Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Story of Broke - a critique


I have written to-day, in the post below,  on this blog about the Story of Broke and, over at Miss Eagle's Garage Sale there is this post and this post.  My blogging friend, Leanne, from across The Ditch who writes at Hazeltree Farm has left a comment here.  Leanne's comment is a brief critique of the Story of Broke and the shortcomings Leanne sees in it.  Annie Leonard's work is brilliant - in its own context.  When applying its concepts outside its home country of the United States of America, we must consider our own individual contexts for the kernel of Annie's stories to have impact internationally.  The Story of Stuff ran well across the globe because so many of us in developed economies are consumers busily consuming.  The Story of Broke is about economics - and everywhere is not identical to the USA.  Certainly, I believe I can confidently say that Australia, Canada and New Zealand are not.  So here are Leanne's points.....

As much as I liked the Story of Stuff, I couldn't help but see that the Story of Broke was full of holes. It didn't even cover the whole bubble economy that has occurred on a lesser level since the 1940s and spiralled since the 1980s, and completely failed to mention, for example, that US citizens (even ordinary ones) pay much lower rates of tax than pretty much any other developed country.   
It did, accurately, mention the issue of military spending, unbalanced taxation, lobbying etc., but from what I can see, focusing on only half the story isn't really accurate reporting. The ordinary Joes and Janes of the US (just like here and in Australia) also bought up big, went into debt, and supported the bubble we're now seeing crash all over.  
We can't entirely blame the wealthiest 1%, even though that seems like a convenient thing to do. We've all been asleep at the wheel - or most of us have - and now is payment time.  
I think this was just a nice, glossy, "let's blame the system" presentation. It's nice to blame others, and "the system", but at some point we also have to point the finger at ourselves too.


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