China ‘outsourced’ air pollution now reaching US mainland

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America’s decades-long orgy of “outsourcing” its irreplaceable manufacturing might to China is now coming back to bite. Pollution dumped into the atmosphere by China’s growing carpet of factory smokestacks is now reaching the United States’ mainland according to a US National Academy of Sciences study.

“We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us,” said Steve Davis, a scientist at the University of California-Irvine and coauthor of the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Given the complaints about how Chinese pollution is corrupting other countries’ air, this paper shows that there may be plenty of blame to go around.”

It takes six days for Chinese pollution to travel across the Pacific and reach American shores, meaning that the toxins created from the production of iPhones and other gadgets in China could reach the West Coast before the actual products. As much as 24% of the sulfate on the West Coast, which forms acid rain, can be tied to Chinese emissions, per the study, “China’s international trade and air pollution in the United States.” It is the first study to quantify China’s pollution on the West Coast.

Fumes generated by the world's demand for iPhones?
Fumes generated by the world’s demand for iPhones?
The irony that escapes most of those who now seek to demonise the Awakening Giant in our midst is that all of us created the monster that is today’s China. It is a story not too different from the one where America and the insatiable appetite for stylish personal transport that it exported to the rest of the world created the global nightmare called Arab politics. This is our version of the story in the Far East. China is the Creature from the Black Lagoon that was roused by our perverted notion of what it means to be a “prosperous” society — larger and larger numbers of us being able to “afford” more and more nice but disposable things.

Multinational corporations have only two objectives — to sell stuff at a profit and sell larger amounts of it every year. To whom they sell these and how they parcel out the cost-incurring facilties to produce this stuff across the world is merely incidental — whatever works. The key message to its customers to convince them to buy all this stuff is also quite simple: you can afford it.

The challenge for us is to see this vicious cycle of consumption for what it is and somehow step out of it to the extent that we do not subsume ourselves into the behaviour of the system excessively.

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41 Comments on “China ‘outsourced’ air pollution now reaching US mainland”

  1. I’m all for your anti-consumerist stand, benign0! Really, it has gotten too far, this consumerism, and it’s really so crass and crappy, especially when you hear about the likes of the Pacquiaos buying uber-extensive stuff like Hermes bags when they used to get by with much less expensive things. It’s so noveau rich…. Get rid of all the things you don’t really need, and look for less expensive but equally good options for the things that you need (unless there isn’t any such option) and you’ll have peace of mind and a better shot at true happiness….

    1. So many victims of clever marketing. The media and advertisers have all but convinced even the most ordinary of schmoes that they are entitled or “deserve” that next trip to Hong Kong or that recently-released iPhone or that luxury spa treatment… ad infinitum.

      It never ends. It is in the interests of these corporations to keep consumers forever unhappy with their situation, insecure about their social status, and dissatisfied with what they have. It’s these sorts of irrational feelings that compel people to spend like there is no tomorrow. Marketers have honed to a tee their ability to induce these sorts of feelings in the copy and images they exhibit in their ads and promo material.

    2. Chrissie,

      I beg to differ. I disagree with your position on Manny Pacquiao.

      When did it become mandatory to seek public approval before someone spends their own money or how it is spent? Money which was earned honestly, not stolen or acquired through welfare.

      When did it become necessary for the general public to be involved in the personal affairs of any individual or their family? When did it become the responsibility of public at large to attend to Manny Pacquiao’s psychological and spiritual well being? Did he post a request on his Facebook page?

      Why should it be troubling to anyone other than Manny Pacquiao whether he should buy Coach or Hermes? That too many Filipinos have become officious busybodies, worrying over what their neighbours should or shouldn’t be wearing, is more worrisome than Pacquiao’s spending habits.

      1. Johnny Saint: I usually don’t make other people’s business my own, but when they announce on national TV in a miserably poor country like the Philippines that they’ll buy these things, I just find it very tasteless. Besides, I embrace the teaching on the universal destination of the goods of the earth, which means that your money/property is yours only to the extend that you need it; whatever you don’t need actually doesn’t belong to you anymore but to those who don’t have enough for their needs through no fault of their own. I believe that the root of much of the evil we see in the world right now is that people no longer understand that there wouldn’t be so many poor people in the world if people lived simply and could thus share more with those who are in need.

