Thursday, October 21, 2010

The commodification of trash and a four day sabbatical

Our societies revolve around natural resource extraction. The only way to generate any "monetary" value in this world is to produce something, from materials that were at one time in our Earth. It doesn't seem to me that just being good people and doing any good generates any monetary value. Even if you are a high school teacher, the money you receive was "brought" into the world because somewhere, at some time, alumina was extracted from the earth, or an oil rig was set up. Currently, there is no way for us to value something untouched, unharmed, and unviolated.

Laura (Smith) raised an interesting point during our discussion at Crazy Wisdom Tea Room about commodification of resources. The commodification of resources makes someone money, because of the demand that they create for it. The fact that someone is currently making money on a resource, and currently paying an overspending government taxes on the money that they make creates a vested interest in being irresponsible about that resource. Conservation is instantly booted out of the door when people want to make as much money as possible in the shortest time possible and people of the future can deal with the depleted resources with the "knowledge" we will have gained through the resource depletion. Trust me, some people think in this way.

I wrote recently about the vested interests in trash; trash is big business. People want there to be trash, so that they can make money and support their families by dealing with it. Trash is commodified, and the more we produce, the more money landfill owners make through tipping fees. The commodification of trash allows us to be irresponsible about its generation. We don't see landfill owners coming out and saying, "Geez, these trucks just keep coming. This can't be good for our air, water or soil. STOP THE TRASH!" Indeed, that would be a strong criticism of our society. Instead, as long as the cash is flowing in, landfill owners, petroleum companies and utilities would love to satisfy your commodity needs.

I am going to Sameer and Christy's wedding in Ohio, and will not be able to blog for the next few days. Expect an update on Sunday evening. Please keep the thoughts rolling in.

1 comment:

  1. Had a great time talking to you this weekend. I spent the night reading through your blog. Quite impressive work so far. Keep up the good work!