20 posts categorized "consumerism"

September 06, 2008

Young Voters influenced by Negative Political Ads

Noway Negative attack ads have a powerful impact on younger voters, a recent study published by the Journal of Consumer Research has found.

Researchers from Notre Dame and the University of Texas at Dallas used real advertisements from the 2004 US presidential election to show that, although negative political ads are explicitly disliked, they have a powerful impact on voters’ mindsets that positive ads do not – and the potential to change preference and behavior in ways that benefit the party running the attack ads.

After viewing an ad that attacked their favored candidate, about 14 percent of the voters “dug in their heels” and indicated stronger support for their favored candidate. At the same time, another 14 percent of the young voters viewing that same attack ad were influenced by the ad’s content to weaken their support for their preferred candidate and to switch their support to the party conducting the attack ads. Viewing positive ads did not lead to significant voter movement.

July 03, 2008

Boston College's Juliet Schor and Prasannan Parthasarathi on the need for broad-based economic reforms

LandscapeFrom The Boston Globe, April 27, 2008:

"The nation can no longer sustain the same old policies that enrich the energy giants, agribusinesses, and other transnationals who bear a large part of the responsibility for the current mess.

"We need broad-based reforms that cushion higher prices for basic needs by putting more purchasing power into lower-income hands, expand secure access to sustainable food sources, and provide climate-friendly power and transport. That requires egalitarian policies, bottom-up power, and sustainable methods of production.

"The sooner we get on the path to this inevitable transition, the easier, and fairer, the process of adjusting prices will be."

June 13, 2008

Swaying Joe Public: From Widgets to Votes

After watching this excerpt from The Corporation, I couldn't help but wonder whether corporate-style buzz marketing techniques are used to influence voters. For example, are people hired to carry on casual conversations on buses and subways about how fabulous a particular candidate is, in the hope of influencing Joe Public to vote a particular way?  It's an interesting question -- and one that would make a fabulous documentary, don't you think?

By the way, if you haven't seen The Corporation, rent, borrow, or purchase a copy this weekend. It's an absolute must-see (unless, of course, you prefer to remain comfortably numb).

May 12, 2007

What the Mom Working at WalMart Really Wants for Mother's Day

Woman14 leading women's groups in the U.S. have joined with WakeupWalmart.com to launch the
Moms Deserve Better Than Wal-Mart Campaign.

Here's the campaign pledge:

I, _____________, pledge not to buy a Mother's Day gift from Wal-Mart unless Wal-Mart promises to pay a living wage, provide affordable health care, and end its anti-family policies that hurt all women, especially moms, who work at Wal-Mart.
This year, until Wal-Mart changes for the better, I promise to
"Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart"

Christian Science Monitor Review of The Wal-Mart Effect by Fast Company Editor Charles Fishman: "Today, when Wal-Mart negotiates with suppliers, it tends to get its way. The firm has an obsession, Fishman reports, 'almost a corporate fetish' with the kind of cost- and price-cutting that have made Wal-Mart a consumer magnet....Dangling the prospect of volume sales, it essentially gets companies hooked....Wal-mart is perhaps a perfect fit for the culture that spawned it - one that simultaneously values frugality and loves to consume."

WalMart Watch: "Our mission is to persuade Wal-Mart to assume its leadership role as America's largest corporation and enact positive change."

January 26, 2007

Think Green on Valentine's Day

Noway_1Valentine's Day is just a little over two weeks' away, so this might not be a bad time to let your Valentine know that it would be okay to skip the over-hyped and over-packaged Valentine's merchandise in favor of something a little more meaningful and a whole lot less expensive: perhaps dinner out at your favorite local restaurant, a treasure from your favorite second-hand store, a donation to a publication or project or cause or charity that makes his/her heart beat faster, or simply the gift of spending time together. Of course, this assumes that you and your beloved are on the same wavelength when it comes to environmental issues. But then again, if Mr. or Ms. So-Called Right couldn't care less about environmental issues, he or she may not even be your Valentine by Valentine's Day.

Love, Factually
The Green Guide: Have a Heart -- How to Have a Valentine's Day with a Conscience
A Not So Golden Gift for Valentine's Day
Activists Target Chocolate, Gold on Valentine's Day

January 21, 2007

The Toronto Star's Series on Poverty

The Toronto Star's excellent series on poverty continued today with a portrait of what living on $32,000 as a family of five in Toronto actually means in terms of quality of life. It's easy to forget that not everyone enjoys the privileged lifestyle that is all-too-often portrayed as being universal.

The series starts here.

