The Corporate Clusterfuck

11 11 2013

The term Clusterfuck was first coined by James Howard Kunstler.  He even calls his blog “Clusterfuck Nation”.  What brought this to this page you ask?  THIS image……..

corporateclusterfuckTo view this properly, you’ll have to click on it……  and then magnify it.  The resulting perusal will surely blow you away.  Not even I who shops sparingly and almost never buys processed food managed to find one or two items we occasionally purchase, such are the tentacles of the corporate Matrix……

I think most people’s first reaction is that “they had no idea”.  Well, it’s wakey wakey time.

Since Russell Brand’s infamous foray into the BBC’s Paxman show, there has been a lot of talk about ‘revolution’ on the internet, and I have to say I’ve written my fair share of it!  Revolutions, however, usually look ugly.  Syria, Lybia, and Egypt come to mind rather quickly.  But we could have a bloodless coup in my opinion.  If only the masses would wake up, even acknowledge that their cushy lifestyles are just a con.

The consumption of all that crap listed above (and it IS all crap…) destroys the environment, generates greenhouse gases, enslaves third world people, decimates fisheries, bees, and Orangutans (you’d be AMAZED at how many of the items on that list contain palm oil), and even kills people with sugar.  What does this lifestyle have going for it?  Absolutely NOTHING……

So here’s the plan.  Have a really good look at that list, memorise it, and stop buying that stuff.  You don’t even need it.

Take laundry detergent.  Years ago, my mate Bruce (mentioned here) was given a set of three stainless steel balls; apparently, if you put them in the washing machine with your laundry, the clothes would come out clean with no detergent at all.  So, being the adventurous type, Bruce had a go.  And magically, his clothes did come out clean….  But how could this possibly work?  So Bruce ran another experiment, this time he washed his clothes with no balls, and no detergent.  And lo and behold, they still came out clean……  and now, he washes everything except overalls covered in grease after working on machinery, with no detergent at all.  If you think about it, clothes were washed with no detergents for millenia!  So what’s different today?

Now if you stop using detergents, you eliminate petrochemical use, and all that plastic packaging.  And we all know what plastic packaging does to the environment…..

That’s just one idea……..  imagine if we all started baking our own bread, or making our own ice cream….  all items that use much plastic packaging that’s discarded after single usage.  Or grew and killed our own chickens so that none of them needed freezing or wrapping up in yet more plastic…

Maybe the revolution should start in your fridges and washing machines.  Stop consuming all that crap, and those corporations all go broke.  Vive la revolution!

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17 responses

11 11 2013
Nathan A

It would be good to have one of these charts specifically for Australia. Most people wouldn’t be aware that Uncle Toby’s is owned by Nestle.
Sometimes, while standing in a shop aisle, I flip on the Ethical Supermarket Guide app to see which corporate conglomerate is involved with the products I’m looking at. Usually, in an entire range of goods, it all comes back to about two of the above names (eg. Kraft and Nestle), and usually there is no third alternative. The more processed and packaged the food, the more likely this is.
Furthermore, supermarket “own-brands” are typically just rebadged products from the usual suspects, with their sources of revenue obfuscated even more.
On the topic of us “making our own”, this is best done in community. If you live in suburbia or an urban area, I highly recommend looking into cohousing: up to 30 households with private dwellings plus substantial common facilities. People often talk about how we will need resilient communities, but you don’t have to wait until things get desperate to practice being in one.

11 11 2013
gbell12

Surely we can bring soap with us past the zombie apocalypse? It breaks up oils and allows them to be washed away.

That said, for years I relied on those ceramic disks for my laundry – a simple experiment near the end showed they weren’t doing anything. So I was effectively ‘water only’ for many years too… must not have smelled too bad since I met and married my wife during that time 🙂

11 11 2013
Rapideffect

Vote with your feet, ultimately the consumer has the power.

Coles (wesfarmers) and woolworths own more companies than people would believe.
Wesfarmers owns coles, bi-lo, liquorland, first chioce liquor, vintage cellars, bunnings, officeworks, target, kmart, wfi, (Australia/New-zealand) Lumley, Oamps, Crombie Lockwood, Urragh, Bengalla, Csbp, Qnp, Aga, Av, Kleenheat gas, Evol-lng, Air-liquide Csbp-premier power sales, Blackwoods, Protector alsafe, Bullivants, Total fastners, Coregas, NZ safety, Packaging house, Safety source and more…
Woolworths owns Dan murphy’s, Dicksmith, etc, etc, etc…………

Wesfarmers and woolworths have about 80% of the australian market.

11 11 2013
mikestasse

Make your own booze too……!

11 11 2013
Rapideffect

I wish I could make spirits!

12 11 2013
mikestasse

Actually you can……. I introduced my bee partners to beer brewing (they drink a lot more than we do…!) and discovered spirit making gear at the home brew supplier, and bought some. It wasn’t cheap, from memory they spent mayb $500, but let me tell you, I am mightily impressed with their effort, because they make Scotch, Gin, Rum, Jim Beam, and I’m sure I left something out, and it tastes AS GOOD as the $40 a bottle from the grog shop….. I was VERY dubious at first, especially as one regularly hears of idiots who don’t know what they’re doing poisoning themselves with methanol that hasn’t been distilled out of the brew….

