The Power of Shopping Locally

Since the dawn of capitalism, the earth has been suffering. Pollution and climate change are an omnipresent challenge that the world is facing right now. As a community we need to start consuming less and smarter. Capitalists have convinced consumers that there is only one way to shop, that only benefits them. While capitalists have a monopoly over consumer consumption, there are still some other types of markets that are not major contributors to climate change; the D system, and local farmers markets. System D is an economic system that is considered “off the books”, it isn’t illegal but is considered to be an illicit economy. System D economies can be found all over the world, mainly in underdeveloped or developing countries. While it is difficult to find a system D economy in the United States there are other ways to consume products that are not produced by capitalism- farmers markets. Local farms contribute less than 1% to pollution each year. Furthermore shopping at a local farmers market will help turn the linear commodity chain into more of a closed loop commodity chain. In order to cut down on consumption we need to start shopping locally.   

It is no secret that climate change is a very large issue that our world is facing right now. With the omnipresent fear of global temperatures rising above two degrees Celsius, we must do something in order to create change. At the local scale, the change does not need to be something drastic, instead it can be small simple changes. These changes could be as simple as starting to buy your groceries at your local farmers market. 

There are endless benefits to shopping at a local farmers market, you will save money, eat healthier foods, generate less waste, and ultimately consume less. When you shop at a local farmers market, you are surrounded by organic and non-GMO foods. Most small farmers pride themselves on the fact that their produce is pesticide free. Because these farmers don’t use chemicals on their crops, no chemicals are accidentally polluted into the earth. On top of the fact that the food at the farmers market is healthier, shopping at the local farmers market is also much better for the environment in general. On average “fresh produce” consumed in the United States, first travels over 1,500 miles. If more people began to get their food from local farms, it would ultimately save hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil. Shopping locally also helps consumers cut down on plastic use. Most farmers markets use paper bags or encourage shoppers to bring their own bags. This results in the use of plastic decreasing significantly, causing a positive impact on our environment.

Capitalism does not want small local farmers markets to succeed, because this would mean that the small business farmers are surviving without the government imposed subsides  large corporate farmers benefit from. But when consumers spend their money at a local farmers market they are truly paying for the quality of the food. Large corporate farms are all subjects in a linear commodity chain, the food is grown, then shipped to where it is packaged, then shipped to ware houses where it is stored until it is finally shipped and distributed to different store all over the world. After the food is consumed, the packaging is then thrown out and the waste travels to a landfill. By shopping locally consumers support a closed loop commodity chain which creates little to no waste. Local farmers grow the fresh produce, travel a very short distance to the farmers market where their product is sold in very little to no packaging. After the consumer consumes the product there is virtually no waste. By shopping at your local farmers market, you will by fault start to consume less due to the fact that there is significantly less waste than at a corporate grocery store.  

Experts have predicted that if we continue to consume as we do today, with the same levels of CO2 emissions, by the end of the century global temperatures will rise above 7 degrees Celsius since the industrial revolution. This would be catastrophic for the earth. Something needs to be done. Capitalism and industrialized countries are considered the undisputed largest contributors to climate change. International governments seem to acknowledge the fact that there is a very large environmental issue at hand; however, the largest contributors to the problem do not seem to be doing anything at all to stop it. This puts a heavy burden on individuals to combat climate change. By cutting down on consumption it will ultimately result in the reduction of pollution by capitalism and the industrialized countries that promote the unhealthy habits created by capitalists.  

Shopping at local farmers markets have a ton of pros and very little cons. You will save money, help the environment, you would be supporting local farmers, and you would not be supporting capitalism. The only real downside is that your food might not look as pretty as it would in a grocery store. This is because local farmers markets do not use chemicals to make their food appear to be fresh. So while you food doesn’t look as good, it is much healthier for you and free of any chemicals.  

By shopping at local farmers markets, consumers are producing less waste, promoting a closed loop commodity chain, and supporting local farmers rather than large corporate companies. At the same time consumers are reaping the benefits of a better quality of food and saving money. With global temperatures still rising and no plan in place to keep temperatures down, it does not look like the UN is going to meet their goal of keeping global temperatures from rising above two degrees Celsius. The environment needs help, and before it is too late consumers need to do their part in saving the environment. In the end, the easiest way to help the environment is to cut down on consumption, and the easiest way to cut consumption is to shop locally.

