Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bag bans go too far? An act of communism? Censorship on the media

Plastic Bag  bans and totalitarian control plus censorship
A golden hammer and sickle inscribed within a red star
Recently in the state of California and a number of other states and countries there is a new fad. That is to ban the bag. Originally this was to stop plastic bag pollution. However do to disputes between the plastic bag industry and environmentalists do to unfair favoring of other bags essentially the issue gradually emerges a war on all "single" use shopping bags.

These years in addition to many political and social problems being discussed around the world. Now the new fad for those with authority and control in the world is. The plastic single use shopping bag. It once started as movement to limit plastic bag distribution now however do to industry concerns has become a issue of socialism in the commercial world. The term "single" use is a misnomer as bags are in fact one of the most practical reusable items around the house and elsewhere. 

There are really some issues about this trend to worry about. It is not just about banning a particularly shopping bag. However it is about the constitutional rights that are being infringed. There are many provisions in many ban ordinances tend to be ideas from a communist government. It seems like the government is going too far with power especially in capitalist "free" economies. Essentially there has been ordinances that require all bags sold be registered with the agencies in charge with the quota on bags sold that need to be given to the municipality or county from time to time for examination.  Usually there has never been a government requirement that a minimum price is charge on merchandize in a private enterprise. In other words a store can hand out free merchandise as it wish after all its the stores own possession not the governments. There has not and should not be a requirement that a cafe/eatery/restaurant not giveaway a free meal as it wishes. What is next have government set the price of clothing artificially higher so people would repair the old worn clothes instead buying new as it costs resources to make new clothes?

It would be hard to imagine if a locality requires all stores including Nordstrom to cap return time to 15 days to prevent unfair competition. This would means that Nordstrom would be forced to give up its famous unlimited return policy by the government and adopt the 15 day policy like every other store in town. We don't live in a backward communist state where the central government essentially owns everything so making bad service mandatory is just a big step backwards. 

The most scary issue is the censorship on the media that is associated with the ban. When the ban starts to go to effect in different areas much of the population of those areas actually oppose and often complain of the problems as a result of the ban. However not only their voices fall on deaf ears, news sources often refuse to publish or show the people who are opposing it and intentionally try to show that the ban has much public support and the population goes along well with the new ordinance and complaints are far and few in between except for bag companies or Save the Bag organizations. This clearly reveals censorship on the news sources just like what happens in totalitarian states such as past years in communist China where the state controls the mass media to avoid revealing the truth and to put the governments official's decision in constant false positive view. This also gets the public or the politicians to accept moving forward with the plans which would result in progressively tougher measures. To get an example of this one easily go to a major new website of an area that started the bag ban. Type grocery bag ban and read the article and compare it with the comments after the article. You will be guaranteed to find up to hundreds of comments saying that shopping has been made horrible and people are running out of bags for trash, pet cleanup, and many household purposes. Yet the article would say most people are happy. Also mainstream media also seem forbidden to show negative consequences of the bag ban often highlighted in parts of news sources by environmental studies reports showing that plastic waste has actually skyrocketed after the bag ban as recycling efforts go out the window as funding to improve bag recycling get withdrawn with the passage of bag bans also the population is buying larger thicker bags when they found they have to use plastic bags for trash and many other purposes that store bags once sufficed. In the end garbage dumps are still filled with plastic bags but now thicker and harder to decompose.

In stores buy their items and sell them at the price they set according to market needs as well as covering their stores expenditures while turning up a profit. Therefore aside from taxes government should not be there to set minimum pricing on store products. Though that's what a number of cities with bag bans decide to do. In those places stores would actually need to register their bags with the city so the city can decide the pricing and count how many they sold. This is completely overstepping control in a capitalist world. A much  more appropriate method in a free economy is to reward citizens, manufactures, and corporations for good behavior such as subsidizing the study and manufacture of real environmentally safe and recyclable plastic or plastic replacing products and giving citizens money for bring them in for recycling or composting. It is not just about bags but also many of the food containers that hold food to be sold at supermarkets. These are really harmful to health and are single use only they are the real landfill clutters. Even the photos used to argue the plastic bag nightmare situation shows very little actual plastic bags compared to the mountains of random garbage of all sorts. Therefore to have any positive environment impact all these products should be considered in the environmental plan not just bags. Rewards can do wonders. Think about how the environment and human health can improve if food and drink containers are made biosafe and people actually bring them back for proper composting. Homeless people could be put to work just like how they do collecting cans and bottles for recycling refund. Streets would be much cleaner and landfills would be less crowded and pristine environment will be spared all while keeping the fundamentals of a free economy and preserving the rights of the people.

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