Monday, March 22, 2010

Five Simple Things You Can Do to Declare Independence from the Corporations

Thomas Jefferson would not consider modern American citizens to be truly free until they had fully decoupled themselves from the power that the transnational corporations have over their lives. As we often often pointed out on this blog, Jefferson would probably consider the modern corporation to be a greater threat to the liberties of the people than the federal government itself.

In previous entries, we have discussed the need to decouple our communities from the corporate economic system by supporting independent businesses and to restore community control over local food supplies by purchasing as much of our food as possible from local farmer's markets. These two general measures are perhaps the most important to help the American people get back on their feet and give them back control of their own destinies.

The Jeffersonian fight against corporate power will last for decades. In the meantime, here are five very simple and easy steps that everyone can immediately take as a first measure.

1. Drive at 55 miles per hour. Although most highway speed limits are 65 or 70 miles per hour, the optimum speed for conserving gasoline is actually around 55 miles per hour. In fact, a car travelling at 65 mph burns 10% more gasoline to travel the same distance as a car travelling at 55 mph, and a car travelling at 75 mph burns 10% more fuel than a car travelling at 65 mph.

By driving at a maximum speed of 55 mph, a person not only saves money for himself, but denies that money to the oil companies. To put it another way, every iota of speed above 55 mph results in the oil companies taking money out of your pocket and putting it in theirs. Therefore, drive at 55 mph in order to keep your money in your own pocket and out of the pocket of the enemy.

2. Don't drink bottled water. This one is surprisingly simple, but a sophisticated public relations campaign in favor of bottled water obscures the reality. The truth is that bottled water is no more healthy to drink than the tap water that comes out of virtually every faucet in America. Indeed, despite the multi-million dollar ad campaign attempted to create the impression that bottled water comes from pristine mountain sources, it is mostly just regular tap water in a bottle. As a matter of fact, bottled water may actually be less healthy than tap water, due to toxic contamination of the water from the materials used in manufacturing the plastic bottle itself.

Tap water is virtually free, costing less than a penny for the equivalent of a bottle of bottled water. The same amount of bottled water, by contrast, costs around two dollars. In other words, drinking bottled water costs more than two hundred times the amount of drinking tap water, even though tap water is very likely to be healthier than bottled water. It scarcely needs to be pointed out that throwing away the bottles themselves damages the environment.

Bottled water is a corporate scam designed to separate you from your money to line their own pockets. Don't drink it.

3. Walk for thirty minutes a day. Of all the corporate entities trying to rob us of our freedom, perhaps the health service and pharmaceutical corporations are the most insidious. One can see their advertisements for products on the television, and feel their tentacles whenever we fill out an administrative form before going in to see the doctor.

The abuses the health services corporations have inflicted upon the American people are well known. They want us to be sick, because it is only when we are sick that they can reach their claws into our pocketbooks and steal our money. Therefore, the best thing we can do to thwart them is to stay as healthy as possible.

Nothing can better contribute to a person's health than a good dose of regular exercise, and nothing can achieve this better than a brisk thirty minute walk every day. Every time one does this, he or she puts himself slightly more out of reach of the tentacles of the health services corporations, who would rather have us being perpetual in ill health so that they could rob us blind.

4. Reduce your electricity usage. The majority of electricity in the United States is produced from coal, and the lobbying power of the coal industry is bent on hindering efforts to develop energy sources that would combat global climate change and create more democratic distributed energy networks (such as the Austin-based Pecan Street Project). The less energy w use in our homes, the less power the coal industry has over our lives.

The ways to do this are well known. Use more energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs (especially compact fluorescent light bulbs). Wrap your water heater with a water heater blanket. Use water-saving shower heads in your shower. Let the dishes in your dishwasher air dry rather than heat dry. Make sure your air filters are up-to-date. Make sure your windows are fully secure.

All these very basic steps keep money in your pocket and out of the pocket of the coal industry.

5. Avoid credit card debt. This is perhaps the most fundamental measure of all. In our consumer-driven society, when we are constantly bombarded by expertly-produced advertisements attempting to convince us that it is absolutely imperative that we purchase the latest gadget or gimmick, it may is often hard for some to resist the urge to spend money they do not have on the hyped-up product they do not need.

Don't do it. Making profits through charging interest on credit card debt is the most Hamiltonian activity that the big corporations engage in, and they delight in trapping vulnerable people into debt cycles from which it is extremely difficult to escape. The best way to fight back against the corporations is to live within our means, be as self-sufficient as possible, and avoid the debt trap at all costs.

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