Last night I went to watch a documentary on globalisation called ‘The Take’. The viewing was organised at the Labia by a group of people called ‘While you were sleeping’ (I see what they’re trying to say with the name and I like it) which tries to raise awareness of issues, such as Globalisation, amongst us Capetonians. I think it’s an admirable objective and I will keep you informed of future events which they organise.
As for the documentary that I watched, it took a look at the worker cooperatives which have taken over approximately 200 factories in Argentina since the economy crashed a few years ago. They reopen the factory and run it on a democratic system (one worker, one vote) and because there are no inflated salaries and fancy cars to eat into the profits, they are able to run them profitably. As a member of the cooperative they take pride in their work and an interest in the well being of the whole business and all their fellow workers. They also contribute to the community where the factory is based. It was very interesting and there are many aspects and implications which can’t be covered in one and a half hours, but it gets you thinking.
This documentary is not my first exposure to Globalisation, it’s actually a pet topic of mine. It seems to me the biggest challenge is changing consumer behaviour. If we can educate consumers to understand the impact of their buying decisions and take on responsibility and sometimes make a sacrifice to support or boycott companies or products in order to make an impact for a greater good, then we will have a hope of softening the disastrous consequences of globalisation whilst taking advantage of the benefits it might bring.
This ‘group psychology’ of not taking responsibility for things because we are an anonymous member of a group, whether it be ‘consumers’ or ‘the public’ or ‘the audience’, is a very disempowering phenomenon. Think of saving electricty during the Western Cape power crises we are currently (get it?) experiencing, how many people actually make a concerted effort to save electricity? Most people believe that switching off their geyser during the day or other saving measures are a waste of time because it’s such small amount in the big picture. Yet every one of them/us knows that if everyone made that little effort/saving it would amount to a substantial saving and could avert more ‘load shedding’. This priciple applies to so many things, and consumerism is one of them. What’s the solution? I don’t know, but I’m working on it so watch this space 😉