What are the true costs of Capitalism?

Since the start of capitalism, capitalists have been trying to find ways to save money- cutting costs every chance they get. Capitalists have been increasing profits by externalizing costs elsewhere. Large companies use underdeveloped countries to extort resources and using other countries to manufacture their products. Companies do this because it is much cheaper to manufacture their products outside the United States. One of the United States biggest culprits of outsourcing is Apple. If Apple was forced to make all of their products in the United States, the price of the iPhone alone would sky rocket. According to an article in Forbes  if Apple decided to move manufacturing to the United States the new cost of the iPhone would be somewhere between $30,000 and $100,000 dollars. This is because the shift to domestic manufacturing would drastically affect the supply chain, and it would affect the company’s ability to mass produce the iPhone. Outsourcing has a negative impact on the environment and the economy, however, it also forces large companies to keep their manufacturing overseas.  

Apple and other large companies have been outsourcing for decades. By doing this these companies are able to mass produce their products much cheaper than they would be able to do domestically. Outsourcing is negatively affecting the environment, causing 2.2 trillion dollars in environmental damage every year. Outsourcing is also negatively affecting the United States economy by bringing millions of jobs overseas, away from American workers. While outsourcing is hurting the economy and environment, without it, the world of commerce would be drastically different than it is today. This is prime example of externalization, how business increase profits by off-loading its indirect costs.  

If Apple moved their manufacturing to the United States, this would affect the supply chain. The United States does not have the resources to have an effective supply chain. Meaning that because America lacks very specific types of jobs like tooling engineers, China is full of them. Tooling is extremely important, a tooling engineer designs machines that are essential for manufacturing . Because the United States does not focus on growing the tooling industry companies are forced to look to countries like China who have been growing the tooling industry for the past thirty years. If Apple were to move their manufacturing to the United States, it would essentially stop the supply chain. It would take the U.S. years to create the machines needed to produce Apple products and even longer to train new tooling engineers. If Apple had started by manufacturing their products domestically instead of outsourcing this wouldn’t be a problem. Apple would already have the tooling engineers and machines needed. Instead Apple chose to outsource to China, which contributes to economic and environmental problems domestically and globally.  

Cheap labor and efficient in China allows Apple to meet the supply demand of their products. Moving manufacturing to the United States would limit the annual numbers of iPhones manufactured from 100s of millions a year to 1 million every year. This would drive the price of the iPhone over 30,000 dollars. The United States can not compete with the efficiency of manufacturing in countries like China. Forcing Apple to keep their business overseas. If Apple were to move back to the United States it would take decades for the company to be able to mass produce iPhones at the scale it can in China. Because of how scarce the iPhone would become, Apple would essentially go out of business. Which could be considered a good thing. It would mean one less company outsourcing and one less company contributing to economic and environmental issues. However, in reality if Apple goes out of business, another company will simply replace it. Outsourcing puts large companies in a trap. Once companies have started outsourcing bringing their companies back to the United States is debatably impossible, the company would either go out of business or be set back years. This forces companies to keep their manufacturing overseas.  

The only real way to combat capitalism and what it is doing to the environment is through the government. If governments were to enforce the idea of manufacturing domestically, it would clearly have a negative impact on large companies like Apple. While it would put most out of business, the companies that survive would help boost the American economy. Companies would also have to follow United States environment policies, which are at a higher standard than developing countries. This would help the world combat climate change.   

Capitalism has driven large companies out of America and overseas in search of a higher profit at the cost of cheaper manufacturing. This results in the loss of jobs in the United States creating a negative impact on the American economy and has a negative impact on the environment. Outsourcing has trapped countries overseas because bringing their business back to the United States would mean risking going out of business.  

While it is clear that it would be better for United States economy and the environment if Apple and other large companies produced their products in the states, it is not as simple as just moving the companies back to the U.S. It would cause the majority of these companies to go out of business and cause the rest to rebuild their empire. Because of this companies will not willingly bring their businesses back to the United States on their own. Instead the government needs to force the companies to come back to the United States. Even though it would drastically change the consumer market in the long run, it will eventually return to how it is today. Eventually the United States would catch up to the efficiency of manufacturing that China has. However, the United States will never have a chance to grow unless its companies come back. The only way to reverse the negative effects of outsourcing is to bring manufacturing back to the United States despite the possible negative effects on large companies. Moving manufacturing back to the United States, will be much better for the environment and economy in the long run.

