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Annie Leonard’s in her book ‘The Story of Stuff’ explores different issues, more pertaining to the United States. She reflects on people’s consumer habits and discusses issues that slowly eat into economies and make people to become slaves of nature. She underscores what a materials economy actually comprises of. She says that a materials economy consists of Extraction, Production, Distribution and Disposal. The five are the backbone of any economy be it in a first, second or third world country.
I am basing my research on how we can create a sustainable world where everyone is independent and people are conscious of their environment. Annie’s thoughts come in handy in this research. I seek to explore how the divisions of a materials economy can be relied upon to create a better world to live in. I shall be looking at each of them at a time and as such, brainstorm on ways that each of these can be harnessed towards developing better economies as well as improving the Gross Domestic Product. I shall also seek to see the advantages that this will have on the people living in this planet. Surely, it wouldn’t be in vain doing all this and as we shall see, Annie’s documentary is of high benefit though there has been serious opposition on the theories she lays down. (Norman and Govoni, 2004)
Refers to the process of removing resources from their natural setting. The process includes such things as mining, fishing, lumbering, farming and harvesting. These activities are the basis of most economies in the world. Not only do they create employment to the people in the United States and across the globe as well but they also form the major part of people’s diet. Looking at how this can be harnessed to better the future prospects is as below:
There should be increased exploitation of resources in the United States. The process of extraction requires money as well as technological advancements. This makes it a very costly process. It is important that this is continually done so that industries are fed with raw materials continually. This further helps to avoid shortage of finished goods as well as stoppages in the process of production.
The same should be taken advantage of to create better jobs for citizens. This will help boost their income and as such overreliance on a few individuals is greatly reduced. This further boosts the income per capita into a positive margin and helps the government in alleviating poverty. ( Harry and William, 1911)
The process of extraction leads to invention. This is because of the necessity to exploit the available resources. Students and researchers come up with new technologies that also happen o be highly automated and thorough. As such, the inventions come with major advantages such as their exportation to other countries boosting the income of any country.
The process of extraction may be harnessed to engage more research. This is because of the requirements in the process such as technological advancements. The researchers are able to come up with long lasting solutions to the current issues. Some of these relate to the environment. Extraction here therefore acts as a catalyst to in depth study. (Lindstedt, and Burenius, 2003)
The process of extraction further may be used as a catalyst for investors. This is especially in the case of a third world country which does not have the resources to exploit. Further, investors may be attracted by the growing economy. They come to provide job opportunities to citizens and as such improve the world.
The process of production refers to the process of converting the extracted raw materials into finished goods. It takes place in factories and industries and may be harnessed to create a better globe to live in. The process of production is what leads to consumerism because it produces what the customers actually want. It is also the basis of most spending that happens across the world.
The process should be harnessed to bring sanity to the world through equitable distribution of industries. This is what is referred to as delocalization. The process of delocalization is swift to achieve the objective of reaching out to areas that are usually sidelined development wise. The industries provide employment opportunities to people living in such areas. Rural areas will mostly benefit from this. The process will also reduce rural urban migration and so the problems that come with this. Such include crime, increased number of shanties, poverty, low standards of life, health hazards etcetera. It will also encourage innovation as well as the exploitation of resources. ( Haines, 2008)
The process of production may also be harnessed to create more job opportunities. Governments should be committed to provide incentives to production and manufacturing companies so that more of them are created by private investors. These will form a basis for people to invest and invest wisely. This will reduce the back log of people living in anguish poverty and as such boost the Income per capita. It will in addition translate into creation of more opportunities for personal growth of individuals.
Cultures of consumerism must revolutionize. People consume a lot from the goods from factories. This increase spending and makes people fail to invest. Governments should be committed to educate people on the importance of reducing their consumption habits and rather engage in investing to create better future prospects for themselves. Better technology comes with increased production. This is because the industries engaging in production of commodities require highly automated technology for the same. This makes scholars to research on ways and means of solving this problem. In return, better technologies are created making work easier and further leads to the establishment of ore industries. People are thus able to secure jobs, improving their standards of life. (Dariush, 2007)
The process of production also attracts investors. These are people who start up industries and companies which engage in rigorous production. Governments may simply provide incentives such as tax reductions and subsidies to attract investors in the call. The process is in line with the intention of most governments of increasing investment opportunities for citizens and foreigners. This leads to a better economy.
