All entries for March 2007

March 24, 2007

Is global warming nothing more than a disguise for anti–capitalism?

The Great Global Warming Swindle, premiered on Channel 4 in the UK on March 8, 2007:

I remember the first time I learnt about global warming, I was about 10, my elder cousin Roy took upon himself to educate my childish mind on alien things such as Global Warming, greenhouse gases, ozone layer, harmful rays from the sun, etc… I was fascinated. And I discovered that I was an environmentalist at heart. Since that moment, I took for granted that excess CO2 emissions from daily human activities was the cause of climate change. No question asked. CO2 = bad, factories = bad, cars = bad, civilization = bad. Things pertaining purely to nature, whether it be music, or organic food specially appealed to me, bands with ‘Escapism’ themes were very much to my liking (Deep Forest, B-tribe, etc), I guess that was the start of the side of my personality I like to think of as ‘rebellious’. I hate video/computer games, I have no enjoyment whatsoever for ‘mainstream’ makes and labels, my idea of a dream car is close to a Smart car, I have no dreams whatsoever of becoming filthy rich and living in a luxurious apartment in the city. I’d much rather live a simple life like a Reggae man on the beach, appreciating the sound of the waves and the crunching of the sand under my feet, and chilling under the cool shade of a large-spanning tree, and all the works. Just to say that Nature was like family to me, and Corporate = bad.

And SO, I decided to do my research paper on Green Taxes. Finding a more effective measure to curb people’s demand towards greener cars. Greener meaning emitting less carbon dioxide. it was all very relevant, my tutor was very happy with it, and I was too. Al Gore’s Inconvenient truth had been out, Stern’s report, the environmental secretary’s new measures, etc etc… Since on March 8, The Great Global Warming Swindle was released. Which I only saw today btw, please forgive my not keeping in touch with current news (caused by addiction to mind-numbing music channels). According to that very seemingly authoritative documentary, the rise in manmade CO2 emissions has NOTHING TO DO with global warming. The earth’s planet constantly changes naturally, and this is due to the Sun and clouds, and has nothing to do at all with man’s daily activities, which apparently constitute an infinitesimal part of total CO2 in the atmosphere (See link on youtube). Apparently, global warming was a political guise started by Margaret Thatcher, who wanted to curb demand away from energy sources such as coal and oil (because she did not trust the middle east, and coal miners were on a massive strike at that time) to nuclear power. and this built up on and on, and quickly became a new ‘religion’ almost, feeding on marxist and anti-growth, anti-development concepts, and particularly anti-capitalism and anti-americanism. To be a rebel in the 2000s had become synonymous to being global-warming conscious. (perfect example = me)

So what IS the truth then? Whatever the scientists put forward in this documentary seems to my almost-graduate mind completely plausible. So, have we grown up being fed on unfounded rubbish all this time? It makes me almost angry at myself for not gone to the trouble of checking the reasoning behind global warming. How irresponsible can the scientific community be, for having let the media spread an illogical LIE for all this time? What’s next? Is the earth really round? Is there really no life on mars? there needs to be a much more efficient link between the media and the scientific community. Not only are both parties to blame, but that just shows how, even in this age of optimal communication due to better technology, how ideas can be distorted, how people are easily duped, and how THE SYSTEM IS VILE.

my research paper, now, instead of being a small personal contribution to save the world, will be a mere economic analysis of a fiscal exercise :(

March 05, 2007

Adding virtue to vanity

Writing about web page

Fair trade, organic, go green. Is consumerism finally turning responsible? In the UK, more specifically in supermarkets, we are certainly assaulted from all sides with ‘ethical’ or ‘green’ products. Are these campaigns really effective? My international economics lecturer doesnt seem to think so. He argues that ‘fair trade’ only ends up forcing developing countries to produce crops they don’t use in mass to profit the supermarket chains. The fact that this involves ‘fair’ employment, and actual benefits to the developing country is highly questionable. What do they mean by ‘fair trade’ anyway? As an economics, what i understand is that it is fair trade as opposed to protected trade, which is when domestic markets are protected by taxes and subsidies against cheaper imports. So, removing these unfair advantages, the developing countries can compete on ‘fair’ grounds. Supermarkets aim at augmenting their corporate responsibility by selling ‘fair trade’ products, however they still buy them extremely cheap from the developing countries, and sell them at a profit here. And the conditions under which production is carried out in the developing countries is highly questionable. From an FT article, an African farmer was interviewed and he was producing vegetables such as mangetout, and babycorn, which would be sold on a european supermarket shelf, but which he would never himself eat. So is this really fair trade?

Bono says ‘shopping is politics’. He believes that by curbing consumer demand towards ‘greener’ products, firms would eventually work towards becoming more environmentally responsible, and aim to satisfy the new trend. So that inevitably seeped into the fashion industry, a trend needs to start at the top, and needs to be adopted by the people’s role-models. In an industry which prides itself on frivolity, originality, and elitism, it might actually work… According to Simon Cipriani from the International Trade Centre, there is a consumer group known as ‘the new authentics’ who wants products that convey a message of authenticity and are still beautifully made (FT). And what’s more authentic than a product made in Africa? So Bono thought, planning to base the production plants of ‘ethical’ fashion line Edun in sub-saharan Africa ( ). Edun is not meant for profits apparently, but more about establishing ethical fashion, and also establishing infrastructure in developing countries. The designs (by designer Barbara Guardicci) are an absolute breath of fresh air, and will in my opinion be a precursor to stimulating consumer demands towards environmental responsibility, see model with ‘peaceful forest/river’ tattoo on forearm. However, Edun faced initial problems such as lack of primary established infrastructure, communication links, and skilled labour, and eventually had to relocate to Peru, India and North Africa (FT). It took much more time than it would normally to be established, but Edun is in full swing now, and is believed to become profitable by 2008.

The new thing will be to look good and to feel good, thus adding virtue to vanity and establishing this as the new fashion statement. Tshirts made from novel sources such as Bamboo shoots, and ‘organic’ jeans (a normal pair of jeans is estimated to use 3/4 of a pound of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers). Clothes made with renewable fibres, embroidered by women in exotic tribes will be the next fashion thing. something to follow…

Source: FT

March 2007

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