The Negative Effects of Globalization on the Global Economy

Globalization, what is it and how does it affect the global economy? Basically, globalization is the impact people have on the world through culture, politics, and economics. Globalization can be impacted by new technologies which help connect all parts of the world. Through globalization, the world seems like it is becoming smaller. It now only takes 8 hours to fly across the Atlantic Ocean where decades ago it took weeks by boat. It can be difficult to decide whether the concept of globalization is pulling society together or pushing it farther apart. This is because of the different components that make up globalization. Now, to fully understand what globalization is, you must understand that globalization connects people from core countries like the United States and Europe to the periphery countries in Latin America and Africa. One of the driving forces of globalization is capitalism which is having a negative impact on the world. Globalization is bad for the world economically because of uneven development, the exploitation of resources from underdeveloped countries to core countries, and how overseas manufacturing is affecting America domestically.  

Globalization is bad for the global economy because of how it creates uneven development. The concept of globalization debatably started with the European colonization of Latin America, Africa, and India. In the 15th century when colonization began. Major world powers such as England and Spain took advantage of the abundance of recourses found in these new territories. In 1948 when England became the biggest power in India; violence, starvation, and corruption overtook the country. As a result, England continued to tax India heavily and export its recourses.  

The East India Company smothered the Indian economy and stopped it from developing. By 1840, the English parliament decided to convert India from a manufacturing country into a country that specialized in exporting. As a result, India would have to export their recourses to England in the form of raw materials only to buy them back at a higher price, after they had been manufactured into goods. Which created an economic gap between England and India. While England excelled economically, India was plagued with high taxes and an even larger trade deficit. Despite the fact that England colonized India almost a hundred years ago, the effects of uneven development can still be seen today. Because of English colonization, India was unable to advance economically, which creates setbacks in today’s economy. However, today India seems to be pushing toward a shift to a manufacturing economy  in an attempt to close the negative economic gap created through globalization. While this is considered a positive, that India is finally beginning to grow economically, in reality the country would already be fully developed if it wasn’t for globalization.  

Globalization also results in the exploitation of underdeveloped countries to benefit core countries which results in a poor path dependency. Andre Gunder Frank wrote in  The Development of the Underdeveloped that current underdeveloped state of Latin America is a direct result of capitalist development. As capitalism spread in Latin Americas, it only benefited the core countries. Meaning that during colonization countries like Brazil benefited from having a trade relationship with its colonizers. Core countries rely on underdeveloped countries for cheap labor and raw materials.  For example, the coffee trade was a major factor in boosting Brazil’s economy during colonization. However, shortly after its small economic success Brazil faced a server economic decline. This is because during colonization Brazil had a stable trade with European countries; however, when Brazil was on its own it could not sustain the small economy it had built. As a result of this, Brazil’s path dependency has prevented the economy from growing. Brazil was exploited to benefit European countries, and when the core countries brought their trade elsewhere, it had a negative and long-lasting impact on Brazil’s economy. Globalization is bad for the global economy because it puts developing countries on a poor economic path from which they cannot easily change; leaving the underdeveloped countries unable to develop.

Another aspect of modern globalization that negatively impacts the economy is how overseas manufacturing is effecting domestic jobs in America. Due to cheap labor and materials overseas, it is cheaper for products to be manufactured in countries like China than exported to the United States. Because of this shift in manufacturing millions of American jobs have been lost. The graph  shows the extent of job loss in America; over 6 million jobs lost due to manufacturing moving to China. In an attempt to combat this shift in the economy President Trump’s administration is looking to put protective tariffs on goods being imported into the United States from China. Resulting in a trade war between the United States and China. Globalization and capitalism directly resulted in suppliers in the United States looking overseas for cheaper manufacturing. This caused the loss of millions of jobs in America and a trade war with China. Globalization is bad for the global economy because it pins countries against each other in an effort to preserve their economy.   

Globalization is bad for the world economy. For decades, it has been prohibiting developing and underdeveloped countries from developing. It promotes overseas manufacturing which steals domestic jobs. Globalization also encourages core countries to exploit the resources in underdeveloped countries. 