January 01, 2007

Andrea Goes Unshopping

PiggybankunshoppingI've also been meaning to post about what my friend Andrea is doing on the anti-consumerism front. I guess I could file this one under "One Piggybank on a Leash."

December 19, 2006

Inventing Necessities

The list of things we can't live without is longer today than it was ten years ago, thanks to the inclusion of such recent "essentials" as the cell phone, high-speed Internet, flat-screen TV, and the iPod. According to Pew Research, who just released a study on this subject:

The old adage proclaims that "necessity is the mother of invention." These findings serve as a reminder that the opposite is also true: invention is the mother of necessity. Throughout human history, from the wheel to the computer, previously unimaginable inventions have created their own demand, and eventually their own need.

It's no wonder little kids have such a hard time distinguishing between "wants" and "needs" at this time of year. The lines have become pretty blurred for grownups, too.

Original comments from Blogger:


Berlynn said...
Just found you through your post at P'n'P. And a good find it is!

My 13 y.o. boy experiences great challenges between wants and needs. The social pressures to have this video game or that contraption are so huge it becomes a want. How to help him differentiate has been equally challenging!

My 15 y.o. girl gets it, is anti-consumerist, shops second-hand, lives simply, simply lives. How did that happen?

Thanks for the thoughts.

December 19, 2006 11:08 AM
Ann D said...
Berlynn, I love your blog! It's great to have you drop by. I have four kids and they're all so different when it comes to money/stuff. However, I've seen HUGE progress with one of our kids. He just gave HIS COMPUTER away to someone. I was floored. Amazing how kids "evolve." :-)

December 19, 2006 1:05 PM

December 18, 2006

Gifts for People Who Want to Change the World

Al Gore's video An Inconvenient Truth.

A subscription to a magazine that supports a cause he or she believes in (see this list for some initial inspiration).

A membership in an association that is making a difference in the world or in your own backyard.

Books that talk about the power of possibility and the difference one person can make in the world (this bookstore in Vermont has some interesting picks).

Fair-trade goods (Canadian or American) or goods that help to raise funds for a charity.

The Mothers Acting Up calendar.

Make a donation through Just Give.org or buy a Canada Helps.org Gift Card.

Treasures you've unearthed in a second-hand bookstore, an antique store, or maybe even your own basement. Who says second-hand is second-best? (Some of my favorite things have been pre-owned and pre-loved by other people.)

One of these ideas from Buy Nothing Day's Guide to an Alternative Christmas.

The gift of your time.

Original Comments from Blogger:


April Reign (aka Debra) said...
Don't forget livestock!


December 18, 2006 3:31 PM
Ann D said...
That's a great addition, April. My church bought a cow for an orphanage in the Hondoras. They hope to buy another cow each year as part of their project withFriends of Honduran Children. (They're also building a home for orphans.)

December 18, 2006 6:14 PM

December 14, 2006

Why This Blog?

Blame it on The Current and their ability to rev me up more than any blend of coffee I've ever tried. Or the crazy-making behavior of my local MP. Or the fact that there seem to be so many things in the world that need fixing, starting with Canada. Or all of the above.

You see, lately I've found myself becoming more and more preoccupied with current events and driven -- okay, obsessed -- with blogging about things that are unfair, unjust, or just plain wrong. The thing is, a lot of those issues seemed a little out of place in a pregnancy and parenting blog. (Or at least they did to me. My ever-patient readers hadn't objected -- yet.) So I decided it was time to move my posts about politics, social justice, consumerism, women's rights, and some of the other issues that might not necessarily be of interest to the readers of my other blog over here.

There's still likely to be some crossover, of course. Consumerism is a parenting issue. Women's rights are a mother's issue. And social justice is everyone's issue. But I won't feel quite so guilty if I go on and on and on about those issues in this blog because that's what this blog is all about.

Original comments from Blogger:


kyra said...
right on, ann! i love the idea. you know, lately i've been wondering what i'm blogging for. i've been reading about people making small but powerful changes in their lives that lead to large and powerful changes in the lives of those MUCH less fortunate and i've been wondering what i can do. what can i do? i just saw Blood Diamond at the theaters and while it was a thrill to be out at night to see a VERY well done movie play in the actual theaters, the subject matter was so upsetting, i came home feeling shaken. it was important to see it, no doubt. but the question of what can i do about things that are wrong and unjust and how can i help is really on my mind tonight.

December 15, 2006 8:49 PM
Ann D said...

Kyra -

How fabulous that the first comment in the new blog is from you and that you've been thinking the same kinds of thoughts that I've been thinking. We truly are kindred spirits.