Renaissance or Dark Ages: It’s Your Choice

The following is excellent advice for those just ‘awakening’ and a great reminder for those fully ‘awake’ from Jeff Fitchett at Activist Post.

When sifting through all the issues that we face as a civilization we can easily become overwhelmed with a sense of futility. How can one person positively impact their own situation and effect change on a much larger scale? We are at a tipping point right now in our history where we are being forced to change whether we like it or not. We do, however, have some say in how we change. Our political, corporate, food, health, environmental and social structures are degrading rapidly before our very eyes.

Our personal actions keep these social structures intact. The most important thing we can all do is to think critically, independently and become aware. Think about what you are being told and challenge the premise. Realize that the media is a business. Their job is to make money. They make money from advertisers and subscriptions from people like you and I. They are selling you a point of view, a lifestyle, a brand, a political view, etc. Dig deep and question the information. Our education system solidifies our future life path. We as parents, mentors and leaders must take back control of how we think and break the predetermined path that our younger people and future generations of people will take going forward. We need to lead by example and stop waiting for the government to fix our problems. The government is part of the problem and they are bought and paid for by corporate interests.

If we stop supporting specific aspects of each power structure, small changes will take root and bloom into positive change. Economy and jobs are the hot button topics that the media and government focus on. Money is the Holy Grail in our society today. We all know that Wall Street and mega-corporations are raping the social fabric of our society. Remove your money from their hands and they will have less power. Corporations will do anything it takes to get your money. If you alter your spending patterns, you can guarantee corporations will alter their businesses plans. If you purchase ethical and environmentally sound products and more people do the same, corporations will be forced to adapt or they will go out of business. As more businesses enter the “ethical” space, prices will drop because of free-market principles. Costs will go down as volumes and competition increase.

Support locally produced goods and services. The trickledown effect to local economies can be financially immense. For example, if you buy food from local farmers markets, the farmers benefit from higher income, the food is fresher & healthier and there is less environmental impact due to lower shipping costs.

Consider moving your bank accounts to credit unions and support local cooperatives. Companies such as Wal-Mart are destroying our standard of living. More and more jobs are being outsourced as consumers spend their money at Wal-Mart. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to stop. Support small and midsize local businesses. They are the biggest employer by far. You have the power to choose where you spend your money.

As well, make your money go further and purchase second-hand items as much as possible. Websites such as Craigslist and Kijiji are excellent spots to look for used items. Why buy something brand new and pay top dollar when you can get many items in near-perfect condition for 75% or more off the regular price or possibly free? Thrift stores are another excellent source of goods that can save you lots of money. Search the Web and you can literally find anything you want.

Oppose the operations of large corporations that are exploiting our existence. We have seen an amazing uprising in Canada against Enbridge Inc. and their proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. The Conservative Government of Canada is very skilled at manipulating the media and neutralizing the opposition parties, but they have been unable to contain the backlash from grassroots movements that oppose this pipeline.

Get involved with activist organizations and take direct action. Attend protests, write & email letters to corporations & politicians and spread information to friends, family and using social media. If a politician is inundated with pressure from constituents you can count on the politician taking notice. To quote Malcolm X, “Power never takes a back step only in the face of more power.” Realize that we each have power. When masses of people stand up as one, change can happen. We are at the beginning stages of a global revolution.

As the global economic conditions collapse further, many systems could and will fail. Our food system is based on the “just in time” model. There is only a few days’ worth of food in grocery stores and the same can be said with other types of necessities such as gasoline. Look at the fallout from Hurricane Sandy and the panic that resulted. Spend some time reading up about what’s happening currently in Greece & Spain, Russia in the ’90s, Argentina in 2001 or even what happened to people during the Great Depression. You will quickly notice that there are eerily similar issues that citizens faced in each of these countries at different points in history. Stock up on food and water now. It is such a simple thing to do. If you have the financial means to buy a year’s worth of food immediately, go for it, otherwise buy a little extra food every time you grocery shop. It will slowly add up over time. Think about other items that you could not live without for an extended period of time. We are all different and what you think is a necessity could be a luxury to someone else. Search the Web for “prepping” and “survival” sites. There is a mountain of information available.

From an investment standpoint, realize that the money you invest in the market (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) enable corporations to keep this big Ponzi scheme going. Consider investing in hard assets such as land, precious metals or other assets that could be sold or bartered for in the future. Firearms, ammunition, tools, books and self-reliance items such as canning jars are all alternative options.

Have physical cash at home. All throughout Europe, banks are limiting the amount customers can withdraw from their bank accounts.

Mentally, this is a lot take in. As things worsen, psychologically we are all going to go through a grieving process. Carolyn Baker is an excellent source of information. She has books and a website with oodles of information on emotional resilience. All and all, we need to downsize our way of life and live more sustainably. This means different things to different people. Chris Martenson, of peakprosperity.com, has a lot to offer from an awareness standpoint. His story resonates with me because he has gone from living the American Dream to becoming a champion for awareness and sustainability. Publications such as Mother Earth News offer great articles on simple living. A renaissance of our civilization is possible if we individually take positive steps, another Dark Age is the outcome if we do nothing.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

      
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6 Responses to Renaissance or Dark Ages: It’s Your Choice

  1. James Davis says:

    Excellent article except that Walmart has done more to improve our standard of living than any corporation or government on the planet. They have become the largest company in the world by providing goods and services at a lower price than their compitition thus improving the purchasing power of all that buy from them.

