Saturday, August 13, 2016

Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers (2003)

An award winning Swedish documentary film on consumerism and globalization, created by director Erik Gandini and editor Johan Söderberg.

It looks at the arguments for capitalism and technology, such as greater efficiency, more time and less work, and argues that these are not being fulfilled, and they never will be.

The film is about our world, the modern civilisation that eats more than needed. It's not very much information that is physically showed, it is the pictures in symbiosis with music that is the real strength in this flick. The film leans towards anarcho-primitivist ideology and argues for a simple and fulfilling life.

To add comment to the film, I believe we cannot return to a pre-industrial, agrarian or hunter gather society that is referenced in the film via John Zerzan. . Millions will die if we do. Of course millions are already dying if we don't. It is for this reason that the psychosis of consumption based capitalism depicted in this film is just that much more insane. It is a system where profit and the accumulation of capital are the goals of life and the entire global state and social apparatuses are structured toward those ends.

At the same time these apparatuses are depleting the life support system for the entire planet at an alarming rate when we consider that life has existed on earth for billions of years. It really is crazy if we understand that the estimated number of the Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.

The current extinction rate is approximately 100 extinctions per million species per year, or 1,000 times higher than natural background rates. We have barely scratched the surface for understanding how this planet works. The system that brings about this destruction is also the system that drives everything from our homes to how we eat. Accordingly we are trapped, nourished by the disease so to speak.

We are constantly congratulating ourselves on the extent of human knowledge, as promises of development are consistently tied to the present economic system. We are trapped unless we can peacefully alter the system to such a degree that sustainability is assured. This is the challenge of the next century.

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