An evolutionary stable strategy is one where all members of a group do (possibly terrible) things because the one who stops will suffer in comparison to the others. And so the pattern continues: «once it is fixed in a population, natural selection alone is sufficient to prevent alternative (mutant) strategies from invading successfully.» Male lions continue killing the cubs of their predecessors. People continue driving cars and flying planes.
Unlike lions, humans have the ability to regulate their societies. We *could* legislate against cars and planes, against beef and oil, against antibiotics and growth hormones in animal feed. But that just shifts the point of view: between nations, the same law holds true: the first one to stop will suffer in comparison to the others. Which is practically nobody wants to be the first.
The second best approach we have is education: we know better but we cannot change our behaviour, so we teach our kids to do better where we failed, and wait for our generation to die. The mortality rate limits how quickly humanity can change. I guess that points us to one possible factor that will improve the rate of change regarding climate change: the people in power simply dying of old age.
But think about the far future: whatever the catastrophe, however much biodiversity is lost, however many species went extinct, however many people have died: our descends will claim that they made the changes *just in time*. Because those changes happened just in time for their present to be only one there is. Everything else will be "alt history". Like: nobody cares about the possibility of us having killed Hitler earlier. WW2 ended just so that our present world could emerge.
I guess I'm one of the kids that grew up knowing better. I knew that the environment was important, but my generation was also too weak to affect real change. It was slow. I remember when I was 18, our history teacher asked us about our votes. I would have voted Green (but couldn't, because I was foreigner living in Switzerland). One guy had voted for the Car Party "for balance". 🤦♂️ Change is extremely slow. But as the old generations are dying, real change is ever more plausible.
The future people of Earth will look back and describe the events unfolding now as a successful last-minute turnaround, a miracle, ignoring the fact that we could have done all of this back in the seventies when people realised that the whales were dying, that Smog was killing us, when the trees started dying, when the hole in the ozone layer was discovered. But we found a way to manage the damage. We changed, as slowly as possible. Finally, we're picking up speed.
@kensanata first time i visited europe i was surprised by how much people in a 'first world' country could actually live their whole lives thinking they are 'good people' and 'do no harm to others' (and really, they're not doing anything wrong) and recycling and being nice to their neighbors. without realizing they were working for companies that actively engaged in social exploitation in far-away lands, buying things made by someone that makes 1 dollar a day etc.
because in these first world country everything is so clean and orderly. and the trains come on time and you don't see poor people on the streets. poverty is elsewhere. but it's hard to see how much your life impacts poverty across the globe in these situations. we need to remember, as david harvey always says, how did the food we eat was produced. the things we buy. why are they so cheap? how can i buy a shirt for 5 dollars if getting a haircut where i live costs 4x that?
@kensanata also: first time in europe i went straight to Switzerland, so you can image the shock >.<
@olivia Imagine my shock when I spent two weeks in Rio de Janeiro. 😄
@kensanata hahahaha poor you
@olivia no stopping at the red light at night what is going on!? 😱 Hahaha
@kensanata yeah, and i remember my brother-in-law stopping at the red light in the middle of nowhere at 2am and thinking 'this is a bit stupid'
@kensanata in fehraltorf that is
@kensanata switzerland is a very strange place. so clean and tidy. 'capitalism gone right'. while outsourcing destruction. normal people are hardly aware of that.
@olivia There was a little wakeup call when the opposition started unveiling the magnitude of the cooperation between the financial sector and Apartheid so many years ago. And slowly now some people are trying to push for legislation putting companies on trial here in Switzerland for the crimes of their subsidiaries abroad. (I fear that the initiative will fail but I would love for it to make it!)
@kensanata yeah, that would be something. but imagine paying everyone the same you pay a swiss worker. how could you possibly make a 5 dollar shirt like that?
@olivia Of course not. Back in the pre-globalisation days, shirts were super expensive and people did a lot of mending. I don't know anybody who still mends socks, for example. My grandparents still did! Mending T-shirts is basically an anti-capitalist statement these days!