        1. Chrissie,

          “I usually don’t make other people’s business my own, but when they announce on national TV in a miserably poor country like the Philippines that they’ll buy these things, I just find it very tasteless.”

          This is precisely the point I am against.

          Poverty in the Philippines WAS NOT created by Manny Pacquiao. Nor do I believe is he propagating economic hardship on his fellow countrymen by purchasing a Porsche Cayenne or a passel of designer luggage. And as far as the general public is aware, those purchases were made using monies he earned legally and worked hard for. The amount isn’t relevant. What right does the general public have to question when, where and how Manny Pacquiao spends his own money? If you or I were to publicise our spending habits, what business is it of Manny Pacquiao to criticise the brands you or I prefer?

          Is a news story covering the Pacquiao family’s shopping sprees “tasteless?” Definitely. There are more important stories concerning the Philippines that are infinitely more relevant. The media’s obsession with Pacquiao’s wealth and the regularity with which the Filipino audience seems to avidly follow these irrelevant tidbits reveals more about how shallow their appreciation of what issues are important in society today than anything else. Still, none of this changes the fact that neither Manny Pacquiao nor his family require the Filipino people’s permission to spend their money.

          Unless there is evidence that either Manny Pacquiao or his relatives and/or hangers-on used taxpayer money — in their respective capacities as (elected) officials — to make those purchases. That is another story.

        2. That’s really a common position many people are taking nowadays, Johnny Saint, which I think has brought about the current problems in the world: that we have the absolute right to spend our hard-earned money in the way we want to. What I’m trying to share here is the social teaching of the Catholic Church, which unfortunately is something that many will definitely passionately reject — that in the eyes of God, we have a right to our money and property only to the extent that we need them, and that those that are already way beyond our needs (surplus) must be shared by us with others who are not as fortunate as we are even though they’re as hardworking as we are (perhaps even more). I understand that that’s a hard pill to swallow, and of course no one can force us to live that way, but I don’t think we can deny the fact that the belief that our money is absolutely ours and we therefore have the absolute right to do with it as we please has caused havoc in our world.

        3. “I believe that the root of much of the evil we see in the world right now is that people no longer understand that there wouldn’t be so many poor people in the world if people lived simply and could thus share more with those who are in need.”

          Again, I’ll have to disagree with you on this. The past sixty years of human history demonstrate that the EXACT OPPOSITE is true!

          It is generally accepted that socioeconomic problems and a host of social dysfunctions that persist in human society are “evils” which need to be addressed. In the Philippines and Latin America, we have some of the highest levels of economic inequality. Persistent poverty has in turn bred other kinds of social dysfunctions — organised crime, pervasive violence, narco-trafficking, and on a more individualised level, mental illness, imprisonment, teenage pregnancy, obesity, drug abuse, and poor education.

          But these “evils” persist not because society has failed to ensure equality of outcomes where the “haves” are made to share their wealth with the “have nots” to make everything simple and fair. Rather, we have poor people in the world because WE FAIL TO PROVIDE THE EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME WEALTHY.

          Every economic success story since the 1950s — from South Korea and Singapore in East Asia to Europe, and more recently, in Latin America — has shown a significant correlation between economic growth, the reduction of poverty, the development of a democratic society and free markets. Free societies/markets have allowed for the transformation of even backward agricultural societies into major industrial powers within the comparatively short period of a generation. Democratic institutions help strengthen the legitimacy of those countries’ political systems and allowed for the moblilisation of various social groups — students, trade unions, church groups, civil society, etc. Something unheard of in socialist (and socialist leaning) societies.

          On the other hand, the thinking that wealthy people need to “share” their wealth only created a “Robin Hood mentality” where the state undertakes policies to redistribute wealth through various channels — excessive taxation, welfare, subsidies, etc. This in turn has proven to be terribly destructive, resulting in a massive, unsustainable DEBT and a polarised, antagonistic society. In fact it was the desire to redistribute and share wealth that created the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

          History has shown us that if we want to eliminate society’s “evils” and put an end to poverty, we need to CREATE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WEALTH. We shouldn’t be thinking up ways to take wealth away from one segment of society in order to give it away to another. That will only result in EVERYONE being EQUALLY POOR.