People consume more to be comfortable and as well survive. Consumer behavior however should be controlled for better economies. This is because the more people spend on consumption, the less they have to save and invest for tomorrow. As mentioned before, governments should encourage people to save through giving them proper education programs.
The population needs to be controlled for a better future. A high global population puts pressure on the scarce resources leading to increased suffering and abject poverty among people. Population should be controlled through education programs and family planning methods so that there is less consumption.
Cultures of Consumerism however may be encouraged on certain sectors. People should be encouraged to engage in business such as dealing in ornaments to encourage business growth. Gold mining should significantly improve in such a process.
Excessive demand should also be controlled to reduce conflict. Competition for scarce resources is one very major activity in economies. As such, people struggle to get an opportunity to seize the available resources. As such, majority of them start leading lives characterized by fear anxiety since one does not know what his or her competitors are thinking about him. Conflicts go further to compromise peace. This should not be the case if we ought to achieve a sustainable world. (Lindstedt, and Burenius, 2003)
Consumption should be channeled to lead to economic growth. People should avoid impulse buying. They rather should learn how to save and invest. In the process, we shall be creating a better and sustainable world. Overreliance shall reduce whereby few people who can engage their minds in constructive business and investment are heavily looked upon for the same.
We should further look into ways of making the process of distribution reliable in creating a better world. Distribution is part of business and as such, some of the following things may be done. The government should reduce tax burdens on middlemen. These are investors in their own capacity. They create jobs for people. The retailers and wholesalers pay a lot of income tax depending on their level of profits. Governments should be ready to support them by providing subsidies so that they engage further in constructive business. (Robin and Geoffrey, 2007)
The distributors perform certain important roles such as breaking bulk. This is where a large quantity is divided into smaller quantities that can be sold in the wider market. As such, some unethical middlemen take this as an advantage to satisfy their egoistic approaches. They cheat on weights and measures and thus end up exploiting customers. They further go into charging exorbitantly for goods and services making customers again to pay very high prices for commodities that actually do not meet the quality. Distributors must start being ethical. The government must also be keen to interfere to ensure fair play in the market and ensure that consumers are not exploited.
The various channels of distribution are important since they provide people with a chance to become middlemen. Brokers such as wholesalers and retailers are committed to ensuring goods reach to consumers from the producer and in the competitive prices. Direct distribution though in certain cases is unavoidable should be ignored to have a better economy. It shall give investors opportunities to take part in trading. ( Haines, 2008)
Refers to the process of waste management. This has been an issue since pollution does not appear to be ceasing any time soon. Creating a sustainable world must incorporate measures aimed at preventing environmental degradation. The collection, transport, processing and monitoring of wastes is all what surrounds the process.
Pollution is health hazardous. It compromises on hygiene and leads to ailments such as cancer and liver complications. Untreated sewage for instance when used for farming leads to the deposition of waste into the human body. The ions deposited in the body are very dangerous and may result into deaths of people and marine animals. (Dariush, 2007)
Waste disposal is also a determinant to the survival of plants. This is an important basis since agriculture gets a foundation from the same. It is important that wastes are properly disposed so that they do not compromise the survival of plants. This may lead to starvation globally.
Waste disposal also affects weather patterns. Excessive release of gases into the atmosphere has been known to result into global warming. This is a catastrophic development since it affects weather patterns. It becomes hard to predict if it is going to rain or not and thus economic activities such as agriculture are adversely affected.
Materials economy as depicted in Anne’s documentary may be relied upon as a basis of boosting economies. This comes in handy with a better shape for the world in general. It is important for extraction, production, distribution and disposal to be carried out in the most professional way possible so that a better world is created.