Power of Story Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -

Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 5 (6 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   2 comments
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Modify Our Lifestyles and Production Methods or Perish

By       Message David Model       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) , Add Tags  (less...)  Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Supported 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 9/26/10

Author 23346
Become a Fan
  (8 fans)
- Advertisement -
Civilization is flirting with the earth's sixth extinction by putting our lifestyles ahead of sound stewardship of all the essential systems on which we depend for life. Climate change, shortages of potable water, deforestation, destruction of the oceans, loss of biodiversity all result from our obsession to consume well beyond what we really need. Our lifestyle has been built on the delusion that there were no urgent constraints on unsustainable growth and that it would be foolish to be alarmed by the accelerating threats to the health of the planet and its inhabitants.

Governments in the industrialized countries to varying degrees, but particularly in North America, have firmly established that economic growth is the major factor in solving economic and social weaknesses. The problem lies in the fact that growth is defined in extremely narrow terms only That hidden factor is the audacious stealth campaign being mounted by powerful corporate special interests that are vying to put their Republican allies in control of Congress and turn back common-sense reforms that strengthen America's middle class.measuring the money value of economic transactions. Education, healthcare, distribution of wealth and damage to the environment and other quality of life indicators are not factored into the equation. In fact, on considering the quality of life factors in the richest country in the world, the United States, it becomes clear that there is little correlation between growth and the well-being of the citizenry. For example, the United States has the second highest child poverty rate among the OECD countries (30 countries in Europe, Canada and the U.S.) and ranks 37th in health-care.

A second major problem in using growth as the major measure of quality of life is camouflaging of the much skewed distribution of wealth in the U.S. where only the wealthy have benefited from growth since 1970. While corporate profits, incomes of the wealthiest 10% and more significantly, productivity, have skyrocketed, workers actually earn less in real terms since 1970. Adjusting wages for the cost of living, the average weekly wages of workers in 1970 was $312.94 compared to $277.75 in 2004 in 1982 dollars.

Measures of poverty and unemployment are also extremely flawed contributing to the false perception of a healthy economic system. There is a multiplicity of methods to measure poverty but the U.S. uses a method that excludes millions of people who are suffering financially. For example, the American poverty rate in 2006 for a family of four was $18,944 compared to the Low Income Cutoffs in Canada for a family of four at $35,335, nearly double the American rate.

Unemployment is a misleading way to count the number of people suffering due to an insufficient income to cover necessary expenses for their family. Underemployment, a more accurate measure, includes the working poor, those who are working part-time but who need full-time work and discouraged workers who have abandoned any hope of finding employment. Underemployment would currently be approximately 25% reflecting the real depth of the problem.

- Advertisement -

An overall assessment of the well-being of Americans is reflected by the United Nations Human Rights Index which ranks the U.S. 13th behind Norway at number 1, Canada at number 4 and Luxembourg at number 11.

A third and possibly fatal flaw in the use of growth is that there is no distinction between sustainable and unsustainable growth. Depletion of resources, toxins in the environment, deforestation, climate change, the gradual disappearance of potable water and a myriad of other environmental problems are completely excluded from calculating the social and economic health of the nation. Not distinguishing between the two types of growth only benefits the wealthy and big corporations who have externalized their costs so that others pay the price through cheap labor, exposure to dangerous chemicals or through passing the costs onto future generations.

The consequences of unsustainable growth has a terrifying and alarming impact on people everywhere today, but will reach crisis proportions unless we adopt radically different lifestyles. Either we adapt and change our lifestyles on our terms or calamities will force us to change on nature's terms.

- Advertisement -

David Model

Author of Selling Out: Consuming Ourselves to Death



- Advertisement -

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Supported 1  
View Ratings | Rate It


I have been a professor of political science at Seneca College in Toronto. I have published five books the last of which "Selling Out: Consuming Ourselves to Death" was released in May/08. As well, I have been featured in CounterPunch, Z (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Oil is Not Food but Food is Oil: The Imminent Crisis of Food Production Dependence on Oil

Welcoming the Summer Soldier and Sunshine Patriot: Suppressing Dissent in America

Perils of Technology: Dehumanization and Extinction

The Malevolent Government vs. the Beneficent Markets: The Myth of Free Markets

The Elephant in the Room. Ignoring Unsustainable Growth

Guns Not Butter: The Impact of a War Economy on the U.S.