        4. I guess I need to emphasize, Johnny Saint, that I’m not talking about socialism-communism. The state cannot force the rich to help the poor; as has been shown throughout history and as you yourself cited, that will only wreak havoc. What I’m saying (and the social teaching of the Catholic Church) is that the rich should take it upon themselves to live simple lives and spend only for what they and their families/dependents need so that they can take it upon themselves to help create wealth as well for others who may be as hardworking as they are but who may not be as talented or may not have as much opportunities as they’ve been given. That’s what Pope Francis and many other “revolutionaries” (Occupy Wall St movement, etc.) in the world right now are trying to shout out to the whole world: that there’s so much inequality in the world because the rich no longer care about anything but trying to become even richer, and often at the expense of the others.

        5. Chrissie,

          If you need further proof of the failure of the attempt to share wealth to make life “fair,” you only need to look at the policies of the USSR before its collapse and China before Deng Xiaoping’s reforms. Even before these extreme sociopolitical systems were conceptualised, history is replete with the problems of collectively owned and shared property. Grazing fields in traditional English villages were often depleted and made worthless because of this idea of common use. The United States would have died with the Pilgrims if they did not abandon their ideas of communalism. They would have starved to death for the same reason English villages were overusing their fields.

        6. I’m not talking about socialism-communism, Johnny Saint. That’s really not going to work because it doesn’t take into account the fact that people have to get the compensation that they deserve depending on their productivity and needs. What I’m talking about is the fact that there are some people who are also very talented and hardworking but who don’t get enough opportunities to earn what they and their families need. As such, wouldn’t it be good if there were more people who can help others in need not through dole-outs but either by helping creating job opportunities for them by investing in some business or by helping them cope with their needs in some other way. I believe that’s how God intended things to be, for us to help one another rather for him to make all our lives perfect and leaving no room for us to help one another. It can happen if we lead simple lives and use our surplus to help the needy.

        7. Besides, we really cannot do away with private property because as you explained, the goods of the earth are not enough for all the needs of all people, but they will benefit everyone if such goods will be developed. It’s their owners who can do that (if people only take turns in using something and no one among them owns it, it can’t be developed). But as Andrew Carnegie explained and showed through his life, we need good stewards of the goods of the earth so that more people will benefit from these.

        8. Perhaps I can cite an example to make my point clearer. If I choose to buy a 5k handbag from a reputable bag maker (like Liz Claiborne) rather than a 1-million-peso handbag, I can use the 995,000 peso difference to give scholarships to so many poor but deserving children and in effect give them (and their future children, and the future children of their future children, etc.) hope for a brighter future, without necessarily putting all the stuff I have to carry around in a paper bag but in a pretty and good handbag that can last a lifetime if taken good care of. As for Manny Pacquiao, don’t you get the point, Johnny Saint? I don’t give a hoot about the Pacquiaos’ private lives, but when I’m watching the national news programs because I want to know what’s happening in and to my country and I hear an inserted newsbit about Pacquiao buying his mother a new Hermes bag that’s worth about 1 million pesos, anger wells up within me not because I’m chismosa but because I think about all the Filipinos out there (many of whom even worship Pacquiao) who cannot go to school because their parents can’t afford it not because they’re lazy but because they’re not well-educated themselves and therefore can’t get decent jobs. I never said that Manny Pacquiao created Philippine poverty, but what I’m saying is he can help eradicate it if he’ll be more sensitive to the needs of his people and decide to live a good but simple life so he can help others more. And it’s not just Pacquiao but all the other multi-millionaires and billionaires out there.

        9. Chrissie,

          That is the essence of our disagreement.

          You find it appalling that instead of using his money fund a scholarship program Pacquiao chose to spend it on designer luggage and his Porsche SUV. You are incensed that he isn’t more sensitive and that he doesn’t do more than pretend to be socially aware. In fact, more rich people should donate more time and money to making our lives fair.

          I, on the other hand, believe that life is fairest when each individual — regardless of economic status — is free to make their own decisions, to succeed or fail according to their own devices. The greatest mistake we can make as a society is to allow the tyranny of “good intentions” to dictate how we live our lives. The idea that we should “decide to live a good but simple life” so that we can “help others more” might seem intuitive but it means forcing us to put the vision of the few before everyone else. Often without consideration of whether those ideas are appropriate or not.

