Your reaction to the required video:
I had the pleasure of being able to see Jared Diamond present this topic in a different light during a keynote-speaking event on campus. Having watched the video allowed me to connect some of the dots of his theories from that talk and see how his conclusions help to understand the shaping of the new world. It is essentially geography that has allowed for the ability to produce a surplus of nutritious food and ultimately the development and spread of the new world. The idea is so simplistic, yet so logical. If you are spending all of your time gathering or producing your most basic needs, you aren’t doing much else to contribute to the advancement of your society. And as is most evident in today’s world, the more productive you are, the more powerful you can become. This is how the Europeans explored, conquered, and built the rest of the world.
Without knowing too much about the people from New Guinea, it can be reasonably assumed from the video that the tribes living there are living sustainably. They have managed to develop processes that although not considered ideal to most societies, still support their diet and way of life, one that is not net destructive. Conversely, the spur of food surplus production that occurred in Eurasia and ultimately spread throughout the world fits snugly in to our degenerative model whereby exploitation of resources lead to mass production and mass consumption, coupled by the ultimate greed of settlers and concentration of wealth by the Spanish conquistadors. Although these same advents of technology used by the Spaniards have led to numerous beneficial feats, their initial purpose cannot be ignored.
Your reaction to the optional reading or videos:
The Occupation Nation documentary was my very first completely re-mixed mash-up documentary. It definitely reminded me of the RIP documentary but instead the entire video was a collaboration of other videos…very cool. My understanding of the issues in the beginning was a bit lacking, which peeked my interest in this video. Watching the documentary was an interesting way to get a perspective on the occupy movements happening throughout the country and ultimately the world.
They began with posturing the idea of our system being run as despotism versus democracy. I didn’t know what despotism was at first so I had to look it up. Despotism, according to Webster, is a system of government where the ruler has unlimited power, as opposed to democracy, whereby the people choose the leaders by voting. At first glance you could say that this is a preposterous notion for our nation, but taking away the veil and looking a little deeper, we may begin to see a small semblance of what despotism looks like in our system. The people of the occupy movement are essentially saying that the 1% of the country, the very rich, are the despots, and everyone else is the 99%, living at the will of their decisions.
This is where our system of “democratic capitalism” has gotten us. The 1% are essentially the big corporations that have so much lobbying power over our elected officials and governments. They can, and do, ultimately dictate the financial decisions we make in our lives by affecting our means of consumption and funneling capital. A problematic system like this of the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer prevails. But through these movements and the mainstream media, there is no doubt that this problem has been brought to national and global attention; I just worry that its ultimate focus is ineffective. The call for action is being focused towards the politicians that are affected by the 1% in the first place, if not part of it themselves. Why are we asking those who fall guilty to the problems to try and fix them? I was hoping that more solutions would come out of such a great force and movement, but in the end, it seems as though police force prevailed.