The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “consumerism

Capitalism vs the Environment – Guess Who Wins?

Posted on November 22, 2018

It’s been no secret that one of the great outliers when it comes to climate change has been corporatism specifically and capitalism generally.  Every time something like this is stated – a frequent event – apologists list various examples of where business has made positive and productive progress in sustainability.  Fair enough, but these are exceptions and not the rule. When we speak of capitalism, there is an important distinction because it includes corporations and consumers – a huge difference.  The capitalist culture is one that speaks to the penchant for business to overproduce and consumers to overconsume.  Together, both of these have made the hopes of putting a serious curb in climate change a rather remote one. Recently a group of scientists, put together…

If You Want to Fix Poverty, Fix the Economy

Posted on April 5, 2018

This is from a post I wrote a few years ago (October 2015) and it still seems as relevant today.  We’re still not making the choices necessary to attain serious poverty reduction.   He awoke from a deep slumber a couple of weeks ago to the sound of phone ringing incessantly, but when he answered he didn’t mind. Angus Deaton was being informed by someone on the other end of the phone that he was being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Science. Interestingly, it was how he shed new light on persistent poverty that earned him the credit. Or as the Nobel committee put it: “To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices. Angus…

Election 2015: Will That Be Cost or Value?

Posted on September 18, 2015

IT BECAME ONE OF THE MOST TALKED ABOUT experiments in modern psychology. Around 1970, Stanford researcher Walter Mischel decided to sit a series of four-year-olds in a room and put a marshmallow on a table in front of them. He told them that they could eat the marshmallow right away, but that if they waited until he returned he would give them two marshmallows. Videos shot of the children during that time revealed a lot of squirming and kicking, even kids banging their head on the table. Mischel then followed them through subsequent years and learned some fascinating trends. Those kids that waited until he returned did much better at school and had fewer behavioural problems. Thirteen years later, those kids that waited for…

System Living

Posted on April 9, 2013

When he was young, Winston Churchill used to have nightmares about living a mundane life.  He had witnessed his society slowly settle from its own weight, its people more interested in what they acquired than what they did.  The days of stretching the famous British Empire were receding, in their place a self-satisfied and materialistic life that led to decline.  There were injustices to be corrected in that empire, to be sure, but nothing was worse than … well, nothing.  You can see this in our own society, where our addiction to mediocrity is creating false divisions among us.  When a society has little where else to go it augurs in on itself.  One would think mediocrity would produce a “sameness,” and that’s partially true. …

“Quiet Crisis”

Posted on September 20, 2010

The maddening distraction begins again, as Parliament resumes today.  You’ll hear about jet fighters, the gun registry, the long-form census, and other issues 24/7.  There will be virtually nothing about the increasing gap between rich and poor, the down-on-their-luck Nortel pensioners, the lack of climate change action, no plans for the looming health crisis, the increasing costs of higher education, or how our staggering deficit will be paid off. What this session of Parliament should be all about is the open struggle between public and private life.  Famed American author, Thomas Friedman, has described our current condition: “We have this tendency to extol consumption over hard work, investment and long-term thinking.”  Friedman goes on to elaborate on how our concentration on ourselves as opposed…