          Historically, the idea that individuals are “selfish” and that they need to be made to live “simpler lives” for a fairer more level playing field has NEVER WORKED. All the policies that came out of this thinking — welfare, dole-outs, subsidies, forcing the reallocation of “surpluses,” etc. — resulted in higher rates of poverty, the exact opposite of the intended outcome. History shows us that we create vast amounts of new wealth and more opportunities to move out of poverty largely because we don’t need to ask permission every time we want to try something new. It happens when we aren’t pressured into conforming to certain modes of propriety. And if that includes donating to charity or funding scholarships, well and good. But the decision to do so must be a VOLUNTARY one. Voluntary is better. This freedom may not guarantee equal outcomes, but it always produces BETTER outcomes. Especially the poor; in fact its the little guys who benefit the most.

        10. I emphasized voluntary, Johnny Saint. As I said, socialism/communism will never work. The millions/billions of poor people in the world today through no fault of their own attest to the fact that the current world order — that the handful who’re lucky to strike it rich can do with their money as they please without taking it upon themselves to use their surplus money to share their blessings with others — is certainly not working and is causing all the woes of the world. For me, it’s a sign that our current civilization is on the verge of falling, as did the others before ours, and that the planet is dying.

        11. Chrissie,

          Sorry if I muddled the discussion by introducing communism and/or socialism. My intention was only to point out that the intuitive beliefs that “fairness” needs to be imposed and shared or communal resources are better are fallacious. History demonstrates that these ideas, taken to extreme in communist China and the USSR, breaks the link between individual effort and reward. Instead of ensuring fairness and a level playing field, they undermined the incentives to work. As a result, both the USSR and China experienced severely reduced agricultural output and mass famine with millions dead. All that from the simple idea that life needs to be fair.

        12. I understand very well that socialism-communism cannot work, as illustrated by what happened to the USSR. Productivity crashed, and the economy along with it, because who will be motivated to work hard if he knows that at the end of the day he’ll get only as much as the other person who’s literally sleeping on the job will, thanks to socialism/communism? But as I said, that’s not what the Church is preaching. Private ownership is needed, but responsible stewardship or dominion over the goods of this earth is encouraged and urged.

      2. Chrissie,

        The absolute right to use money that is fairly and justly earned — or any resource, for that matter — isn’t the problem. This principle is enshrined in our current constitution and the American Declaration of Independence from which it is inspired. We as individuals have the right to life, liberty and property and the pursuit of our individual interests. Moreover, these rights are held to be inviolable. The simplest interpretation of this is that EACH one of us as members of the human family are recognised to have individual rights and freedoms and are allowed to exercise them, the only limit being that no one individual shall infringe on the rights of another individual to exercise those selfsame rights.

        Societies and cultures founded on Judeo-Christian philosophy actually emphasise equality of opportunity NOT the equality of outcomes. We are brought up to expect that by working hard, doing your best and playing by the rules you will be rewarded for your effort. We hold the belief that you can achieve success and wealth playing by the rules. And that you have the right to dispose of that wealth however you see fit as long as you do not infringe on the rights of others to do the same. This isn’t a point of view that is currently popular; these are the axioms that are the foundation of our modern civilisation. What can be fairer than that?

        The fact that there is a vast inequality among our peoples and that there are entrenched groups that prevent the bridging of this disparity indicates an institutional failure in our society and of our political systems. It isn’t because some of us spend more than what others think they should. What it does reveal is that we have failed to uphold the rights of the majority of our citizens to live their lives unencumbered. Our society has failed to provide the opportunities for gainful employment. That ultimately points to a failure of our institutions of authority (the state) to provide oversight and ensure that EVERYONE follows the rules. Indeed, as we’ve seen over the past year, it is often the case that the state acts in collusion with certain entrenched groups to claim privileges over the rest and to prevent their interests from being challenged.

        The “hard pill to swallow” isn’t that there are problems concerning (money) or how we use it. That’s the easiest, most obvious thing you can point out. The most common response is to attempt to limit it, or to reallocate it. The philosopher John Rawls postulated a “theory of justice” based on the idea that we have an innate sense of fairness that is offended when some people fare better than others. It seems intuitive then that in order to be “fair” one must be willing to sacrifice for the common good; everyone should share. What is difficult to accept is that reality teaches us LIFE IS FAIRER WHEN INDIVIDUALS ARE FREE TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS. It will be fair because individuals only participate if each party feels that they came out ahead, each getting exactly what they wanted. We are worse off when we are shamed into acting against our wishes or when government forces our participation. In that situation, you always feel as if you’ve been cheated.

