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On the Edge of the Abyss – Part 5 – Media

September 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Media

This society is all about the surface of life, appealing to your desires, the quick fix .. too few of us look beneath the dogma and beliefs to find what is real.

The greatest tool for the continuation of this paradigm, well any paradigm is the media of the time … depending on the government … State, Corporate, or other – when the state and corporate merge as is the case now, freedom is truly under threat. We are in effect in a Theocracy where the word of a spiritual guide has been replaced with the word of the one percent … pursuing their agenda of control and consumption.

In society, beliefs that originate through dogma are tools for social conditioning and compliance, rather than any personal expressions of an inner realisation or an universal truth, at time in our lives comes when we can transcend this, when we no longer see that the system serves the common good, or any good, then old dogmas that are fully investigated and seen that to have no foundation … at this point they can become springboard for spiritual growth, when we strip away the layers of beliefs and dogmas to arrive at what is reality to us. For our individual reality is a convergence of many things, a compilation of beliefs, values, childhood and life experiences all create how we see and relate to what is an essentially neutral world.

When we are brought into this world we are like a blank slate … nature has by and large finished her work, then for the rest of our life it is our attitudes, values and beliefs which determine our choices, using these tools, we create our lives.

The lessons we receive whilst we are growing up and how we are nurtured and created lay the foundation for who we become.

Projecting our beliefs (by in many cases by denial, disbelief or skeptical behaviours), is a way which I would suggest the majority of us handle the world, learnt from our environment whilst growing up – for instance, the erroneous belief that there is only one right way to live, is at the root of all conflict in the world ~ Government agendas and their war machines are the single greatest factor that determines the future of the world, and the greatest cause of suffering in the world.

What initially determines our belief system is the family or nurturing environment as well as the society we live in … made up of individuals, families, communities, groups, and onwards.

A very prevalent problem in Australia is abuse within families, where their partners, physically, emotionally and verbally abuse spouses and children! This is perpetrated normally by men. It is a symptom of this, of belief systems (and the expectations that society and family places on the individual) and sometimes the abuser was abused as a child .. a cycle of violence.

The external pressures that are placed on people to “keep up with the Jones” to maintain the perception that they are successful that they are living the dream, in other words the availability or not of money… this paradigm has found a fix for that as well .. debt .. as we have found with the gross injustices that are affecting the Greek people… the oppression of Greece as been brought about by money .. debt .. In a personal environment, this debt cycle is brought about due to the easy availability of money, where the borrower “needs” to consume or purchase an product or service – we pay for money not only in money but also in our liberty.

Why would I go over old ground? Simply because in this day and age the largest purveyor and distributor of doctrine, or ideology, to establish and maintain this belief system is the media … the legacy world mass media, that shapes our beliefs and to what this society values … a fading representation of this is the desire to achieve … any country is sustained by the foundation of any society that rests on its laws, its enforcement (police & judicial) and its money.

To over identify with a belief an ideology or a religion is to act unconsciously, for then we prioritise the outcome rather than the integrity of the process. This happens in every ideology … at some point the ideology and its survival to deliver its outcome becomes the only measure, individuals within the system carry out the protocols of the ideology as good soldiers for the prospect of their own advancement within a self destructing bubble, their expedience will have no bounds.

All ideologies follow this path.

MEDIA

Defined as – All means of mass information and communication.

We would normally define Old Mass Media as the following –

(1) Broadcast media (radio, recorded music, film and television)

(2) Print media use a physical object such as a newspapers, magazine, books, pamphlet or comics

(3) Outdoor media are a form of mass media that comprises billboards, signs, or placards placed inside and outside of commercial buildings, sports stadiums, shops, and buses-Billboards (signs in tow of airplanes), blimps, skywriting, AR (Augmented Reality) Advertising. Public speaking and event organising can also be considered forms of mass media, tough sometimes to a niche market.

The essential difference between Mass / Old media and Social Media is a paradigm shift. It’s the difference between a passive and an engaged relationship.

Books themselves were one of the first forms of mass media, before Gutenberg in the 15th Century, a book in various forms have been with us for approximately 5,000 years.

Nowadays, blogs and other distribution means such as RSS feeds, can also be considered as mass media.

