Tuesday, October 6, 2009

With Respect to Labor Unions

I am named after my great uncle, Mike Misenti, who worked and fought? his way from humble beginnings as a mason to President of the Building Trades Union, and later President of their Pension Fund, in the State of Connecticut.

Mike Misenti didn't care what "his folks" were building, as long as they were building. That is my major complaint with Labor Unions, their need to self-perpetuate, and offer blind loyalty and complicity with less than optimal corporations/contractors and the latters’ self-interested profit motivated projects and industries that are sometimes, if not often, counter-productive to social/environmental goals...

Don't get me wrong, I consider the interests of workers of all "stripes" and the poor to be of the utmost importance. However, in this era of post-peak oil, climate change, inequality and the tensions that such brings, and the perception of hopelessness that are held by and for youth and for the children, it is necessary that we allocate scarce resources in the most optimal ways and means possible.

Mike Sar has pointed out the decline in airline travel. This trend will not only continue, we should employ all direct and indirect actions that we can to hasten such a decline.

We must recognize the fossil fuel age and the subsequent overshoot in automobile and airplane use as a historical exception that must be phased into perspective.

If we want to conserve precious fossil fuels for priority uses such as solar assisted heating, cooking, electricity generation, cooling, agricultural inputs, durable products, necessary industrial processes, inter-community and inter-regional transport within a paradigm of relocalization for all communities and regions (moving towards self-sufficiency), and preserve the luxury and convenience of occasional automobile and airplane travel in a manner that adjusts for economic disruption, then we must plan and implement.

We need to see the study and practice of Resource and Regional Planning beyond the historical complicity, and at best mitigation of, the irrational Capitalist growth paradigm that does not recognize and/or respect a finite planet whose limits that we are fast approaching. We must enter an era of Resource Allocation based on the explicit principles of meeting human needs, inclusion, equity, humanity, quality of life, environmental/public health and wellness, sustainability, economic democracy, and peace.

The key to a bountiful green building economy is the reversal of the
thirty, fifty, one hundred year trend of sprawl development in the
United States.

By rebuilding neighborhoods and reallocating goods and services to
those renovated neighborhoods (made walkable, meaning that the great
majority of Americans will be able to get what they need within
walking distance of their homes), we can succeed.

Such a tremendous dedication of resources will be a boom to the
building trades and will create the effect of reducing automobile
usage by 80% in the next 20 to 40 years. Neighborhood commercial,
community and work/telecommute centers will be centrally placed in
what are now alienating, automobile dependent, strictly residential
areas, alleviating the problems associated with post-peak oil and
climate change and bringing with it the quality of life associated
with communities and neighborhoods, that most individuals and
families currently lack.

If we do this, we can take the opportunity to retrofit for
weatherization, passive solar design (heating and cooling),
electronic environmental controls, solar assisted hot water
applications, limited PV and wind applications, etc.

Also, if done correctly, we can make changes in ownership
arrangements that are much more fair and just, and work towards an
equitable distribution of wealth among neighborhoods.

It is important that we fundamentally reassess our economic system
and replace the current economic/finance system with one that targets
the needs of the current residents, and not, for-profit speculation.

Because of the terrible inflation of real and capital assets that is
a product of the speculative modus operandi of the Capitalist system,
it will be fundamentally necessary to reform our economic/financial
system by consolidating private (while rededicating them as
quasi-public) real and capital assets and equity and writing way down
the “market value” of those assets.

After completing that awesome task, we could proceed with a “plan and implement” economy dedicated to meeting the needs of the indigenous populations of all communities: inclusion, humanity, equity, quality of life, environmental/public health and wellness, sustainability,
and peace.

Mike Morin
Eugene, OR
(541) 343-3808

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