consumption

People are living on top of each other yet 45% of the earth’s total land mass is dedicated to animal agriculture.

We currently have enough food to feed 10 billion people, but we live in a world where 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, and then the meat is consumed by wealthier countries.

we are struggling to feed a population yet 1.5 acres of land can provide 37,000 pounds of plant based food.
1.5 acres of land can produce 375 pounds of meat.

¾ of the world’s fisheries are depleted. Scientists estimate we may have a fishless ocean by 2048

Does anybody else see a problem with this?
Be a conscious consumer.

“I’ve never even been dizzy off liquor – and never been high or anything. People are always shovin’ it at you, but it’s not beautiful; it’s sloppy. If people want to escape, they should walk the beach or be around children.”

Michael Jackson during interview in 1978

In the 19th century, consumption was thought to be caused by the deceased draining the life from living family members, the deceased were believed to be vampires. The massive outbreak of consumption (tuberculosis) caused the New England Vampire Panic. A panic that had a multitude of victims many of which were already deceased. 

In the late 1800′s, the Brown Family became infamous as a focal point of the Vampire Panic. In December of 1883, Mary Eliza Brown died after a series of consumption infections. A few years later, Mary Olive, the eldest Brown daughter succumb to consumption, Edwin came down with an infection shortly after prompting him and his father to go west for fair weather. Mercy Lena Brown died from galloping consumption in the winter of 1892. Her body could not be buried because of the frigid temperatures so it was stored in a mausoleum until the ground thawed.

Two months after Mercy’s death, Edwin still struggled with symptoms of consumption leading the townspeople of Exeter, Rhode Island to believe one of the deceased family members was a vampire. All the bodies were examined and mercy’s was found to have signs of life: flushed cheeks, hair and nail growth, and movement in her casket. These were the signs that confirmed the townspeople’s worst fear, Mercy Brown was a vampire. Her heart was removed, burned and mixed with water to make a solution, of which her brother Edwin would later consume as a cure.

Unfortunately the sad fate of Mercy Brown was not a singular event. Many families exhumed loved ones and in the desperate search for a cure desecrated the bodies of family members. 

If you’ve ever taken an economics course, you know that markets are supposed to be based on informed consumers making rational choices. If we had a market system like that, then a television ad would consist of, say, General Motors putting up information, saying here is what we have for sale. It’s not what an ad for a car is. An ad for a car is a football hero, an actress; the car doing some crazy thing like going up a mountain or something. The point is to create uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices. That’s what advertising is all about.
—  Noam Chomsky
Commodity

One of the most essential terms with regard to Marx and Marxist theory that often comes up in conversation and tumblr discussions is the word “commodity”. While a commodity, most simply put, is a product of labor – either a good or service – that can be bought, sold, or exchanged in a market, it is important to break down the meaning of “commodity” as a concept.

First, a commodity is produced by a worker’s labor (or the labor of many workers). Under capitalism, commodities are consumed – purchased and used – but first must be produced. Workers, whose labor is exploited under capitalism, produce commodities, while those who control the means of production – the bourgeoisie – aim to make maximum profit from the sale of such commodities primarily by lowering the cost of labor and creating surplus value in the form of underpaid labor. Workers sell their labor to the bourgeoisie in order to get paid so they can secure for themselves food, water, shelter, and other basic means of survival. When labor is sold, it becomes a commodity, and becomes alienated from the worker because the labor no longer belongs to the worker; it belongs to the factory owner. 

Culture can also be a commodity, as we see in the current phenomenon of gentrification – wealthy (typically white) individuals spend extra money to live in a city neighborhood in order to “consume” the idea of “other cultures” or the cultural value created by the presence of artists and community gardens, while at the same time pushing out longtime residents who cannot afford increasing rent prices. This is just one example of how culture is a commodity – going to a movie, buying music, and paying to see art are also forms of “consuming culture”.

It is important to remember that a commodity is not just something that is tangible, that can be held in your hand (like an iPhone), but can also take the form of workers’ labor and culture. There are many forms of consumption that parallel the many forms of commodities, and a Marxist perspective on consumer culture emphasizes the endless nature of production, the exploitation of workers, and the irony that we are all workers, but are also forced to consume the goods we produce.

Mod E

We consume an indigestible amount information daily, as our culture is obsessed with input. We have developed a sort of mental gluttony. We must therefore carefully select which information to process and analyze further, which has become one of the most vital mental disciplines to develop and exercise.