Working too hard to produce toxic junk

Many of us with jobs spend too many hours at work to maintain what is currently called “work-life balance”. Several commentators say we have only ourselves to blame for being greedy consumers (Clive Hamilton, Ross Gittins). Then there is the global warming perspective – too much consumption of energy.
What about putting these 2 issues together and looking at solutions differently? Why should we all be trapped in a way of life based on decisions to produce goods and services, decisions that are made by a minority. Why should production of everything (transport, housing, food, health, entertainment, communication, clothing, everything) be decided by the people who own the means to produce them, being allowed to make guess what the rest of us can be enticed to spend our money on and make them a profit?
So – what if transport facilities were to be decided not by car manufacturers, petrol companies, ad they had no access to lobby governments or departments of main roads? What if the criteria for developing transport services were reducing fuel consumption and environmental impact, reducing gross expenditure on transport, reducing the labour hours involved in providing transport, sharing available hours of work amongst all workers involved in vehicle production and transport services, reducing the time taken to get places? Then we might come up with policies such as – increased public transport routes based on a wider range of vehicles, and free public transport; vehicle manufacture shifting the balance from cars to energy efficient public transport; rail not roads for freight; car depots for occasional personal use; bicycle facilities; free deliveries of groceries. We might find policies to reduce the need to travel, more children at local schools, help people to live near work.
But we don’t have a collective basis for making these decisions, because “the market” gets to decide, and government works with what resources it can put together after “the market” has its way. We decide to travel by car, because public transport doesn’t go where we want to, when we want to. That’s the market. We don’t have a “market” mechanism that lets us choose between effective public transport and driving. Who is “the market”? Supposedly us, so we are to blame. But “the market” is what we can all be convinced to consume, to pay for, as individuals. It is the opposite of us being able to make sensible, considered decisions in the common interest.


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