StoryOfStuff – Part 4

Continued from part 3

DISTRIBUTION: “Selling all the toxic, contaminated junk as fast as possible”
“Keep the prices low, keep the people buying, keep the inventory moving”
“How do they keep the prices down?”
“They don’t pay the workers very much, and they skimp on health insurance everytime they can. It’s all about externalizing the costs. What that means is the real costs of making stuff aren’t captured in the price.” –
Is there a mandate that companies provide health insurance? It definitely is a perk and people are perfectly able to vote with their feet and take jobs which provide insurance coverage, which will then encourage more employers to provide health insurance.
“We aren’t paying for the stuff we buy”
“I didn’t pay for the radio. So who did pay?”
These people paid with the loss of their natural resource space.
These people paid with the loss of their clean air, with increasing asthma and cancer rates.
A bugbear: healthy diet and exercise have been shown over and over again to allow our body to process toxins it encounters and avoid the problems many people result to medication to resolve. Also, studies have shown that rates of many diseases are not increasing so much as diagnosis of them is. People are more willing to be tested for diseases and conditions and accept treatment of those diseases and therefore the incidence rates are going up. There may indeed be increases in the actual incidence rate, but we cannot know a) how much is accounted for by the more pervasive testing and b) whether there is significant enough correlation between the two data sets to support the claim of pollution causing the increasing incidences of illness.
“Kids in the Congo paid with their future. 30% of kids in the Congo dropped out of school to mine… a metal we need for our cheap and disposable electronics.”If that job payed them more than they’ve ever dreamed of earning before in a society where education does not mean what it means to us, is that as terrible as the initial claims sounds? The video makes the error of viewing these cultures through the prism of a Western viewpoint. The children would be better served in the long run by staying in school now. Their potentials would be significantly improved. But to leave those schools now and go to work supporting their families was a valid and tempting option to many of them. Our cheap and disposable electronics has grown their economy and given money to the lowest of the low in their society. How is that bad again?
These people paid by having to cover their own health insurance. If you compel every employer to provide health insurance, you raise the cost of each employee to their employer. If the cost of employing people goes up, employers will employ fewer people. So then which is better: A worker paying for their own insurance or an unemployed person unable to pay for anything and living off the government dole?
All along this system people pitched in so I could get this radio for $4.99. That is the beauty of the system. It is not perfect, and many people don’t get the same “treatment” by the system. But by and large, more than any other system that has been tried or theorized, more people benefit to a greater extent across all levels of income, culture, and economy by the capitalist system. It is not that capitalism is the perfect system, it is simply the best system we humans can engage in.

Continued from part 5

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