Friday, January 27, 2006

Michael Moore ...and local non-satiation disease

I decided to write more often in this blogg, because I have been so lazy in the past and afterall it's not such a big of a deal to write a couple of words a day/week/ year. There are of course constraints. Two of the biggest are time and inspiration which can definitely shape your nature and frequency of the blogg.
But, ceteris paribus, let's talk about movies. Again...:)
Just saw the one called "Bowling for Columbine" another M Moore creation..:)
Of course you all know who MM is (..the guy with Fahrenheit 9/11) right?
Well this documentary is on the same page. The questions are different and the discussion goes to more domestic US issues but the methods are the same. Columbine is a high school in a classic Colorado small suburbia, where two high school teenagers opened fire on their class/school mates and professors. The outcome was tragic: twelve fellow students and a teacher dead, as well as twenty-four wounded. After the consummation of this rampage the two students committed suicide. It is considered to be the deadliest school shooting, and the second deadliest attack on a school in US History. Another incident happened in Michigan where a six year old boy killed a six-year old girl at school without knowing exactly the consequences of his actions.
The question MM raises is why there is so much violence in the US comparing with other countries? Well besides what he says in the film, I would like to comment on it by saying that it could probably be explained by differences:
- in the legislation (gun control)--how many, and how hard it is to get a gun--
- social welfare and distributional issues (a higher discrepancy between different social classes/income/social status yielding a high difference in a Gini coefficient)
- external influences (media, politicians, commercials, music etc) which obviously have a huge interest in increasing our consumption, creating a market in our heads for guns and other self-protecting means.
Summarizing these three factors I think you can explain variations across countries. Of course the second amendment here in the US and a tradition in some parts of the country for keeping guns around the house can lead to formation and consolidation of movements like the NRA, but after all, why do we actually need guns around our house and most importantly why do we need so many and so powerful? I really don't think that an assault weapons are best suited to protect homes. After all, there are no hoards of invaders looking forward to breech in. And here the brainwashing power of the media comes into play and it is quite unfortunate that people actually believe in it...when logically interests and higher stakes come into play, bending the truth towards their own advantage.
Bottom line: I liked the film, although a bit tragic...but that's reality. A wake up call. Should it be like this? Yes, it probably will be like this. Why? Because of the public policy and the incentives that it gives. After all, this is the land of the free and the home of the braves, where even the biggest environmentalists are driving SUVs... Why? Because we are all suffering from the same Walrasian non-satiation disease and everything is making us eager to consume even more... Till when? We will have to see that...but the limits can be seen and will become obvious in 10-15 years.
Till then, happy consuming!:)

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