Sadly, it appears that Barack Obama is unwilling or unable to take on corporate America. He talks tough, but accommodates when the chips are really on the table – as the health care debate has conveniently demonstrated. More and more Americans are waking up to the fact that with a few notable exceptions, both Republicans and Democrats in Washington are basically employees of corporate lobbyists.
Perhaps one of the best ways to counter the stranglehold large corporations have on our economy and our government is to go underground. We can take the legs out from under the Wal-Marts, Exxons, Monsantos, and Coca-Colas of the world by finding alternatives to the corporate-consumer culture we have been raised in. Here’s a quick list of 5 ways we can get started:
1) Refuse to purchase anything from the three largest companies in any industry. This would eliminate the incentive to glean maximum profit no matter what the cost to human lives or the environment. For example, imagine how the oil business would change if all of a sudden Exxon, Shell, and BP were trying to be #4 instead of #1. If you’re feeling really daring, you can refuse to buy anything sold by a Fortune 500 company.
2) Shop more at yard sales and thrift shops, and engage in the ancient practice of bartering. Our culture is already saturated with material goods. Anything we buy new is probably already sitting unused in one of our neighbors’ houses. The idea that we should purchase something new every time we need something is a false imperative created by the corporate marketing and advertising machine.
3) Eat locally grown and unprocessed food. It’s better for you, better for the planet, and better for the non-corporate farmers. Plus, it almost always tastes better.
4) Stop watching television. Or at least watch it with an awareness of how the advertising is manipulating you. Marketing firms pay the best psychologists a lot of money to help them produce commercials to make you buy their products. The best defense against them is the "off" button.
5) Read, write, and talk about the dangers of corporate control. Even the most knowledgeable of consumers have been "branded" and make shopping decisions for reasons they’re not consciously aware of. Research shows that children begin forming brand loyalties at a very young age. I’m a pastor, but my 4-year old son can name more brand names than Biblical characters. It’s not unreasonable to say that consumerism and corporatism have become the true belief systems in our country. Like an addiction, the first step to recovery is admitting we have a problem. And we can’t admit it unless enough people know about it.
What would you add to this list of underground ways to fight the corporate beast?