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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Boycott

This great experiment called America affords all people two venues by which to effect change.

One method is through the democratic voting process. The problem here is that the majority rules, and often times the majority is wrong. This assertion has been proven repeatedly, at times to the great detriment of society as a whole. So in this method, the will of the some is forced on the will of others. There are winners and there are losers.

The other method is through the market voting process. You buy what you want, irrespective of what the majority wants. Hence you vote by choosing where to spend your money. Interestingly, in this system you can also vote by choosing where not to spend your money. Here everyone is a winner.

There are quite a number of residents that voted in the election to stop unbridled commercialization running amok over the island. We lost.

But now we can vote in the marketplace to thwart that very same special interest avalanche.

What would happen if the year-round residents stopped patronizing local businesses? You know, mostly the same interests that want unrestrained growth, that were instrumental through their political tentacles in throwing the non-commercial residents under the proverbial bus through suffocating taxation and picking up the tab for unneeded infrastructure projects and their consequences? Maybe we missed it, but did ANY business say NO to the STRP, or NO to the raiding of the massive reserves, or NO to those blustering lights or NO to having the residents pick up the tab for asbestos cleanup or NO to … ? Well?

With practically zero effort, limit on-island purchases to health care (except for the defrauding practitioner noted on this blog), to Publix/Walgreens and the two gas stations. Businesses that are anti-syndicate can claim so publicly (that would be a first), and therefore immune from the boycott. For everything else, go off island … heck, there is a super Walmart 5 minutes from the Jolley Bridge, there is KGB pizza 5 minutes further up (really run by former KGB operatives) and a bodega with near-Miami quality/price/tasting pan con bistec, and many more interesting and palatable non-turista enterprises.

Would this boycott work? Of course – if only it were to be carried out by more than one person. Follow the money to ascertain how such an action would bring forth the needed market pressures and thereby effect political change.

Will this boycott work? Of course not, simply because it will take more than one person boycotting for there to be any effect. Recent history has shown that it is just easier to complain, or accept defeat, or find doing something (in this case doing nothing) inconvenient, or leaving it up to someone else to do something.

So let’s end this sanguine idea with a true story. For years a resident had been patronizing a local business. Every week this good citizen spent approximately $20 entirely on discretionary goods. After all, it was the community thing to do. During the “heat” of the election – as if there was every any doubt as to the outcome, right? – very polite discussions ensued between the now boycotter and the now boycotted. “But the sewer is unneeded, it’s costly even well beyond the estimates, and will do more harm to the environment!” decried the former. “But the sewer program is good for business, and that is what counts because what is good for business is good for America!” replied the latter. So it went for weeks until the landslide. The boycotter stopped going to the establishment but did return one day to cash in some gift certificates. “Hey, haven’t seen you around for a long time” complained the boycotted, going on to ask “What’s wrong?” “Can’t afford to come here anymore, I have to start saving for that $25,000 charge coming soon thanks to you and your colleagues” retorted the boycotter. And with his usual elitism, the boycotted replied, “Don’t worry, your property value will go up!”

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" dear old Dr. Einstein was fond of repeating.

Perhaps a boycott would curtail the infinite so as to prevent STRP II (toll on bridge), STRP III (creating a fire district not subjected to the cap as foretold pre-election by the loosing side and poo-pooed pre-election by the winners) and STRP IV (underground power lines).

If anyone needs anything from Walmart send an email.

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