exit the European Union. A lot of the Brexit hype stressed the economic and legal strictures the union put on Britain and the perception that such “globalization” benefits the wealthy and powerful and impoverishes the rest, and that softened borders makes it too easy for undesirables to get into the country.

Both stories are gloomy. They remind us that our unhappy marriage to corporate wealth and power is insoluble unless we’re willing to give up stuff we cling to like barnacles on a ship’s hull. The protestors against fossil-fuel dependency have to grind their teeth at the fully-justified accusations that they drive cars, fly in airplanes, use petroleum-sourced products routinely. We surely know that if the production and use of fossil fuels were made illegal right now, our lives as we know them would tank, bite the biscuit, kick the bucket, be flushed down the toilet.
      At present, only corporate or communal wealth and power is capable of building a car, manufacturing a smart phone, running a communications network, producing the necessary supplies of food, drugs, consumer goods and leisure opportunities that we either need or desire.
      Our local Lion’s Club is not about to take over the production of computers if IBM and Apple are defuncted. Churches and mosques, temples and synagogues would build lousy roads even if they were willing to attempt it.
      A commentator said that if we give people the choice of doing what’s right or doing what’s free, most of us will choose free . . . virtually always. No matter how much we rail against the tyranny of corporate wealth and power, we are bound to neglect the fact that it was our needs and wants that made them what they are, to forget who it is that fulfills our dreams. Let’s look to our own ethics first.
      We don’t want to know that the problems of climate change, earth degradation, wars and political conflict, etc., etc., are products of ours and our family’s and neighbours’ choices.
      Donald Trump is promising to take back America; his backers love the phrase but I’d venture to guess that most of them (including Trump himself) haven’t the faintest idea what that noble-sounding phrase actually means in practice. Brexit has started Britain on a road to “taking back their country.”        
     They will undoubtedly find in the end that “taking back the country” in the way they’ve visualized through rose-coloured glasses will be the equivalent of the proverbial “shooting oneself in the foot!”
      To my mind, there’s only one viable way to own both the resources necessary to provide us with the goods and services we need while keeping control over the excesses corporate wealth and power currently tend to admit, encourage. Shareholders guide the actions of corporate wealth and power, presumably, and if the shareholders are all of us—as is the case with SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, for instance—we share in the direction setting and in the blame when mistakes are made. In such an environment, the need for a Brexit, for ad-blocking, for Donald Trump and his ilk wouldn’t arise to fuel our rage and imagined persecution.
       We should be able to kick out the management (our elected government) if the efficiency AND/OR the ethics of our corporations don’t pass muster!
      Unfortunately, private corporations now own the media, by and large, and we’ve been cajoled and “tricked” into choosing the governments that suit the wishes of private corporations even as we rail against them.
      There are plenty of photos of our real
enemy, people. They hang right above the sink in each of our bathrooms.
      For God’s sake, READ SOMETHING.


  1. It seems to me that this is the kind of comment that we need to hear, George. I wonder how many people are puzzled by the happenings in our world today. What is the bottom line behind the support for Donald Trump? How come so many people in England's smaller cities and rural areas want to free themselves from the European Union? Why are there so many supporters of the NRA when the cost in lives is so terrible?

    Somehow all these things are connected but our society will not take any effective action unless we can understand the underlying sources of the angst that is moving people.

    We won't likely survive our present system but we don't have a clue how to survive without it. Now is the time for thought and genuine research and conversations that can look at all sides of the issues. We can't afford partisan politics that demand that its answers be applied before we know what the questions are. We can't afford the 1% who benefit from the present system but we don't know how to get along without the products their system produces.

    I admit I join right in with the production of GH gasses but I don't know how to stop. Probably stopping will only happen when there is a society-wide effort to produce alternatives.

    Thanks for your contribution to the conversation George. Let's keep it up.

  2. Thanks Hugh. Appreciate the conversation.