maandag 14 oktober 2013

The Lightbulb Conspiracy


Consumerism = 1. Advertisement - 2. Planned Obsolescence - 3. Credit :
These 3 stages of modern business are worth noting regarding the promulgation of today's world wide consumer system which is presently stripping the natural wealth of the planet for all inhabitants, including man.
Stage 1 (Advertisement), and 3 (Credit) are well known and often discussed in the mainstream arena.
Stage 2 of the consumer process is much less talked about.
Stage 2 - Planned Obsolescence..
Obsolescence is the state of being which an object, service or practice is no longer wanted, even though it may still be in good working order.. (bar say one 'irreparable' defect.. exampled in this case, of the planned variety.
(Often compulsory for those entering into an established market.. i.e. permitted to remain in the fold.)
Thanks to these international, inter-company agreements (well illustrated here in the case of the light bulb's life-reduction over the last century) we really Do have an identifiable template under which large companies Are going to operate.. to maintain consistent profits.
These agreements also foster alliances and understandings between the largest companies, solidifying the groups' monopoly/ duopoly/ oligopoly etc. over their particular market areas.
If there is a display of competition and output styles between the different companies, there Will at least be Some agreements in place to preserve both a steady income and mutually beneficial consolidation for the established players involved. Negating any veritable competition.
These collectivist tactics have been going on too long.. resulting in disastrous consequences globally, in ever-decreasing/expanding circles (how ever you see it) of self-interest.
The illusion of competition is diligently maintained. It's part of everyday business now. Maintained by those in the know (the heads of companies, executives, lobbyists etc.) for the 'benefit' of the consciences of those further down the chain of influence and for those who'd actually care to watch what's going on.
These sorts of corporate activities serve big money interests alone.
NOTE: Over time, production processes are becoming less and less dependent on man power and this is not as good a thing as the Zeitgeist movement would like to promote. (Be careful who your thought-givers are, and what social-engineering intentions for that movement may be). Just do be aware, all otherwise well-meaning movements and institutions Are coopted by the big-boys sooner or later.. and these days Sooner is more likely to be the case.
Today's corporatism is a form of fascism.. less obvious than Nazism ever was. and is far more detrimental to the planet's survival.
It just a little obvious in this day and age what's going on here.. what's been transpiring on our planet since at least the second world war and more likely, to differing degrees, a long time before then.
You can put it down to human nature, or down the activities of a particular Type of human being -- 'enterprising' people who wish to promote their own survival to the detriment of everything else.. the end justifies the means and all that sort of thinking).
This documentary illustrates quite well (to those who'd scoff at such 'beliefs' as) people planning together for their own benefit to the detriment of others in our world.
Conspiracy Factualising (put under the heading of 'Theorising') is a lot more common than many would think.


Check out http://www.corbettreport.com/podcasts/ ..
This is one level-headed and educated guy. Practically every statement of his is linked and documented.
Scroll through his podcasts for a title you find interesting.
Some other links..
Phoebus cartel (wiki)..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebus_cartel
Planned obsolescence (wiki)..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Obsolescence
Fire station bulb shown in the doc..
http://www.centennialbulb.org/
  
Story of Stuff, Full Version; How Things Work, About Stuff



They are the merchants of cool: creators and sellers of popular culture who have made teenagers the hottest consumer demographic in America. But are they simply reflecting teen desires or have they begun to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the hearts--and wallets--of America's youth?

FRONTLINE correspondent Douglas Rushkoff examines the tactics, techniques, and cultural ramifications of these marketing moguls in "The Merchants of Cool." Produced by Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin, the program talks with top marketers, media executives and cultural/media critics, and explores the symbiotic relationship between the media and today's teens, as each looks to the other for their identity.

Teenagers are the hottest consumer demographic in America. At 33 million strong, they comprise the largest generation of teens America has ever seen--larger, even, than the much-ballyhooed Baby Boom generation. Last year, America's teens spent $100 billion, while influencing their parents' spending to the tune of another $50 billion.

