As I was clearing out my Facebook feed last week I noticed there is definitely no shortage of people who are unhappy with the way things are going in the world.
Punks, snobs, right-wing, left-wing, educated, ignorant… People from all walks of life are upset with the way things are going right now. There is a tenure that in a lot of ways we are treating ourselves, the planet we live on and the animals on it as worthless. And to most people in power, everyone but themselves seems to either be a means to an end or useless and disposable.
Of course us “regular” folks aren’t going to take it any longer. So on a daily basis we share shocking articles, videos and rants about the next way in which politicians, immigrants and evil big corporations are screwing us over. And we add well thought out comments like “THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!!!! HOW MUCH LONGER ARE WE GOING TO TAKE THIS??? THESE PEOPLE HAVE NO SHAME I TELL YOU, NO SHAME!!”
It reminds me of this South Park scene:
Okay , I. admit the comparison is not 100% exact. In South Park these people still went out to take a stance. In our world the call for a revolution is a bit more like: “This calls for a protest! But only if we can do it within the safe confines of our homes where microwave-ready food is within reach and we are protected by a safe layer of social media profiles and not after 10, because that’s Netflix time.”
Do I mean to tell you that we have to go out there and start rioting instead?
Most likely not. Before attacking others, let’s take a look in the mirror first.
Ever heard of the law of “Supply & Demand” in economics?
Here’s a quick recap just in case: The value of a particular product or service is determined by the available supply and the demand for said product or service.
If the supply remains the same but more people demand it, a shortage occurs so the perceived value goes up. The same happens if the supply becomes smaller.
This also means that if the supply remains the same but the demand decreases, the value goes down. And if there would no longer be any demand, whatever product or service we’re talking about, would literally have no value anymore. So only a fool would still sell it.
If there was no demand anymore, a lot of those things you complain about, would cease to exist. Granted, this doesn’t apply to everything. Accidents will still happen and some people will still behave in ways you don’t like. But it applies to a lot more things that you can imagine.
Take the hunt on endangered animals for example:
Why do you think poachers poach, or whalers whale?
Is it because they are evil and like to see animals suffer?
Of course not. Poachers poach and whalers whale because they need money. And since there is such a high demand and low supply of these endangered animals, it’s simply a good source of income for people with questionable morals.
If we would all stop buying products that contain these ingredients, the value of whaling would go down for the whalers and they would take a different job. It’s not worth the risk of going to jail if it doesn’t even pay, right?
Do you hate it that the media sensationalizes everything and only shows us half of the story? Why do you think they would do that?
They don’t do it because they’re a big evil organization conspiring against us.
They do it because people want sensationalized news (drama) and simple, one-sided, repeatable statements as opposed to complex nuanced truths.
The nuanced, truth would leave them with a lot of homework before they can form an opinion they feel is right. And when they did, the opinion would still be scary to state out loud since other people might disagree. The media want viewers because that’s their business model. So they cater to the demands of the population. Simple as that. If people stopped watching untrustworthy media channels, they would all go out of business.
It’s great that people are starting to notice these things in the world. And raising awareness within their social circles through means of public complaints does something. There’s a catch though:
The law of supply and demand doesn’t respond to opinions or Facebook statuses. It responds to action and real life consumer behavior.
• If you want the nuclear plant to shut down, you have to switch to an energy provider that only provides green energy or you are still actively demanding and encouraging the nuclear plant to keep going, no matter how much you cry “outrage”. Actions speak louder than words.
• If you want IS to stop making horrific videos. Stop sharing them and being an active participant in their fear-based marketing techniques. Will that stop them from existing? No. But I’m pretty sure every reaction or share is affirming to them their tactic works.
• If you hate all the animal cruelty happening in the world, you need to stop buying cheap eggs, and meat or dairy from industrial farms (which is basically anything in any supermarket). Either that, or you stop complaining about it.
The real power is, and will always stay, with the people. If some crazy politician passes a law nobody agrees with, and they simply ignore the fact that (s)he ever created it, the law doesn’t exist. You may think the 1% has more power than the 99%, but they don’t. They are extremely outnumbered. 99 to 1 is about the most unfair battle you can imagine.
Unless the 99 just sit on their ass and accept whatever cruel deeds the 1 person does without retaliating. Complaining about the elite is starting to sound a bit silly when you look at it like that, isn’t it?
Will you alone save the planet and our species by changing your behavior?
Of course you won’t.
But is that a reason to not change your life and keep actively rewarding people for their bad behavior with your money?
That’s like teaching your dog to bite you.
No company would ever consider manufacturing or selling anything no one is willing to pay for. But if you simply don’t care and give them your money anyway, they will also not care and go do unethical stuff anyway.
You can’t change the demands of other people (though you can inspire them to change). But if everyone else uses the “my small contribution won’t make any difference” logic that means they probably also think you don’t care. Even though you do but stay passive simply because they stay passive. See what’s happening there? ?
Stop turning yourself a blind eye here. Changing the world starts in your own backyard, and if you’re not part of the solution yet, you are still part of the problem. Knowing that you no longer are supporting the things you don’t like in the world will make you a much happier person.
So here’s what I propose you try just once to see how it makes you feel:
Next time you’re about to complain about something that’s wrong with the world, don’t do it. Don’t post it on Facebook. Don’t say anything.
Simply confront yourself and see in which way you are still part of the group that creates a demand for it. Either by buying any products or services from the companies that do so, or worse: by working for them ’cause you need to money. Then instead of complaining, just stop your contributions.
Who knows, you might even change the world after all ?