Boyd Kellner, Newrybar
The world’s richest person, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has increased his wealth from $130 billion to $186 billion during the pandemic. USA billionaires in general have gained by about the same.
The Amazon workforce is estimated to have a 100 per cent turnover. Injuries in Amazon warehouses are more than double the industry average, and the company has a poor record of workplace-derived COVID-19 infections. Workplace surveillance has reached oppressive levels. Many Amazon workers have to rely on food stamps to make ends meet. Amazon uses intimidatory practices to discourage workers from joining the union, it is effectively an anti-union/worker corporation.
Thirty years ago, USA billionaires owned less wealth than the poorest half of USA society. The number of billionaires in the world has increased by a third in the last year. Those 2,700 people now control a combined wealth of almost $14 trillion. Meanwhile poverty in the USA has exploded.
Those that want an equal, sustainable, and democratic society need to make known these staggering facts about inequality.
Helena Norberg-Hodge’s singleminded obsessiveness and middle class sensibilities with her pet hobby horse, ‘Localisation’, bears little ‘fruit’ and has made little progress since its inception well over a decade ago, even after all the publicity and big names dropping.
The latest advertisement, the ‘World Localisation Day’ clarion call, is another expensive exercise in self-aggrandisement. ‘Local Food Can Save The World’ does not stand up to scrutiny in any realpolitik sense to understanding the power dynamics, economic systems and culture of Neo Liberalism triumphalism. This is confirmed by the naive statement and folly of changing ‘government policy’ as a remedy/ solution to changing the current hegemon of Neo Liberalism.
Ironically this fetish (localisation) is becoming another escapist’s panacea to the increasing gentrification and bland social homogeneity that this area is undergoing, starkly juxtaposed with social/income inequalities – working poor, homelessness, rental accommodation crisis, housing affordability crisis.
Social relationships, and struggle in the economic/political sense don’t figure in Ms Norberg-Hodge’s idealistic utopian vision, which if not politically addressed will continue to fester and worsen, no matter the ‘human nature’ argument.
Recognising collective political agency [is needed] to bring about fundamental, democratic change. Key to transforming society, however, in the absence of understanding how ‘power’ is controlled and maintained in our political, economic system, [Localisation] is doomed to fail.