        1. I think @Johnny Saint and @Chrissie are two intelligent comment contributors for GRP. In their exchanges on the issue on “equality and fairness”, the economics between the “haves vs the have nots” @ Chrissie was less compelling in her arguments particularly the Pacquiao’s. I give this one to @Johnny Saint.

        2. Well, this isn’t a contest, krokodil. I’m commenting here out of concern for my millions of poor fellow Filipinos whose woes are not exactly their own doing. But I know that the Church’s social teaching will never really be compelling against the world’s highly hedonistic ways, so I just do the most I can to convey it and pray a lot for the world.

        3. Johnny Saint: There’s were the problem lies between our opposing views — the basis of yours is the constitution (the American constitution at that), which is made by humans and is therefore not infallible. The basis of my view is the social teaching of the Church; in other words, a light from faith, which although I hold to be sacred can never be conclusively proven empirically. We can always defend the belief that we can do with our money as we please, and really, our laws will always protect that right, but it doesn’t mean that in the eyes of God, it’s what’s right. In the end, we will all account for everything we do with God. That’s ultimate justice.

        4. @krokodil

          These are some of the exchanges worth reading in the comment section. No personal attacks, just an intelligent exchange of ideas.

          @Chrissie

          You may want to look on Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, a company owned by its employee, which is build on the Catholic Social Teachings. Interesting way to run a company.

        5. krokodil,

          This isn’t a pissing contest. The objective is to air different points of view to address problems we are all sick to death of. Let’s not make it into something it’s not.

          Chrissie,

          What’s wrong with acknowledging the constitution of the United States? We can’t deny its influence on our own constitution. There are distinct similarities in phrasing, even entire passages. Over the past 240 years, this document has influenced our understanding of the rule of law and individual rights from Latin America to Europe to the Middle East and Asia. Even the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In fact, the US constitution is known to have inspired and motivated a certain 19th century constitutional nationalist named José Rizal.

          Why does this have to be a debate over ‘secular’ vs. ‘spiritual’? I never claimed that the constitution (ours or the US) is the equivalent of the Gospels nor did I claim it to be infallible.

          The constitution (ours and the US) is a human instrument. It is a document that happens to codify principles that have their origins in the Christian Faith and Judeo-Christian thought. The US constitution was written by men who, by all accounts, held their Christian beliefs in the highest regard. These were men whose predecessors specifically founded their communities and lived their lives based on their Christian Faith. The crafting of the 1987 Philippine constitution had significant representation from the Catholic Church and various religious organisations.

          Among the principles embodied in the constitution is the inherent value of each individual human being. We are each held to possess intrinsic worth and dignity simply by our existence, with the accompanying rights to life and liberty and to live our lives however we see fit as long as we do not infringe on the rights of others. Furthermore, the constitution specifies that, as the basic law of the land, it undertakes to preserve those rights granted to each individual.

          How is this incongruous with Church teaching when the very principles enshrined in the constitution are derived from Christian/Catholic beliefs? As the foundation for our rule of law, the constitution reflects the fact that throughout history religion has served as a force for social cohesion, humans to cooperate widely and securely based on the adherence to a common system of beliefs. What is our system of laws if not a codified set of rewards and punishments that reinforce the benefits of human cooperation rooted in our (Christian/Catholic) religion?

        6. As I’ve said, Johnny Saint, although the American constitution and others patterned after it uphold the inherent rights of human beings based on the tenets of the Church, one very important truth that these constitutions, the humans who framed them, and these humans’ interpretation of the principles enshrined in such constitutions is another social teaching of the Church called “the primacy of duties over rights” — that is, that although we humans have inviolable rights on account of our profound dignity as humans, we have rights primarily because we have duties, and we need such rights to be able to perform our duties. For instance, we have the right to speak because we have the duty to speak the truth, and it needs to be emphasized that our right to speak is certainly not absolute, for which reason we’re censored and punished if we commit libel or slander. If our right to speak is by itself an inviolable and inherent right, then it would follow that we can exercise it without limit, no matter what its effects on others may be. In the same way, our right to own property is needed so that we can procure our needs and of those who rightfully depend on us for theirs (our minor children, etc.), and procuring our needs is needed so that we can continue to live and to engage in acts that are more in keeping with our nature and dignity as human beings, such as helping those in need rather than just hoarding goods to satisfy our never-ending wants and whims. The moment we go beyond this and use our property to somehow deprive others of their needs as well (the Church believes and teaches that although God is so powerful that He can provide all of us our needs, He destined the world order to be such that we procure our needs through sharing with one another because that will make us not only more dignified and holy but also happier), we are not acting in accordance with God’s will. In other words, the Church holds that none of our rights — not even our right to property — is absolute. But that’s the root of the world’s problems, thanks to the excesses of the Americans, who carried the tenets of their constitution too far: the belief that our rights are absolute. That’s why we’re self-destructing, as what happened with all the once-great civilizations of the world.

