Consumer or Green Citizen?

Robert Reich’s ‘Divided Mind’

Robert Reich was the guest on NPR’s All Things Considered a few days ago. The occasion was the release of his new book, ‘Supercapitalism’. His point, about the divided mind of the consumer and citizen really caught my attention. We are all two people, according to him. A consumer at the mercy of capitalism, and a citizen at the service of democracy. The consumer has taken over, and the citizen is no longer doing its job. We need to reevaluate our priorities and work on strengthening our democracy.

The challenges of being a good green citizen

This whole business of consumer versus citizen takes a special significance in the current environmental battle. Robert Reich made the following argument, which I had also made earlier in my blog. You may be willing to take all the steps to become a good green citizen, but how do you know that you are not going to be just one amongst a small minority? In which case, you run the risk of making all these sacrifices for nothing. In the absence of a federated effort amongst citizens, that lets you know that we are all in it together, nothing is going to change, you have very little incentive to take action.

The power of green networks

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the power of small acts and individual action. I even called Rosa Parks to the rescue. I was trying to convince myself that whatever I do, no matter how small, does matter. Robert Reich called my bluff. The real truth is, I am a consumer first, and something is going to have to happen at the collective level, in order for the green citizen in me to spring into real action. Maybe all the green social networks are on to something, after all?


Post time: 07-30-2017