But marketing to teens isn't as easy as it sounds. Marketers have to find a way to seem real: true to the lives and attitudes of teenagers; in short, to become cool themselves. To that end, they search out the next cool thing and have adopted an almost anthropological approach to studying teens and analyzing their every move as if they were animals in the wild.

Take MTV. Long considered to be the arbiter of teen cool, the late 1990s saw MTV's ratings on the wane. To counter the slide, MTV embarked on a major teen research campaign, the hallmark of which was its "ethnography study"-- visiting teens' homes to view first hand their lives, interests and ask some quite personal questions.

But what lessons do MTV and other companies draw from this exhaustive and expensive study of teenagers' lives? Does it result in a more nuanced portrait of the American teen? In "The Merchants of Cool," FRONTLINE introduces viewers to the "mook" and the "midriff" -- the stock characters that MTV and others have resorted to in order to hook the teen consumer.

The "midriff"--the character pitched at teenage girls, is the highly-sexualized, world-weary sophisticate that increasingly populates television shows such as Dawson's Creek and films such as Cruel Intentions. Even more appealing to marketers is the "midriff's" male counterpart, the "mook." Characterized mainly by his infantile, boorish behavior, the "mook" is a perpetual adolescent: crude, misogynistic--and very, very, angry.

But also very lucrative. To appeal to the "mook," MTV has created programs such as Spring Break -- a televised version of teen beach debauchery--as well as a weekly program capitalizing on the current wrestling craze.

"What this system does is it closely studies the young, keeps them under constant surveillance to figure out what will push their buttons," says media critic Mark Crispin Miller. "And it blares it back at them relentlessly and everywhere."

Of course, there is resistance to the commercial machine. FRONTLINE takes viewers to downtown Detroit, where media analyst Rushkoff speaks with teens at a concert by the Detroit-based Insane Clown Posse, purveyors of a genre of music that's become known as "rage rock." When asked to describe what appeals to them about such music, the teens invariably respond that it belongs to them; it hasn't yet been taken and sold back to them at the mall. Full of profanity, violence, and misogyny, rage rock is literally a challenge thrown up to marketers: just try to market this!

But marketers have accepted the challenge: rage rock is now big business. Not only has Insane Clown Posse become mainstream, but much bigger acts like Eminem and Limp Bizkit are breaking sales records and winning industry accolades in the form of Grammy nominations and other mainstream music awards.

In "The Merchants of Cool," correspondent Rushkoff details how MTV and other huge commercial outlets orchestrated the rise of Limp Bizkit--despite the group's objectionable lyrics--and then relentlessly promoted them on-air.

But in doing so, critics ask, is MTV truly reflecting the desires of today's teenagers, or are they stoking a cultural infatuation with music and imagery that glorifies violence and sex as well as antisocial behavior and attitudes?

In today's media-saturated environment, such questions, it seems, are becoming increasingly difficult to answer.

"It's one enclosed feedback loop," Rushkoff says. "Kids' culture and media culture are now one and the same, and it becomes impossible to tell which came first--the anger or the marketing of the anger."

Therein lies the danger of today's teen-driven economy, observers say: As everyone from record promoters to TV executives to movie producers besieges today's teens with pseudo-authentic marketing pitches, teenagers increasingly look to the media to provide them with a ready-made identity predicated on today's version of what's cool. Rather than empowering youngsters, the incessant focus on their wants and desires leaves them adrift in a sea of conflicting marketing messages.

"Kids feel frustrated and lonely today because they are encouraged to feel that way," Miller tells FRONTLINE. "You know, advertising has always sold anxiety and it certainly sells anxiety to the young. It's always telling them that they are not thin enough, they're not pretty enough, they don't have the right friends, or they have no friends...they're losers unless they're cool. But I don't think anybody, deep down, really feels cool enough, ever."

And as more and more teens look to the media to define what they should think and how they should behave, even some cool hunters are no longer sure that their work isn't having a negative impact.

