Wal*Mart comes into a town, and brings incredibly low prices, so people shop there. The local shops suffer and die. Salaries drop.
They screw over employees. They screw over suppliers. They sell cheap crap that breaks and needs replacing. A lot of their products come over on cargo ships registered in Panama so they can ignore the fact their CO2 output violates international agreements.
Eventually the town can’t sustain them, and they leave. I suspect it looks a lot like when the factory employing a town closes.
But this could be stopped at any point. It’s a tyranny of small decisions.
We need to change our disposable lifestyles. Quality products last longer. They’re worth repairing instead of replacing. You can buy from local craftsman and hire local people to repair.
If you can’t afford that, you can learn to restore older used furniture. Yard sales and thrift shops are great sources of good things that need refinishing. If you like the work, that’s even a potential way to make money.
Local purchases mean local skilled jobs. It means less container ships. It means higher salaries, but that’s the type of rising tide that *does* raise all ships.
Corporations are designed to funnel money to the top and investors. Why do I want to fund them? Public companies have a fiduciary responsibility to investors which overrides what I’d consider to be moral choices. Why do I want to fund them? More importantly, why do I want to help them succeed?
There’s other choices available, even if each choice seems wrong in isolation.
Pay more for quality from independent merchants. Paying more up front for quality is eco-friendly and better financially in the long term. It cuts down on waste, usage of non-renewable resources,
Don’t buy things you don’t need. I used to own a hotdog toaster. I still have an egg sandwich maker new in box because I prefer making them myself. I’ve been so guilty of gifting that crap for someone else to throw away.
Avoid chain stores entirely if possible. Pay more for local shops to support the local community. Strike up a conversation with the owner. Community is important.
So many people live isolated from those around them. I still do, but I’m learning. I used my job for community, which made it far harder to leave when it otherwise makes sense to.
I lived in an expensive house in an expensive town so that my kids could have a great education while I still had a livable commute to my high paying job. I’m now trying to shift to a cheap house in a cheap town so that I can keep expenses low enough to figure out how to work for myself. Once I figure it out, I can work just enough for my expenses, and the rest of the time is for my passions. In theory I’d be able to provide my kids with one on one time that can supplement any deficiencies in the schools.
These types are changes are within each of our personal influence. We could each choose to not participate. Each additional person increases the power of the movement, and provides them with a better life. The problem is that we don’t tend to teach entrepreneurship. We treat it as a big scary thing.
Worse, we *make* it a big scary thing. The regulations we put in place to enforce morality on giant companies raise the bar for small companies as well due to a tendency to legislate the how of a particular goal without keeping them in mind. Much like how the straw ban ignored the needs of some disabled people.
The impact of regulations on small business is one area where I agree with Libertarians. The thing I think they’re missing is that we can’t just unleash the corporations. Perhaps if we neutered them first through monopoly busting and other methods of discouraging industry consolidation.
I agree with social programs like single payer healthcare. Health is a public good. It prevents the spread of disease. It prevents injuries from becoming disabilities. It can prevent cared for children from becoming orphans. All of these things keep the community strong.
If you want to debate Socialism itself though, just know that it will put you directly at odds with those of us who are choosing the path available to us now. The “better dead than red” mentality still rings strong with some of these people.
This is where Socialism crumbles. It only works if we all agree to it. As long as a significant portion of the population will not agree, then it can only be achieved by force. I oppose all forms of authoritarianism.
From my perspective, it looks like socialism and fascism rise and grow together. An equal and opposite reaction caused by recognizing extremism with a core that violates what you most care about.
SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.
– Thomas Paine “Common Sense”
I agree with Thomas Paine. We cannot outsource the good of society to government. The stronger the community, the stronger the members of the community. If we help each other, there’s less need for welfare. If we don’t take more than we need, the more than is for everyone else. “Money” isn’t a fixed resource, but most things it pays for are.
Some things do make sense to be handled by the government. I believe it is rare for solutions to have a one sized fits all solution that works for the various cultures within our country. Implementing solutions locally instead of at a state or federal level would reduce the flip flop effect caused by forcing a solution onto a community that it harms.
Even Socialism can work on a small enough scale if that’s what local people want. I’m thinking village/town level or smaller though.