I think we can judge Old Mass Media, or legacy media as a passive media, for there is generally no way of the viewer to question, engage with the content being offered. Social Media on the other hand is interactive and then the consumer of the media can offer their own opinion and sometimes insight into the media platform itself …

All areas of mass media have undergone rapid consolidation over the years, now we are at a point where ownership of the majority of media assets in concentrated in the hands of a very few … although very few media organisation are truly independent, most have an agenda, liberal or otherwise, some of which are designed to be truly divisive, even fascist .. all have a place in a free society, however when the majority of the organisations are funded through the advertising dollar, there is huge grounds for corruption … by selected news that appeals to the ownership of the media outlet because of an ownership agenda, a rating decision or to appease an advertiser – truth is sacrificed like all that is of honour to the altar of money and influence, or in the worst sense raw power.

It is in this way that censorship has become very apparent .. where in this case, news is selected rather than reported, where in the case of the editors of News Corp’s newspapers all have an epiphany on the same day and striking similar opinions are expressed … in the current scenario in the USA, reporting on Bernie Sanders is not being reported in main stream media.

Commercial Media

Commercial Media wants inter-personal conflict …. because they want you to take sides … this is why there are so many Television shows that force you to take sides … reality shows that see up stressful situations that lead to conflict, in a way it seems to be the replacement for the the Gladiatorial events of old … this is only a surface view of the appeal to us .. all this to re-enforce the paradigm

Brings the lowest common denominator .. as media in all shapes races for the bottom … to look for controversy, to promote controversy .. and as often as they can to create it, peddle it .. why? Because it brings audiences … then ratings .. then money .. then?

Remembering Commercial media wants conflict and controversy .. for it brings ratings, one wonders are they covering Trump because he is a serious candidate or because he never fails to create news by offending someone, thereby creating division not collaboration, Trump’s mindset is not that of a leader but of an ego.

And like so many ideologies that have existed before—whether fascist or communist—many people, especially young people, are being drawn to it.

Events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist related activity in the UK even though it is proven that ISIS was created by MI6 and the CIA … like Al Qaeda before them …. if you want the reason why Osama Bin Ladin was assassinated and not brought to trial, it was probably because he knew too much … he could never be put on the witness stand.

I believe the mess countries are in and hence the state of the world is in a large part due to dis-information, manipulation or censorship of truths and of course corporate influence over the content – that investment in controversy instead of policies, instead of truth is why we cannot heal …. they prefer content that is aggressive (fear) to manipulate the majority, the masses … people are so oppressed they have no empathy for anyone outside of themselves – they fear and blame minorities are other countries because they are told to – also due to the unrealistic fantasies that Media purports … that money has value (it only does because we are told it does, and therefore we believe it does) … that opportunity is just around the corner … this sets up expectations that are generally never met, Media are accountable for this, the purveyors of propaganda .. the frontline soldiers in this world wide strategy to divide and control humanity.

All actions have consequences, as countries, organisations and certainly individually we are not immune – those who do not think this are in line for a huge wakeup call.

Media – Future

 

Subscription Television and Online services, such as Netflix and others offers a disruptive opportunity … for this brings the opportunity for Netflix and others to be accountable only to their income stream, their subscribers, this should release them from the undue influence and manipulation of their content by advertisers …

more to come ..

This is still very much a work in progress … subject to addition and change .. any constructive thoughts would be welcome

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Retail and Consumerism – “On the Edge” – Part 2

May 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Part 2 – Retail and Consumerism

I would comment that I chose America as an example of the whole Western paradigm, as it is a trend setter for the world, good or bad.

In a society which has so far been based on consumption and procurement, without dramatic intervention, the continuing severe contraction of the retail industry is a clear and present indicator of the process of the collapse of the paradigm of consumption in America.

Every civilisation in the past has failed, as will we, our choice is to make the transition from the old to the new as peaceful and uneventful as possible, I know, a hard task! However unless there is an epiphany, and both Washington and Wall Street have an awakening, and realise what is good for all Americans is good for them, then the below is the path down which we may all be led.