"Even though I work at MTV...I am starting to see the world more like someone who's approaching forty than someone who's twenty," says Brian Graden, the channel's president of programming. "And I can't help but be worried that we are throwing so much at young adults so fast. And that there is no amount of preparation or education or even love that you could give a child to be ready."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/

the bitter taste of sugar

The sugar industry is an annual business worth Rs 24,000 crores. But the sugarcane cutter who works for it is paid less than Rs 30 a day. For seven months in the year, these cutters lock their houses and go from village to village to cut canes. But all they get is a paltry wage sans any social security, insurance or education for their children.
They are not the only victims. At the start of the harvest season, the truck owners in the sugar industry are paid a sum by the sugar mills. They have to pay it back in kind with trucks full of cut canes. If they fail to do so, then the factory seizes their trucks, sometimes chains them, tortures them till their families pay the pending amount. None interfere.
This film does not attempt to propose any solutions. In fact, it stays clear of even defining the complexity of the problem. The scope of this documentary is ethnographic. So facts, figures and pontifications have been deliberately avoided. All this film wishes is to plant a seed of awareness in the lull of our sanguine existence. If that is accomplished, then we as film makers will consider our job done.




The Toxins Return

Barbie, H&M jeans, everyday corn- just some of the products recalled due to controls on the use of dangerous chemicals. Now a wave of toxicity cases is calling to account cheap manufacture in countries without chemical controls. We follow the toxic trail from field worker - to customs official - to high street shopper. How much can we trust the products in our family homes?

In Hamburg, the third largest port in Europe, Professor Bauer addresses the disgruntled members of the Dutch Transport Union. Containers coming in with toxins should be marked he says but nobody enforces this - those who break the regulations are not punished. Suddenly a port worker collapses: he has been exposed to toxins and his brain has suffered serious long-term damage. Its difficult to continue after this event the professor says but it shows more than I could ever tell you. Millions of workers are in danger.

If you were to breath in the air from this container you would seriously harm yourself says the chief safety inspector at Hamburg port. Methal Bromide is outlawed in Europe, but it arrives here regularly. Tracing the container back to Hong Kong, the compulsory fumigation of products before shipping, is revealed as a hazard in itself. All of my colleagues here had the same problem says one fumigator After four years Im so sick that I can barely come to work.

More hazardous still is the manufacture. Once I was unconscious in hospital for two weeks says one Indian field worker but I survived and we have no choice but to spray when the worms come. In Indias cotton belt, more pesticides are used than in any other country in the world and highly toxic and often cancerous chemicals can be bought from the local shop.

It is here that clothing giants like H&M find their suppliers. Julia was a loyal employee of a H&M store until repeated exposure to shipments left her seriously ill. I was in a bad state she remembers if Id stayed any longer, I would have lost my kidneys. Not only is testing of products voluntary but some chemical residues from foreign manufacturers are still legal. The responsibility for testing clothes is handed over to foreign suppliers says one textile importer I assume its taken care of.

I think its scary especially if you think of your children wearing these clothes says one H&M customer. Children may be the most at risk. In January 2009, more than 1,300 toxic toys were found in Europe. Actually, this doll is toxic waste and doesnt even belong on the market says one product tester. With toxins connected to record levels of young men with sperm counts so low they will never father children, this eye-opening documentary reveals that stricter controls are critical in our increasingly toxic world.


Blood Coltan

The mobile (cell) phone is a remarkable piece of engineering. But look inside. There's blood in this machine. There's blood in this device because your mobile contains tiny electronic circuits, and they couldn't work without mineral called COLTAN. It's mined in the eastern Congo. There is blood here, the blood of Congolese who are dying in a terrible conflict.

The West's demand for Coltan, used in mobile phones and computers, is funding the killings in Congo. Under the close watch of rebel militias, children as young as ten work the mines hunting for this black gold. 'Blood Coltan' exposes the web of powerful interests protecting this blood trade. Meet the powerful warlords who enslave local population and the European businessmen who continue importing Coltan, in defiance of the UN.