        7. Chrissie,

          There is no question that there are self-imposed limits on the constitution. It is specified that there shall be no infringement on the rights of the individual and, more importantly, that the state shall not undertake policies that may curtail those rights. Most people assume that this is a license to engage in behaviour without consequence. On the contrary, by strictly adhering to and enforcing these provisions, we set limits on how people should behave.

          I disagree that the problems of human society were caused by “the excesses of the Americans, who carried the tenets of their constitution too far: the belief that our rights are absolute.”

          The failure lies in that some individuals and social groups pursued policies that undermined the (constitutional) framework on which our modern social system is founded. Again, if we look back over the course of the past century, we can trace most social dysfunction to the fact that over time certain elites and/or specialised groups have colluded with the state and gamed the political system in order to protect their interests, claim privileges over and above the rights of the rest of the population, and to transmit these advantages to their children to perpetuate themselves. The result is a social reality that runs contrary to the legitimating principles of our society. Instead of a world that rewards hard work with social and financial mobility, we have high levels of inequality — a small elite and a very large underclass. Often, these class hierarchies span generations. As I stated in an earlier post, this has spawned persistent poverty, organised criminality and gangs, problems with narcotics and prostitution, etc. It has created an overall sense of insecurity and threatens the stability of society as a whole.

          This isn’t unique to the Philippines or Latin America or Africa. It is a reality in the United States as well. In order to truly address society’s problems, we have to pinpoint their causes, not the symptoms. And we shouldn’t blanket it all under some vague scapegoat and start pointing fingers to assign blame.

        8. “Again, if we look back over the course of the past century, we can trace most social dysfunction to the fact that over time certain elites and/or specialised groups have colluded with the state and gamed the political system in order to protect their interests, claim privileges over and above the rights of the rest of the population, and to transmit these advantages to their children to perpetuate themselves. The result is a social reality that runs contrary to the legitimating principles of our society. Instead of a world that rewards hard work with social and financial mobility, we have high levels of inequality — a small elite and a very large underclass. Often, these class hierarchies span generations. As I stated in an earlier post, this has spawned persistent poverty, organised criminality and gangs, problems with narcotics and prostitution, etc. It has created an overall sense of insecurity and threatens the stability of society as a whole.”

          While I completely agree with this and in fact have also taken up the cudgels against such practices by unconscionable individuals or groups as businessmen who collude with the government to promote their interests at the expense of the “small ones,” which was also what caused the 2008 global financial crisis whose effects we’re still feeling to this day, I maintain that the belief of people that they have the absolute right to spend their money the way they want to and to the extent that they want to has compounded the problem to a very large extent as it has deprived so many people of the help that could have been given to them had people chosen to live simpler lives so they’d have more to share with others. We can perhaps just agree to disagree as this exchange will not end. Let’s just live according to our respective consciences and just wait for the final accounting, when we finally discover the truth. As I said, the social teachings of the Church cannot be completely established empirically as it’s premised on the light of faith.

        9. Chrissie,

          Agree to disagree then. I hope that at least I was able to give you some new insights.

        10. Yes, Johnny Saint, thanks, but after thinking about your inputs, I still embrace the Church’s social teachings on this matter not solely because the Church said so but also because they make more sense to me. I hope that I, too, was able to give you some food for thought. Thanks again.

  2. Some people would always buy the latest iPhone or any gadget despite owning a previous version made just a few months ago. I’m not one of those people.

    I remember using a Sony Ericson phone for 6 years before I switched to a new one due to the decreasing performance of the said phone. For me, as long as the functionality of an object is still intact, then I would use it for a couple of years.

