Monday, November 10, 2008

Planned Obsolescence

The lighter fluid for the fires of capitalism.

60 minutes on E-waste, all the thrown out monitors, hard drives, etc. This is really a problem of input and output and the toxic materials as part of the supply chain. To me this calls for a tax on pollution/waste, a heavy one at that (to replace payroll and income taxes), that directs companies towards materials that can be reused. Either recover or reclaim through donations or purchase the discarded materials and they can recycle them back into newer and better technology. The other elephant in the room regarding today's environmentalism is that recycling is an incredibly dirty process as this video hints at:

(I can't get this video to embed properly, so here is the link):
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4586903n


Other links...

Kunstler at his best:
The current occupant of the White House, however, has sedulously prepared for his successor the biggest shit sandwich the world has ever seen, and there is naturally some concern that Mr. Obama might choke on it. The dilemma is essentially this: the consumer economy we all knew and loved has died. There will be pressure from nearly every quarter to keep it hooked up to the costly life support machines even though it is dead. A different economy is waiting to be born, but it is nothing like the one that has died. The economy-to-come is one of rigor and austerity. It is not the kind of thing that a nation of overfed clowns is used to.
A book review of Rod Dreher's new book The Crunchy Cons. I've linked to Mr. Dreher several times in the past and believe this is the direction conservatives need to go and one that I could get behind. Their problem? They are far from it, and many items look like they are straight from Audacity of Hope. It's the type of conservatism I could support (my red):
  • Modern conservatism is too focused on material conditions. The point of life is not to become a more satisfied shopper.

    When Bush told Americans to "go shopping" at the onset of the economic crisis, he revealed a dirty little secret about the global market system: The beast must be fed, or it will turn on you. Whether consciously expressed or unexpressed, consumerism is a materialistic philosophy predicated on unlimited growth, and that translates to happiness being found in more — more things, more gadgets and more markets. There is nothing sacred or spiritual about this.

  • Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

    While Crunchy Cons affirm free enterprise, they are unwilling to do so at the expense of regional economies, small businesses and family farms — all of which have been devastated by the "free global market." Dreher says small, local, old and particular are to be preferred over big, global, new, and abstract. One way to counter the trends of globalism is to see more cottage industries flourish.

  • Obama to create Office of Urban Policy (link).

    and here is a link to Obama's official urban policy:

    STRENGTHEN LIVABILITY OF CITIES

    • Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities: Our communities will better serve all of their residents if we are able to leave our cars, to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives. As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account.
    • Control Superfund Sites and Data: As president, Obama will restore the strength of the Superfund program by requiring polluters to pay for the cleanup of contaminated sites they created.
    • Use Innovative Measures to Dramatically Improve Efficiency of Buildings: Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions in the United States today and carbon emissions from buildings are expected to grow faster than emissions from other major parts of our economy. It is expected that 15 million new buildings will be constructed between today and 2015. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work with cities so that we make our new and existing buildings more efficient consumers of electricity.
    • Foster Healthy Communities: How a community is designed – including the layout of its roads, buildings and parks – has a huge impact on the health of its residents. For instance, nearly one-third of Americans live in neighborhoods without sidewalks and less than half of our country's children have a playground within walking distance of their homes. Barack Obama introduced the Healthy Places Act to help local governments assess the health impact of new policies and projects, like highways or shopping centers.
    Just, please (to whomever is appointed) read my lips, "no new highways." In fact, let's spend the transportation improvement dollars on converting inner city highways to urban boulevards, or else we're undermining everything in the Livability section.