The Dark Side Of Chocolate
The Chocolate Industry. Child Trafficing & Slavery

The Dark Side of Chocolate' is a documentary about the continued allegations of trafficking of children and child labor in the international chocolate industry. While we enjoy the sweet taste of chocolate, the reality is strikingly different for African children. In 2001 consumers around the world were outraged to discover that child labor and slavery, trafficking, and other abuses existed on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, a country that produces nearly half the world's cocoa. An avalanche of negative publicity and consumer demands for answers and solutions soon followed. Two members of US Congress, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Representative Eliot Engel of New York, tackled the issue by adding a rider to an agricultural bill proposing a federal system to certify and label chocolate products as "slave free". The measure passed the House of Representatives and created a potential disaster for Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland Mars, Hershey's, Nestle, Barry Callebaut, Saf-Cacao and other chocolate manufacturers. To avoid legislation that would have forced chocolate companies to label their products with "no child labor" labels (for which many major chocolate manufacturers wouldn't qualify), the industry fought back and finally agreed to a voluntary protocol to end abusive and forced child labor on cocoa farms by 2005. The chocolate industry fought back. Ultimately, a compromise was reached to end child labor on Ivory Coast cocoa farms by 2005. In 2005 the cocoa industry failed to comply with the protocol's terms, and a new deadline for 2008 was established. In 2008 the terms of the protocol were still not met, and yet another deadline for 2010 was set. And in 2010? Almost a decade after the chocolate companies, concerned governments and specially foundations spent millions of dollars in an effort to eradicate child labor and trafficking in the international cocoa
trade, has anything changed? Miki Mistrati and U Roberto Romano launch a behind-the-scenes investigation and verify if these allegations of child labor in the chocolate industry are present today.


WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY?

Since so often the apocalypse-making problems that shock us in the news every day would be solved by consuming less.... here is the 2007 film "What Would Jesus Buy?" Shopping the way that governments and corporations want us to shop - produces C02 emissions. That's the final Venal Sin here. It is bad for the Earth.  shopping less is good for people. Stop Shopping!




Consuming Kids throws desperately needed light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that now sells kids and their parents everything from junk food and violent video games to bogus educational products and the family car.
Drawing on the insights of health care professionals, children’s advocates, and industry insiders, the film focuses on the explosive growth of child marketing in the wake of deregulation, showing how youth marketers have used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world.
Consuming Kids pushes back against the wholesale commercialization of childhood, raising urgent questions about the ethics of children’s marketing and its impact on the health and well-being of kids.


Santa's Workshop - Inside China's Slave Labour Toy Factories

"Sometimes we have no choice, we work till dawn. When you work all night you become dizzy and your eyes hurt because you can't take any breaks"
. SANTA'S WORKSHOP takes you to the real world of China's toy factories. Workers tell us about long working hours, low wages, and dangerous work places. Those who protest or try to organize trade unions risk imprisonment. Low labor costs attract more and more companies to China. Today more than 75% of our toys are made in China. But this industry takes its toll on the workers and on the environment.

The European (and American) buyers blame bad conditions on the Chinese suppliers. But they say that increasingly hard competition gives them no option. Who should we believe? And what can you do to bring about a fairer and more humane toy trade?'

  
China Blue

ake a trip to the place where blue jeans are born in this revealing, clandestinely shot documentary from filmmaker Micha Peled, exploring the plight of South China factory workers struggling to balance Western demands with shrinking wages. Though at first 16-year-old Jasmine is excited to be working alongside her family as a thread-cutter at the Lifeng Factory in Shaxi, South China, her initial enthusiasm is soon squelched by 16-hour work days and payment that makes minimum wage look like a luxury. Pressured by Western companies to shrink their manufacturing costs to impossibly low numbers, the workers who toil away day after day in these factories are often left with little more than dreams of operating their own business when their bodies finally succumb to the damaging effects of their duties.

  
sweat shops






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