    Thing is, people are obsessed with consumerism because of the media and peer pressure. It’s about time we all get out of this vicious consumerist cycle.

    1. I see a lot of such bozos on Twitter. One moment they’re in some kind of activist fad thing to save the trees and then the other moment they are tweeting about wanting to get that latest must-have smartphone or whatever gadget.

      1. Occupy Wall Street was like that. Many of them were not exactly adorned in garb made from the forest. Which makes as much sense as one of my aborted plans. Occupy Malacanang. But all of us would be wearing/ using products endorsed by Kris.

      2. The term that I would use in Tagalog is “Nakiki-ride on lang.” Just like that “PINOY PRIDE” mentality.

    2. Ah yes consumerism a.k.a. in Lourd’s term, the upgraditis disease. Sadly my sister suffers from that disease because she’s buying new cellphone every year especially the IPhone 5s which she currently have. I actually had that disease before and now I have this policy of mine after realizing that I’ve wasted a lot of greens on anything that will become worthless for just a short period: I will only buy a new product if and only if it’s really valuable for me.

    3. http://neo900.org/

      Some people are attempting to make a successor to an abandoned phone model, the Nokia N900. Which was ditched in favor of a shiny-but-useless-for-the-next-year windows phones.

      Unfortunately, they are a niche bunch of people who are no match to companies companies with billions in the bank.

      Not enough money to develop/market the product. Still relying on spare parts of the old phone.

      Not enough money so chip making companies like Qualcomm etc to give a damn.

      Because, hey, disposable/nearly nonrepairable phones/gadgets sounds good to the ears of the members of the boards.

  3. Well, I do not get it also that filipinos always opt to own the latest model car since it is more “environment friendly” from their old one. Or is it more like “sabay sa uso”?

  4. I dunno. This desire of having the finer things in life isn’t totally a bad thing. After all, it’s a reward for all your hard work. What is a point of concern is the excessive obsession for such desirables, extending beyond your financial means. It’s perfectly fine to own the latest smartphone or tablet, just don’t skip a week’s worth of food to get it. A perfect balance of luxury and practicality should suffice to enjoy whatever we can in this modern age.

  5. The scary part with consumerism is..it is a worldwide epidemic…if there’s a cure for it, well maybe if money became nothing more than just a piece of paper.

    These corporations care nothing more but the next quarter report with regards to how much money they got. If nobody is buying their products anymore then they will most likely close shop soon after.

    Another thing I don’t get especially here in this country is the “pataasan ng ihi” and the “high morale”, I don’t get the obsession with that which coincides with this addiction to consumer products. Granted malaki nga sweldo at latest yung iphone…kaso hulugan. lol =))

    Now, it’s hard to make judgments when it comes to desiring the finer things in life, I mean this is why people work in the first place. You don’t live to work, you work to live. You really can’t blame them for doing such things..However, the gluttony of excess that most people practice in which they end up in debt or in other cases ending up dead because they can’t bear the responsibility anymore is one of the things I believe the article wants to drive the point to.

    People desire a simple life and yet their actions contradict what they say and the sad thing about it is you can’t really stop them no matter what you say, or what you try to do because they will still do what they want because they believe they are “entitled” to do so because it is after all their money. I’m not saying everyone should become an amish, with all due respect to these people, it’s just that living within one’s means is the ideal way to live in my opinion and not the other way around.

  6. The pollution of China, is the product of its industrialization. The smoke stacks are producing much Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that goes to the atmosphere. This erode the Ozone layer. Without that ozone layer; Planet Earth will be at the mercy, of the Solar Flares of the Sun… It creates also Acid Rain. And weird weather, and climate…
    The Philippines is not industrialized. However, it is one of the most polluted country in this planet. Look at our rivers, lakes, forests, atmosphere, mountains, sea shore, etc…Human Beings are the only known specie in this Planet Earth, that destroys its Home…

    1. That is why we are reaping the ecological backlash planted by our prosperous industrialized neighbor. I’m not a devotee of the”Global Warming”phenomenon but i’m expecting the worst storms and calamities to come, either the effect of global warming or not..

  7. If that air pollution is reaching US faster in less than six days, what’s more for us in the Philippines which is geographically ‘nearer’ than US? I want to know how much of that air pollution is coming in our shores.

    Then

    1. our government will probably make a study seeking to answer this question in about… NEVER. Habang blue daw ang sky okay lang yan.

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