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Cause and effect

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A prime example is the low cost of fast food, and the low, low prices at your neighbourhood Wal-Mart. While the executives of these concerns attribute their low prices to economies of scale and shrewd management, the reality is that every cost savings comes at the expense of something, whether it’s fair working wages at home, Third World sweatshops, a disregard for the environment, government subsidies, genetically modified crops or automated manufacturing. That’s why globalization is a myth – if workers in the Third World enjoyed the same standard of living that we do (and we’re enjoying it less and less), the price of everything would skyrocket, and there wouldn’t be enough to go around. Right now the inequity in wages works in our favour, and anyone who tells you differently is lying.

The choices we make in our daily lives are essentially actions, and although we don’t always see or feel the reactions, they are definitely there. And the more people that take those actions, the greater that reaction will be until we can no longer ignore it.

For example, are you thinking about buying an SUV? Then join the 25 per cent of other drivers who made a similar choice in recent years, thereby decreasing average fuel economy for the first time in more than 20 years, and increasing annual fuel consumption in North America by more than 150 million barrels of oil.

There’s another concept at play here that could be defined as Newton’s third law of social conscience – "If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem." In other words, if you don’t watch your actions, then you’re responsible for their reactions.

Of course, nobody likes to be told that they are part of the problem, and people usually block out these types of argument at this point by viewing them as a personal attack.

Nobody means to be part of the problem. Some people don’t even believe there is a problem.

Some people acknowledge that they are part of the problem, but have faith that science and technology will offer a solution.

Some people don’t care – we’re all going to die anyway when (pick one) the next meteor hits, the air runs out, the ice caps melt, the world powers go nuclear, and the next plague hits, so why bother?

Although people probably feel a lot more guilty about the choices they make than they have in the past, until they can be made to feel the effects, nothing is going to change.

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