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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Need for a National Consumer Network

 We have been railroaded into living in a consumer society. This is not a good place for the citizens of a nation but it is where we are. Time was when most of what we wanted we produced ourselves or bartered for.

We were piecewise content and group-wise satisfied. Then came this folderol about growth and we embarked on a mad journey to tie ourselves to marketplaces, buy beyond our needs and live beyond our means. We allowed ourselves to be taught that all of that was a great good, a wholesome and satisfying existence.

Let us set aside the insanity of the “greed is good” slogan. We have something that tops that. It is called “debt is good”. Right? Yeah. Haha! Funny one … that.

We have just 65 trillion dollars’ worth of useable cash in the world and the global debt right now is 57 trillion dollars and climbing at around 7 million dollars a minute and somewhere in the early part of next year,

we, as a human civilization, will literally have borrowed more than we can physically coverwith cash.
So, it is high time that we stop attempting to hoodwink ourselves that we can “create wealth” out of debt as has been a major component of the mantra of mainstream economic theory.

The truth of the matter is that the belligerents will have to increase the rate of cannibalisation of earth resources to live a little while longer.  In that process, they will use every trick in the book, every manipulation that human negative ingenuity can cough up, every form of threat, every type of pressure to ensure that a select few, at least on paper, are going to pull through and survive past Armageddon despite the fact that “Armageddon” by its definition will wipe out all of us.

Funny… that. Yet, while truth stares them in the face, they have already decided that they must now consume even the meager resources generally available to the large masses of people. They have decided that they must commandeer and control the food, the land, the water, the air, the medicine, the education, the rare earth metals, the fossil resources, the renewable resources and the governance of nations.

These actions speak of crazed minds broken away from anything human and blindly believing that everyone else’s death would ensure their life.

We must realise that no one in any kind of leadership position anywhere in the world is going to cut us even the slightest slack. We must stop being voters and start being citizens.

“The truth of the matter is that the belligerents will have to increase the rate of cannibalisation of earth resources to live a little while longer”We must forget the various intergovernmental task forces,

the leadership summits, the high level forums. As we all know, those have amounted to nothing and will continue to be less than relevant as problem solving tools for us as time goes on.

We, the people, must provide the solutions and the first part of that work is to prevent window-wash, eye-wash, shot-gun “solutions” from being promoted.
Those who have political and business convenience at their root and they have failed us in the past. Miserably.We must be ready to drill down into the realities of unfair trade, unfair acquisition, unfair exploitation.

We must be ready with alternative research and counters and proofs on the fairytale claims and blatant lies of vendors and manufacturers who routinely exploit people of science with money to “validate” their claims. We must be able to understand what sort of legal and regulatory relief there is. We must be aware of the ways in which we can engage directly with such frameworks and institutions.

We must be, not simply active consumers which we are anyway, but also, very informed ones that can collectively discuss issues and come to collective agreements on solutions.

“We must forget the various inter governmental task forces, the leadership summits, the high level forums. “

We, the people, determining our own future, must be strong and collected towards third spaces, grassroots action, dialogue after action, engagement of authorities, regulators and politicians not as counters but as collaborators to ensure that we all survive.

As a trigger to action, here are a few questions that you might want to cut your teeth on for starters. Join us on the National Consumer Network of Sri Lanka (NCNSL) community pages on Facebook to discuss all of this further:

1.    Prices of most goods and quite a lot of services are “credit card prices”. These are inflated to the tune of 22% of the actual price.  Who is taken for a ride? YOU! Why? Because you  have been drugged by TV commercials that have lied to you through their teeth into believing you are getting a zero interest deal on installments. Who profits? The vendor? Nah. It’s the banks! What is the Central Bank of Sri Lanka doing? Nothing. Do we want them to? Yes. How? Collective lobbying and diplomacy.

2.    The amount of electronic cash that is being used for transactions has skyrocketed with such instruments as transactions through mobile phones. They are set to become the preferred method of purchasing goods in the very near future. They are a huge bank. Who regulates it? No one. Who should? The Central Bank. Should we enforce it? Yes. How? Collective lobbying and diplomacy. Who strategizes it? We do.  Let’s discuss it.

3.    The biggest “growth” sector in the world today (including SL) is health.  We have a proliferation of hospitals. Why? Because people are getting sicker now. Why? Because the air, the food we consume, the water we drink are all poisoned. How  to stop all this?  Not with the oil mafia, the agrochemical mafia, the gas mafia and the drug mafia. Do we take them on? Yes we do. How? Let’s discuss it.

4.    92% of the pediatric beds of urban Sri Lanka are filled with children with respiratory diseases. Why? Because of the smog. Who should regulate this? The CEA.  How can we get them to do that? We can go to courts and force them to do their job



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