criticizing consumerism without critiquing capitalism feels so hollow to me because it's just victim blaming.

I have to live in this system where I'm exploited and deprived of things everyone should have, and someone's gonna give me shit for wanting nice stuff now and then? Fuck off.

Working people should get nice shit, is how I feel. as long as that shit is produced in a way that honors the rights of the people who make it and doesn't exploit people or the planet, we should both produce nice things and let people have those things.

Until then, you're just criticizing a tiny piece of capitalism, the part that tries to find a market for all the goods it produces using the awesome power of exploited labor on a global scale

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@interneteh It's impossible to escape consumerism under capitalism. You cannot seriously critique one without the other.

@interneteh I feel like I feel like “consuming less” and “wanting less” are virtues in a disposable world, but I don’t want to hear it from people/institutions who always have, consume, and want MORE.

Like there’s a difference between hearing the TV go “there is joy in a simpler life 😌” while trying to sell me granola bars, and personally considering whether I need to buy something new or use a disposable convenience item.

@alpine_thistle I mean, even simple things, like a banana or a cup of coffee, entail massive environmental destruction and worker exploitation under capitalism. Try getting a bite of chocolate that wasn't produced by child slaves. Whether a thing is simple or not, it needs to be made sustainable

There are systemic issues and the people at the top, profiting from those systems, are (often successfully) blaming the individuals, that have little choice or power, for the negative externalities.

I first learned about this with plastic packaging. At a certain point it became clear that something had to be done about all this plastic garbage in nature, we could have ended up with restrictions on plastic, or laws about recyclability. 1/

Instead we got the frame that littering is a personal choice and if only we could all become better at cleaning up after ourselves then it will be fine. No need for changes at the source of the problem. Just lay the blame at the consumer.

You see the same happening with the fossil fuel lobby. Shell now has this "Great travel hack" campaign. Where they basically say that all you need to travel carbon neutral is a insanely high cost electric car.

When in fact we need systemic changes like more public transport and the taxing of airplane fuel. The carbon footprint of Shell's "travel hacked" trip across Europe was about 10x higher then the same trip by train.

I even think the same happens with meat consumption. The price of meat is kept artificially low in several ways. If you slowly stop subsidies and require better animal living conditions. The price of meat will go up and meat substitutes will come down.

I think it still has value to take individual action. Become vegetarian or vegan, travel carbon neutral (by train or electric car), recycle your plastic packaging, etc.

But for the real impact we need to change the system for the obvious reason that we are not going to get every individual to take the required action.

But once you notice this tendency for the industries to blame individuals for their destruction of our planet, while ignoring the broken systems that allow this, you will see it everywhere.

Thank you for letting me give my TED-talk in your thread. (I hope that is OK 😬)

@interneteh Thank you! I've been homeless a couple times before and after the last time lived without indoor plumbing for literally years. But fuck me for upcycling a 20 year old pickup for camping and to make things a little easier and comfortable if I end up on the streets again?

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