Poverty and Inequality is not only about money, it’s allowed to exist, it is a choice our Governments make, for inequality is also about access to education, to nutritional food which leads to the aspect that the poor are so limited by which is the opportunity to shine – inequality in an economy is a big issue, in an economy the size of the United States it is a major issue. If the playing fields was level, I don’t have any problem with the rich being rich, what I do not agree with is a policy of creating a class system whereby the poor and those who don’t have money are treated with disdain and contempt by their own government, effectively blamed for the momentary place they find themselves, policies are in place to take support from those in an country who most need it, because they are easy targets and have no paid lobbyists, nor it seems any empathy from their elected advocates – that the poor and uneducated continue to vote them in even to their own detriment is an outcome of the success of the mass control programs I touched on in my previous post, here

From Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate and Chief Economist and fellow of the Roosevelt Institute who offers a number of provocative insights in his 115 page report, but the key takeaway is – inequality isn’t inevitable, and it’s not just a social issue, but also an economic one, because it’s largely responsible for the fact that every economic “recovery” since the 1990s has been slower and longer than the one before. Inequality isn’t the trade-off for economic growth; rather, it’s both the cause and the symptom of slower growth – we can download the full report here

Retail

Already there is over a billion square feet of vacant retail space in the USA, and now the news that major U.S. retailers have announced the closing of more than 6,000 stores from coast to coast. The list includes only those retailers that have announced plans to close more than 10 outlets this year and next – This growing list of stores closings coincides with the ongoing decline in discretionary consumer spending – which is the consequence of the collapse of a viable living income, for those families, which are a countries financial backbone, the middle class in America. The shopping mall is a fatality of the failed consumer paradigm, the concept that buying things are a way of life, but is mainly about ego and more importantly self-gratification … something that needs to be constantly fed with new purchases.

The loss of retails outlets, will be the hardest felt in poorer and the lower middle class areas throughout America and of course overseas in countries, like Australia and perhaps Canada who tend to follow these flawed strategies.

Even at the time when productivity has increased, Corporate profits are at a all time high, disposable income for the majority of Americans has been reduced, there is just not the money available to consume anymore – credit cards are maxed out – many Americans are not earning to live, they are living to pay – this lack of money to consume in an economy based in consumption, will impact much more than retail sales, it will affect the total gambit of consumption, travel, restaurants, new vehicle purchases, service industries, manufacturing and housing, in fact any expenses which are seen as unnecessary, then later this year the holiday season, travel and Christmas selling will be a disappointment. Income for the majority, has extra pressure coming from historically low wages – the demands of rising taxes, housing and health-insurance costs and you’ve got a formula for financial contraction across the board. All during this, the rich are being excused their equitable contribution to society itself, forcing the Government to seek loans or to make up the balance via taxing the population to make up the difference, whilst the rich share an ever decreasing burden – that legislators don’t see the connect between income and expenses (especially when the US budget is serious deficit) is also a serious ideological deficit, but perhaps now too many legislators are no longer working for all Americans, and are perhaps working only for the rich?

The financial information is available …. below let’s look at brief statistics of the Income gains going to top 1% in various years

1954-7: 5% 1975-9: 25% 2009-12: 95% http://nyti.ms/1BhNrQq

The latest figures show that of all new money, 95% of it went to the very rich..

A further effect of the contraction is that households will tend to buy the cheapest of the known brands, further accelerating the investment in overseas manufacturing and reducing U.S. production capacity (and jobs) at home – however there will come a time, when no price will be low enough and even that strategy will fail … in the long term overseas manufacturers themselves will be vulnerable (affecting manufacturing countries such as China and many others), this will spread globally.. This is a trend that will likely affect the EU and other countries that follow the illusion of the American dream.

Needless to say Technology itself insulates us from nature … go for a walk and see people with their heads in the phones, even in public places, where they could open their eyes and see wonder in everything, from the trees, the cycle of life, the ants and insects, just the wonder of life and the living of it – everywhere!

The effect of the employment in those sectors affected directly by the overall contraction will be major, it will naturally have a flow on effect on all companies involved, sales organisation and distributors, service, spare parts, any suppliers of technology, raw materials, energy, logistics, investment, construction for the entire sector as the ripple of the domino effect reaches outwards.

I would pass on the general comment that unchecked consumption is a greater threat to the planet than the growth in population itself .. also that flawed retail marketing and production strategies in food production and distribution, mean that between 40-50% of all food grown, never reaches a person.

This came from what I have been able to understand from the Pope’s statement on climate change …

To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.

Outlook

A correction will be necessary, this can either being managed, or it will just happen and the ashes will lay where they fall.