I’m not really into spirits myself, so I can’t be bothered. Mead and beer will keep me anaesthesised enough to manage the Matrix’s depressive capacities…!

11 11 2013
Lee

This is where my revolution has started. There is SO much stuff that is SO unnecessary to buy. I’m also becoming a half decent cook in the process.

11 11 2013
Oelsen

@Nathan:
At least in Switzerland, Nestlé and Unilever print their logo on every item they produce or resell. So avoidance is very easy.

I use to say to greenies who are enraged about logging etc.:
– Do you use toilet paper or fingers and water? You wash your hands anyway. “Ewwww”
– Do you use aluminium foil or at least the lesser evil cellophane(-like) plastics off a 500m roll that you buy in gastro wholesale? Or do you avoid it altogether by putting a small plate onto a small bowl for left overs that you just put onto the balcony between October and March? You air anyway in the morning — again “Eww, what about birds and its only 13° outside, too warm for food” Disregarding the fact that in the night, it is always below 10°C.
– And how do you reheat them? Microwaving with 900W for 2 minutes or on or in a stove with 1.5kW for 10 minutes? Or eat it cold in the case of meat* and soups? “Yeah, but Ewww, yeah but that, yeah but this and Microwaves are bääääähd. Sigh.”
The detergent thing depends on the water hardness and sometimes, the water indeed does need a LOT less detergent. Also, a good washing machine washes with a few parts of the advertised amount and with the short program as good as the full one.
Now the hard part is where you substitute one technical wizardry with another. You can substitute batteries with accumulators. But the money goes to the same corporations mentioned above. There are alternatives like VARTA, but I suspect they are dependent on the same suppliers anyway. Despite being able to use them almost a decade (in my case the leaked after between eight and ten years) with 70% capacity until leaking, you fund the same channels of destruction. The only price signal you send is the wish of more R&D for cheaper accumulators.
*We buy meat half priced, when the markets throw it out afterwards. We get quality meat for the price of factory processed foods.

12 11 2013
mikestasse

You might have a point about the water hardness actually….. hadn’t thought about it, but both Bruce and I live on tank water.

Aluminium foil is one of my pet hates too….. We don’t own a microwave (I don’t like what they do to food…) but in real terms, a 2 minute 900W blast is only .03kWh which releases 300gms of CO2. The REAL problem is when 10 million Australian households do this causing the release of 3,000 tonnes of CO2, per day….

Toilet paper is a blimp on the civilisational heart beat. When I was a little kid, we didn’t have any. If I live long enough (as planned!) we won’t have any by the time I die…… which is why we have a bidet in the bathroom!

People’s expectations never cease me to amaze me, they have no idea how good they have it these days.

12 11 2013
Lindsay

It’s about consumption stupid…not just consuming different stuff. As long as there are 7 billion plus homo sapiens roaming around there is a problem. Imagine a world where EVERY household had a washing machine. It would not matter whether we used detergent or not. There would be no planet left with that level of worldwide affluence. Prius driving, middle class, Champaigne socialism won’t change a thing. Many fewer people, consuming way way less will.

12 11 2013
Nathan A

Lindsay,

I agree, but I think a significant difference is what is shared. We have been trained to see the nuclear family, and increasingly the individual, as the largest unit for owning things. Each house “needs” a washing machine, a lawnmower, a cinema experience. This was necessary to keep the consumer economy working at soaking up all the boundless energy coming in (I’m thinking of the Red Queen analogy).

Now that we’re on the other side of the slope, we need designed and adapted living arrangements where it becomes natural for a village-size group (50 to 100 people) to be able to use a couple of durable, heavy duty washing machines. The same goes for tools, lawnmowers, very large TVs, printers.

Most people won’t suddenly be happy to share a single composting toilet, but we need to start with small steps.

13 11 2013
Don

Hi Nathan A
The problem for me with a sharing community is the “freeloaders” who seem to pop up everywhere today. These people do not take care of the things they share. How would you deal with them?
I am fairly self sufficient and have gathered together many old simple technology tools (thus saving them from the better homes and gardens type people) so that when we no longer have the “lawn mowers” etc my family will be able to get by and survive. By the way lawn mowers can easily be replaced by lawn mooers.

13 11 2013
Nathan A

Hi Don,

I think part of it is how the community is set up in the first place, particularly in terms of governance and encouraging involvement. What kind of decision making system is used, etc. So much can be programmed in to the physical design of the community too.

Size is also very important. If the community is too small, there can be tension over a few feeling overworked. If the community is too large, people can feel less ownership and hence disengage.

Even with all the ideal “settings”, I’ve come around to the idea that there is always going to be freeloading. As long as a critical mass of heavy lifters” stays involved and positive, things can keep going. What’s important is to prevent a “martyr” mentality developing.

Hopefully lawnmowers won’t even be needed as things go forward – my understanding is that lawns are a waste of space, for the most part.

12 11 2013
Rapideffect

G’day Mike, I was told that it is illegal to make spirits (or rather distil alcohol) in australia without a licence, correct me if i’m wrong.

12 11 2013
mikestasse

So…………………..??? You never speed…? Do you think I would tell anyone…?

13 11 2013
Rapideffect

I’ve got a retired police officer who lives next door to me who has nothing better to do than stick his nose in everyone’s business.

14 11 2013
mikestasse

Sigh…… time to move? I can vouch for living with relatively distant neighbours… 😉

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