@kensanata specially in places like switzerland! i mean, here in countryside bahia we still do a lot of mending in comparison. but imagine how my husband's family see him now. what a weirdo.
we're pretty 'rich' by the town's standard in a sense. for his family, we live in a shack.
@kensanata or not getting a new phone every year. driving the same car since 2005. or not having a car at all.
@kensanata but it's hard to notice all these things when you live in a big city, and even worse when you live in a big city in a developed country. it's all so NORMAL.
@kensanata but i tell ya when my husband's swiss family visited i was EXHAUSTED. his 10-year-old nephew was a constant reminder of so many things gone wrong in how 'normal' people in developed countries understand the issues in poorer places.
and the fact neither parents even TRIED to talk to him about it.
@kensanata he couldn't even understand why on earth would we SHARE a pizza.
@olivia Also, I would already be happy if Nestlé couldn't lean back and relax here in Switzerland when people get killed.
Oh, just found this older article mentioning Brazil, too…
Anyway, I can't bear to read about all these terrible conditions and think that allowing these issues to go to trial would be a good first step.
@kensanata uh, yes. husband here hates nestlé even more than i do.
being aware of things is always a good first step. we're just probably a little late on that ¬¬
@olivia Exactly right! Capitalism focuses a lot of energy on products: making them, shipping them, selling them, buying them, consuming them. We are disintermediated from each other as all the media, all the talk, so much of our society revolves around products and not people. Which is also why getting your hair cut is such an intimate and anti-capitalist thing: it won't scale, it won't travel. And most importantly: strangers are touching your head!! 😃
Very much reminded of 'Governing the Commons' by Ostrom, all about how many groups of humans throughout history managed to coordinate against 'the tragedy of the commons'.
Also 'Meditations on Moloch', an essay on similar observations and the tendency of 'the market' to eat itself... https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/
@douginamug @kensanata @olivia I'm reminded of an article I read recently, on how Engels found the 19th century British working class was turning bourgeoisie on the back of imperialist exploitation -- sadly I can't find where I get it from. Anyone knows of a source?
Or of that Good Place episode where they realized even the most virtuous live imposes so much negative externalities.
@douginamug @kensanata @olivia
re: the lack of awareness, I had an ex expressed amazement that I lived in poverty when I moved back to Indonesia for a few years and was making 10-25% of what someone in the same position would make in the US. It's hard for First World consumers to contemplate that, given all the unsustainable cheap goods available in their society, clearly others in the rest of the world don't live the same way.
@olivia @douginamug @kensanata indeed. Europe seems to still be in a better place - witness products like the FairPhone that tries to be repairable and ethically sourced. Doesn't even run in the US (the makers don't see the market in supporting US frequency bands I suppose). Or how Americans think driving is a privilege instead of a necessary evil because of bad urban planning.
@michel_slm @douginamug @kensanata i mean, it's only human. i lived two years as a backpacker, didn't need much of anything, could sleep in different beds every week etc. you can get used to that. but you can also, very quickly, get used to having your own bed and your own pillow and the breakfast you like.
Back to Alex's point about avoiding destructive company: I currently work for Facebook (avoiding it when possible outside of work), and it's scary how some well-meaning coworkers can't even see us as a necessary evil at best, and that distributed, non-adtech-funded ownership is more sustainable
Which is why it's also scary that my employer is hoovering up talent in specific tech roles (and also a good thing that many capable people are now refusing to work there for ethical reasons, otherwise we'll suck the talent well dry)
@michel_slm @douginamug @olivia «You ask me what the English workers think about colonial policy. Well, exactly the same as they think about politics in general: the same as what the bourgeois think. There is no workers' party here, there are only Conservatives and Liberal-Radicals, and the workers gaily share the feast of England's monopoly of the world market and the colonies.» https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1882/letters/82_09_12.htm
One aspect, one dilemma that seems not to be getting enough attention, particularly in Europe / the US, is that, on the one hand, we obviously need to get out of carbon fuels pronto, but meanwhile the expansion of renewables promises to introduce new colonialisms in terms of:
@olivia @kensanata @michel_slm @douginamug re 'less energy', one question then seems to be, how do we formulate the demand for that in an appealing way? how do we show that living with less energy is not about tightening our belts even further but is actually going to be a part of a world that's much better to live in than this one?