By it’s very nature I feel like Alice and the looking glass, change outside of the norm will not be possible, as observations of Politicians, reveal their many flaws, which are that they are driven primarily by self interest, fear and dogma – however let’s look at sometime in the future. Then when we look back, what will have become of the monumental edifices, the largely vacant and abandoned shopping malls, these symbols of the past ‘glories’ of consumerism, consumption and distraction – what are we to do with the vast buildings and their open spaces, perhaps housing? … a productive thing we could do, it rip up the vast car parks and do something useful with the land, like grow food!

Flowing on from this retail contraction, inevitably there will be corporate failures, first in retail, then in manufacturing and service industries, the more leveraged the company is, the more likely, but around this point this will be a financial Armageddon scenario, there will be no one to buy these assets, Banks will have made loans to formerly secure and even the blue chip – stocks will plunge, companies will fail, or go into Chapter 11, bankruptcy protection, (these assets will again be unwanted, useless, perhaps even toxic, as there will be no buyers), then the Banks (which were formerly too big to fail, and which are even now larger) will become vulnerable, cash will dry up, if this correction is wide spread, then the cycle that was started by greed, whose first chapter was the 2008, Global Meltdown will have its Finale, its curtain call for the banks will be asset rich, but cash poor, huge asset right downs, and this time, there will be no bail out, the Public cash cow won’t be there, the public won’t allow it (and the US can’t afford it) what we have is wide spread Corporate collapse – the US Budget itself will become even more vulnerable without Corporate and personal taxation income from the millions of the now unemployed, confidence will collapse, the currency will dramatically devalue, imports will cost more, what will need to happen will be severe and permanent expense cuts are applied – I cannot see the Hawks and the GOP accepting this (especially to defense), the US. will print money, borrow more but in time, inevitably societal collapse will follow.

The Corporate spin that Trade deals are good for America is a falsehood .. they are only good for Corporations – the NAFTA was supposed to increase jobs, but it has had the opposite effect, in effect over 600,000 jobs have been lost in the USA – Corporations just took the opportunity to move manufacturing to lower paid jurisdictions such as Mexico … the TPP .. the Trans Pacific Partnership would just exacerbate the job flow out of America to the regions that endorse the Treaty, but the real basis is the Corporate grab for more Power and control, the strategy is to entrench Corporate domination, what’s at state here is the individual sovereignty of nations. I would suggest you look to David Korten’s article that will develop this further, here. This confluence of flaws and scenarios, from the Political, Administrative, Taxation, Judicial and financial mis-management, means we enter the unknown realm, of what happens next?

There is a lesson for us all here, sadly one we won’t learn from.. as George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said … “history teaches us is that people and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it – Hegel”

I guess a part of what I am saying is that unrestrained consumption for its own sake could not be sustained – but from an environmental point of view, the ending of this paradigm, means that the planet will get a reprieve.

References, Comments and Influences:-

Definition of Consumerism: a social and economic order and ideology encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. Early criticisms of consumerism occur in 1899 in the works of Thorstein Veblen.

The status-quo is always in transition, slowly … what works today may be made redundant tomorrow with a truly disruptive paradigm ( a life changing concept, not just a technical concept ) that takes hold of our imaginations – whether we have that time to wait, I don’t know – the future of the planet is in the hands of the Politicians at the moment, a more pathetic display of ignorance and uninformed power I have yet to see … the real issue is they they do not know what is the right decision, they are influenced by lobbyists by donors, and occasionally maybe a constituent, they do not know the right path, so they stay with no decision, which though they may not realise it, is still a decision which gives us more of the same, more of that which is patently not working.

During my research, I can see many people with thoughts of the future, so of us will be right, other not, me included, it really doesn’t matter. There are many people who are trying their best, actually within each person, I believe everyone is trying their best, we cannot and should not judge others, it is hubris and ego to consider that other people aren’t doing what they can, or that we are doing more. At some point the concerns of the people will reach an inertia and change will happen – but what is without question is that we are always in transition, as nothing stays the same, the purpose of this post, indeed all of my posts is to raise awareness, to offer a perspective … not to do so would be irresponsible, my efforts and those of others may change nothing, or perhaps everything, we cannot know what the ripple we create, will touch and what may come of it.

Publications: Inequality in the long run Thomas Piketty * and Emmanuel Saez 23 May, 2014 Rewriting the rules of the American Economy – Joseph E. Stiglitz – Download here

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