Pushing change from the bottom up

Great piece by one of my favorite bloggers, David at Raptitude:

“Consumers complain about the creep of inflation as though it’s some impersonal, natural force, like tidal flooding or high winds. But it’s driven by human choices. Some of it’s surely due to orchestrated price-fixing, artificial shortages, and other corporate-side conniving. I have no idea how much can be attributed to those things, but I do know that some of the inflation, maybe enough of it to make all the difference — comes from the sort of consumer-side entitlement I demonstrated during my errand run that day.

“It wasn’t just unwise to say yes to the ludicrous price they were asking, it was wrong. I paid them to keep their prices ludicrously high.

“We commit this sin anytime we buy anything we don’t absolutely need at a price we think is ‘too high.’ Too high for what? Too high for me to buy it, or just too high for me to buy it without grumbling about inflation?”

Read the rest here https://www.raptitude.com/2023/03/dont-buy-the-six-dollar-cauliflower/

On a related note, I do the same with refusing to buy certain products because of the excess packaging or for other reasons (such as product not having replaceable components or being repair-friendly).

Furthermore, we can and should draw the line at accepting unreasonable working conditions, or entire unreasonable jobs. The buck stops here, literally, with us.

BTW speaking of jobs, we always have to make plans so the “masters” have as little leverage as possible to force us to work. I remember during the Covid shutdowns when people working in certain industries deemed “essential” (which the government got to decide) were forced to continue to go to work under hazardous conditions. I’m pretty sure they were “only” threatened with losing their jobs, but that’s not a position we want anyone to be trapped in. And as things start to get more squeezed, we could find the overlords trying to actually criminalize job-leaving. We can’t plan for every possible twist of madness that might be enacted by plutocrats who are used to having all goods and services available 24-7 on demand, but we can build buffers for ourselves and our neighbors. Self-employment is one option. And it’s getting to be a better deal, as the security that used to be the main selling point of a “regular job” gets less and less secure. Time for us all to stand up for creative and occupational freedom!

In summation … In capitalist-industrial societies, we ordinary people often fall into looking to the people at the top of the food chain to change things, but we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting. They (government, corporations, bosses, the owner class) don’t have as much to gain from changing the status quo as we do. (And in many cases they might have something to lose, or at least strongly believe they have something to lose.) So, it’s us, the masses, who actually have more leeway to say no, and more to gain from it.

Sometimes a push-from-below that at first comes across as rebelliousness or spoiled-brattery, is actually a much-needed reality check that ends up helping everyone — even those who felt initially annoyed or inconvenienced by the push.

What if we refused to keep volunteering our time to nonprofits that are, however unintentionally, undercutting the development of good ecological jobs?

What if we (those of us who are in a position to do so) refused to buy any more vegetables packaged in plastic?

What if we refused to sign up for any more in-person conferences, now that we know how great and how much less of a drain on our time & wallets virtual conferences are?

What if … What would you add?