Globalization has had a negative impact on the world economy. Since colonization countries have been experiencing uneven development, exploitation that prohibits the expansion of their economy, and trade wars as a result of capitalism and cheap labor overseas. While globalization can be seen as a good thing, in reality globalization has economically put core countries over developing countries and is not allowing these countries to develop. Even though globalization and colonization occurred almost a hundred years ago, the negative economic effects can still be felt in underdeveloped countries. While India and Brazil are working to fix their economies after colonization they still have a long way to go before they will be considered economically developed. In a more modern sense the negative impact globalization had on China and the United States is a on going issues that is effecting the worlds global market. Overall globalization had a negative impact on the worlds economy.  

How Bad Are the Wildfires in California? 

By looking at the map below one would never be able to guess that California is currently experiencing one of the worst fire seasons in the United States’ history. The map to the left only shows the fires as small icons, hence preventing the map from depicting the true severity of the 18 wildfires burning around California.

Since the beginning of 2018, California has been devastated by 18 major wildfires. According to a CNN article by Madison Park, 3 of the top 30 largest wildfires California has ever experienced are currently burning at this moment. Furthermore, the state is experiencing some of the hottest temperatures on record and this year’s rainfall is expected to be 50-70 percent below the average. In total, the flames have burned 500,000 acres of land and the fire season still has months left. This indicates that the wildfires will only get worse, causing experts to think that 2018 will beat 2017 for the worst fire season in California’s history. If you look at the map to the right, it shows the California wildfires of 2017, when compared to the map of 2018, it is clear that the 2018 California wildfires are already much worse than those of 2017.

Denis Wood, a cartographer and professor wrote a book called Rethinking the Power of Maps. In the first chapter; Maps Blossom in the Springtime of the State Woods says that “maps give us, reality, a reality that exceeds our reach, our vision, the span of our days, a reality we achieve in no other way”.  This passage means that as humans we use maps to understand what we cannot physically see. Map makers must make accurate maps to provide the audience with a reliable depiction of what is happening in other places around the world. However, the map above does not provide an accurate depiction of what is currently happening in California. The map was created for people living in California and the rest of the United States to view and use; however, if someone were to look at the map they would only see 18 icons. Because each of the icons are the same size, the severity of the fires is not accurately represented. Furthermore, it makes the fires seem small and confined to those circles which again is not the true condition of California. The wildfires in California have engulfed more than half a million acres of land, while each fire is a different size and are at different levels of severity. This map shows them all as the same. The map also displays 17 uncontained fires and only one contained fire based on the different color icons. This provides the viewer with inaccurate information about the status of the fires. According to an article on the northern California wildfires each of the fires are contained in some degree. For example, the Mendocino Complex fire which started at the end of July is now only 5% contained while the Carr fire is completely contained. The map again generalizes all of the fires and labels them as contained and burning while most of the fires are somewhere in between.

Overall the map of the California wildfires provides an inaccurate representation of what is happening in California. But would viewers ever question the accuracy of the map? In an article by The Washington Post it was stated that people do not question the accuracy of Google maps, despite the fact that there are many errors on Google maps. Similarly, with the map of California no one is going to question whether the information is correct. The article continues to say that our species trust in Google is completely unsafe and unjustifiable. As humans we tend to trust the information we are given; however, when it comes to our safety we should be relying on accurate information. For those living in California the map above does not provide accurate information about the dangerous wildfires which could put thousands of people in danger. Since the beginning of the 2018 fire season tens of thousands of California citizens have been evacuated. If a California resident were to google a map of the wildfires, and saw the one above, they would not know how close the fires are to them or the seriousness of the fires. On a different note, if an organization wanted to send help to California and saw the map above, they would not be able to tell which areas needed help the most.

Overall the map above does not accurately provide information about the wildfires in California. This is because the map is drawn in a way that displays each of the fires as an icon of the same size, rather than using size to show the differences between fires. The only difference in the fires is that some are labeled as contained. In reality each of the fires are burning at a different size and each are a different level of contained. This brings up another point made by Denis Wood, the power of a map. According to Wood, people underestimate the power of a map, and that the power of the map is still waiting to be unleashed. He even goes as far to say that “many of the maps they’re making are extraordinary and powerful”. This is true, the maps we make hold more power than we may realize. The map of California for example holds the power to show viewers how dangerous and just how server the wildfires really are. Wood believes that it is the mapmakers have a responsibility to provide accurate information because of the power maps hold. As a society we do not question that what we see on maps could be inaccurate, as a result Woods is right, maps do hold a power that we have yet to recognize.