I wrote this blog sometime back when the horsemeat scandal hit Britain. We published it on another blog which has since gone defunct, while Last Exit To Reality remains one of the most popular blogs in the world. This morning while reading random articles, I noticed that this is all still on going, that horsemeat is still showing up in meat pies and suppliers are still being quietly sued. But since the government doesn’t really want you to know about it, we feel it is our job to keep it in the news
::::::::::::: Horsemeating Around The Big Picture
On a Saturday morning when I finally had the chance to open emails that elicit an Interest Level of zero (but nonetheless have to be cleaned up), I found an email from Tesco (you know, every little helps) entitled “Food concerns, our responsibility and our promise.” The rest of the 5000-character blather had something to do with the fact that “they are working very hard to make sure there is no horse…” or wood or diamond DNA in their food or some such nonsense.
This basically got me thinking “….But what does this really mean?”
What must really actually rile us about the horsemeat scandal?
Fact: nearly every industry has been infiltrated with some form of corrupt thinking. I mean seriously what were the horse-and-pony people thinking? They would have known that someone who never wants to eat horse would have eaten it unknowingly, that perhaps a lovely Swedish girl living in London who grew up around horses would have been forced to eat horse against her will – that IS corruption.
And then the penny dropped: Deregulation has infiltrated everything from our energy bills to our daily food. Seriously, All Bets Are Off…
Hamburger A Cheval…Horse Burger Mmmmmm
Now I’m not saying that horse meat is some horrible form of food. After all, they serve horse burgers in France, but of course they are labeled as some fancy-sounding dish called “Hamburger a Cheval”. You know what you’re getting unless you don’t speak French and were being a tourist and not a traveler at the time.
Now it’s not just the food industry that is recently tainted with flavors of drama and a hint of corruption. Since the beginning of the free-wheeling days of the Bush and Blair administrations, banking and other industries became completely unregulated : i.e. they were meant to regulate themselves. But in the rush to make even more margin off unwitting consumers, corners were cut by almost every business and regulation of industry went out the window. They were basically allowed to do whatever, change and bend the rules whenever, using whomever they saw fit for the job. Until they got found out.Now some de-regularization continues on– plain as day– in electricity, mortgage and finance, communications, energy, transportation, and more…No really, written plain as day in black-and-white for all to see (The Fine Print written in font size 2 in your Terms and Conditions).
Let’s face it, when you deregulate the world, there are always consequences.
Causality is after all a universal constant – Cause and Effect.
The tree-hugging hippies that threw rocks at dignitaries in the G7 Convention Meetings got something right: Getting angry enough to do something. But saying globalization is bad and localization is good – well that is naive at best.
We have met enough anti-disestablishmentarians in our travels to know that although their hearts are in the right place, they don’t quite grasp the concept of what globalization really is. Globalization is here to stay, it’s not going anywhere – the world’s economy is so intertwined that it will simply be impossible to go back to how things were, and why would we want to? This blog is being written on a Mac laptop, I’m consulting my co-writer on a Nokia mobile, and you’re reading this from your tablet or from your PC half-built in China distributed via Ireland and sold at your local Curry’s. These have all helped create jobs and industry all over the world
Globalization is not the demon people make it out to be, it’s the implementation and lack of knowledge people have on how you can make a difference on a local level to balance out the negative aspects of it. It is actually a matter of changing mindset and behaviour.
So what can you do to make a difference?
Credit Unions instead of banks
Big banks can often use your money to bet on futures of non-existent hedge funds which may be used to temporarily purchase your mortgage without your consent in order to make £20 on your “free” bank account .
Butchers instead of Supers
If people started realizing that you can spend £24 at the local butcher and get far better value than £50 spent at Tesco’s then the horse-and-pony show lesson is well learned
Produce from your Farmers’ Market
In my experience, most merchants know where the produce is actually grown from so if you want Chinese garlic, it will cost heaps less, but if you insist on organically-grown British garlic then it will cost much more but at least you know the source. You know what you’re getting.
Check out this clever Think Tank in London
Though a bit serious and on the dry side, it is objective and is not propaganda, but an action-orientated agenda. They illustrate crystal-clear ways that you can help with“Ten Steps to Save the Cities“ Written by The New Economics Foundation(NEF), an independent economic think tank often referred to in Time Magazine, they compared what happens when people buy produce at a supermarket vs. a local farmer’s market. Basically, by shopping at Your Local instead of the big box, consumers keep their communities from becoming “ghost towns” (areas devoid of neighborhood shops and services) or “clone towns”, where Main Street now looks like every other Main Street with the same fast-food and retail chains.
Lastly, consider this:
The Market experience is a lot more of a social experience and is more community-orientated than the supermarket.
Have you tried to talk to the supermarket guy in aisle 17 about the price of watermelon? I bet he’s not nearly as chatty as the market guy who picked these watermelons fresh at 4 am today and loves your new hat. And let’s face it: the extra walk to the butcher or farmer’s market will not only give you exercise but may help you shed a few pounds and keep you in shape.