Montana Politics

A good time for alternatives

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Call me the Lizard of intelligent Discontent, but even in the midst of the legislative session I can’t keep my mind completely in Montana. It’s quite obvious now that China is experiencing serious inflation. That’s not surprising, and is a natural result of their fast-growing economy. But I also think it’s a good opportunity to review our personal relationships with China.

Companies are increasingly sourcing products to countries other than China. So, the ubiquitous ‘made in China’ label that dominated all product for several years may well become a bit more varied in the future, and that is a great chance for some reasoned consuming.

Obviously, buying used products where possible is ideal as far as saving money and reducing waste in the economy, and buying domestic products provides greater assurance as to labor and environmental standards. If you must import, however, it pays to look at where products are sourced.

Increasingly, non-Chinese imports tend to come from Vietnam, which is if anything less politically free than China. Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia are all better (if still imperfect) options, and products can often be found manufactured in those countries. I am personally finding that many products can be found that are manufactured in Brazil. Brazil is certainly not without problems, a massive wealth imbalance being one of them, but it is also one of the nations most concerned with corporate responsibility and with a government that is continuing to make efforts to improve the lives of its poorest people, rather than relegating them to the countryside like in China.

As China’s inflation drives up prices and increases the competitiveness of other countries, it’s important to keep in mind that American consumer dollars can go a long way in determining the success of a nation, and so in some way when you choose what shoes to buy, you can take part in choosing which model of national governance is more globally successful. Or you can grab whatever is cheapest and not think about it. Nothing bad has ever come of that.

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The Polish Wolf

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  • At the rally in Helena yesterday, the architect from Billings (someone help me with his name?) reminded us how important adaptively re-using existing structures and funding historic preservation is to communities.

    Building an oil pipeline from the rapacious tarsands to Port Arthur, Texas where mercury laden crude will be shipped to China only to precipitate heavy metals over the Pacific Ocean strikes me as criminal.

    Thank you for your astute observations, Mr. Pogreba.

    • Indeed. We have to generally learn to live with less, but in the short term we can try to reward those countries that develop more sustainably, in terms of both environmental and human rights. Oil is obviously never clean, but Petrobras is a big reason I bring up Brazil – it is often mentioned as one of the most socially responsible oil companies in the world, as well as being the largest company headquartered in the Southern hemisphere.

  • That used to happen to me all that the time, Mar. About a month ago, I started a daily journal that only recorded where I spent my time each day and updated it a couple of times a day. It only took me a week to realize the reason I wasnt getting as much writing done as I wanted to was as I was browsing the Internet while eating breakfast, which lead to even more senseless browsing, and eventually getting around to real work sometime after lunch.Once I eliminated that the Internet from my breakfast routine, Ive gotten right down to writing just about every single day.Maybe try it?Reply

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