in developing countries, on the other hand, people are just starting to get an idea of what that is, and most are somewhat dazzed by it. where i live most people own a low-end smartphone and would love to be able to switch it for a newer faster shinier one. i got myself a dumbphone and everyone thinks i'm crazy. but i'm the privileged one here, so i'm no parameter.
sure consumption and energy use in developing countries is nowhere near what it is in developed ones, but the ideal of the good life still is, in a sense, that old 'american way of life', buying fancy things, big car, 'getting there' in life (showing to your neighbors your tv is bigger and better). it's too deep in our culture, and whoever tries to walks a different path is probably a dirty hippie or just simply a weirdo (me, according to other people).
@poebbel @kensanata @michel_slm @douginamug because this is not an individual action. you don't change culture like that, i think. it needs to come from government regulations, and people will be forced to change, so, as alex reminded, it won't cause some people to suffer because they dropped a 'bad habit' while everyone else still do it and benefit from it.
Several people that I met in the villages of India, in fact, like the simple lives they had - self reliance, sustainable. The trouble is that capitalism has invaded their societies in two ways - forcing them to sell their produce cheap, driving the cost of living high. Not to mention the govt supported "creation of free markets" That takes their land away and forces migration to city slums. The yearning for the "shiny American life" does exist but largely in urban areas.
@prasoon that's true :) though what i do see here in brazil when you're in a place just slightly bigger than a village (i live in a town with 10 thousand people) is these ideals based on buying stuff are already everywhere, even if not as strong as in a bogger cit, where marketing is dominant.
@olivia I've found the smaller towns to be the worst - they are wanna be cities - have the same consumerism thirst like cities but lack education and awareness. These are usually places that reject all the nice things from villages and adopt the evils of cities. I speak with India as the frame of reference of course, other places might certainly be different.
@prasoon i see this more in brazil than in argentina, for example, but what you say does make sense.
as you said, it will depend a lot on education and awareness. in argentina and uruguay small towns have a different vibe and rhythm.
@prasoon but there are people that resist; either because it's just the life they know and like or because they gave up on a crazy city life (i'm trying!)
@olivia a local haircut would cost maybe 50 cents 30 rupees same as breakfast but I'd have to live near a local barber to take advantage of that. Not sure why Nestle's gets such bad press in the last century most activists pushed a story that they gave free baby formula to mothers in an african country and when their milk production dried up started charging them. 3rd worlders I guess have the same existential moral problems without the clean roads rule of law etc. If any of you guys @kensanata
@olivia @kensanata @DesCoutinho Nestlé also does signficant business in Israel amid the occupation, as well as the US state KY, which has extreme #abortion policy against women's rights. The CEO of Nestlé is a scumbag himself, as he does not believe ppl have a right to drinking water (amid the Flint, MI water problem).
@aktivismoEstasMiaLuo But if you look at what Coca Cola did in Kerala is they bribed a local politician because that was the cheapest way to do business. They are no different from any multinational foreign or domestic led. Its easier to put it all on one nameable evil but usually all white people are complicit is what they say over here. @olivia @kensanata
Your thesis is essentially "all companies are same ethically" I've studied corporate wrongdoing enough to it's not even close. Consider the boycotts against the NRA in the US. Many companies discontinued NRA support & most companies wouldn't support NRA in the 1st place. And yet there were still hold outs like #FedEx who still supports NRA along with a long list of right-wing evils (e.g #ALEC membership). There's a big difference ethically between FedEx & USPS.
@aktivismoEstasMiaLuo The NRA is an american fixation yes. Second amendment was badly framed. First it talks about preserving a disciplined militia to prevent another government tyranny USA was formed by sedition so why not again. Then it drops the idea of a militia and says every body has the right to bear arms. But it's an American thing. I wouldn't trust every Indian with a gun they are bad enough when all they got is a rope. @olivia @kensanata
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