    • rogerunited says:

      The problem with Walmart, and all the other national chains, is they replace several locally owned businesses and all the profit goes to the home office instead of being spent locally. While we do get cheap consumer products, the cost to local community and economy outweighs it in my opinion.

      Walmart has one manager and maybe a few assistant managers or dept. managers who make a decent wage, but most of the jobs they supply are slightly above minimum wage. Compare that to having locally owned grocery, sporting goods, car parts, clothing and toy stores who’s owners spend all that profit in the local economy by buying a house, hiring landscapers/housekeepers, eating at local restaurants, buying a car and having it serviced at a local dealership, etc. I think over all we would be better off without the big box stores.

      I am not a libertarian, neither do I believe these stores are “evil”, they just out competed their competition in the economic structure that we currently have.

  2. Bob says:

    James, I agree that WalMart has provided cheaper goods which has helped us stretch our dollars. I also remember how excited I was when we got our Super Store. But you know what I’ve realized? Those cheap goods come at a cost. The old adage, “There is no free lunch,” is quite true. WalMart drives out small businesses wherever it goes which costs us jobs. The products they offer are primarily made in China, to the point that some call WalMart ‘China Central’. Most of those products are cheaply made and break or wear out quickly (think planned obsolescence) so, instead of paying more once for a durable quality product, we pay less multiple times for a shoddy product.

    But the greatest cost of all, the one that finally drove me away from WalMart, to the point that I rarely even enter the store, was discovering that the cheap products are made with slave labor. Our inflation rate is kept down and our standard of living is kept up on the backs of slaves. The Chinese government has actually installed suicide nets around their multi-story factories because there is so much slave suicide. I can’t imagine working twelve hours or more a day and returning ‘home’ to a small cell and never even getting to leave the building. Can you imagine the despair?

    That was it for me; when I discovered the truth of how the products were made. At some point, if we really want to change our world for the better, we have got to come to the realization that placing the material over the spiritual will keep us all in slavery, to one extent or the other. Every religion on the planet (excepting Satanism) has their own version of the Golden Rule. I don’t think that’s an accident or a coincidence.

    James, I was where you are until I learned the truth. As I tell the kids I teach, “Don’t believe me or anyone else. Verify it for yourself.” Once you do that the knowledge belongs to you. You own it. Hopefully, once you own it you’ll change to live you life by and according to it. That’s how we change the world, one small step at a time. ‘Do you really believe what you believe is really real?’ If you do, you’ll walk the walk.

  3. James DAvis says:

    Bob, your heart is in the right place, but you are not seeing the full effects of your suggestion based on economic history. What you are suggesting, using a real example, is that it is better for H.O. Schwartz and local stores to sell its toy helicopters for $200.00 each so that only rich parents could afford them rather than let Wal-Mart sell the same item for $40.00, so middle/lower income kids could have such a gift. Also small Mom and Pop stores do not pay their employees near as much nor offer the fringe benefits and bonuses that Wal-Mart gives its employees.
    Wal-Mart creates more jobs than are lost by others because it has created wealth, not destroyed it. When people spend less for groceries at Wal-Mart it means they have more money left over to buy that new something at another store. That other store would not exist nor have employees if people’s disposable incomes were not made greater by Wal-Mart’s lower priced goods.
    Wal-Mart’s quality control system is among the best in the world. Yes, they sell lower quality items for significantly less than some similar higher quality higher priced items. True freedom requires that we are allowed to make our own choices concerning quality and price. Wal-Mart buys in bulk and as a result gets the best prices for the quality for its customers.
    It is lamentably true that the Chinese pay their employees much lower than we do (and have some prison “slave” labor) but if we all refused to buy Chinese goods, those people would starve to death. Is that what you want? Also paying more at Wal-Mart for higher priced goods means that our consumers having less disposable income means that other businesses and jobs here will never be created.

    • Bob says:

      James, I thought WalMart was famous (infamous) for their low pay and lack of benefits? Also, I’ve been a small business owner and I can tell you from experience that my employees were much better treated, compensated, and had better benefits than WalMart employees by a considerable margin. I can’t speak for all small businesses, but the ones I’ve been involved in/with and observed behaved in like manner.

      I think I probably didn’t explain myself clearly on the quality issue. Have you noticed that the things we used to buy lasted a lot longer than the things we buy now? My point is that I’d rather pay a higher price for a quality product that would last many years than a low price for a product that I have to continually replace during the same period of time. In the long run, the quality product costs far less.

      As regards the impact on Chinese workers, I’ll agree with you that globalism is a complex issue with many unintended results. Our American desire for cheap stuff fuels the slave labor and sweat shop practices in China, but the reason they resort to such is to undercut the price of American products to gain market share. So far, they’ve been very successful. I do agree with you that freedom does mean we each make our own choices and are responsible for them. That agreed to, we can agree to disagree on the rest. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. James Davis says:

    Nobody is forced to work at Wal-Mart. If one can find a better job at higher pay with more benefits, they would not work there.

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