Archive for the ‘Adbusters’ Category

Adbusters – USA

Posted: April 4, 2011 in Adbusters

Founder of Adbusters on CNN

Posted: April 4, 2011 in Adbusters

Barefoot Economics

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Adbusters, world

It’s time for economists to start getting dirty.

From an interview with Manfred Max-Neef on Democracy Now!. Manfred Max-Neef is an acclaimed Chilean economist and a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award. He is the author of From the Outside Looking in: Experiences in Barefoot Economics and the upcoming Economics Unmasked: From Power and Greed to Compassion and the Common Good.



I worked for about ten years in areas of extreme poverty in the Sierras, in the jungle and urban areas of Latin America. And one day at the beginning of that period I found myself in an Indian village in the Sierra in Peru. It was an ugly day. It had been raining all day. And I was standing in the slum. And across from me, a guy was standing in the mud – not in the slum, in the mud. He was a short guy … thin, hungry, jobless, five kids, a wife and a grandmother. And I was the fine economist from Berkeley. As we looked at each other, I suddenly realized that I had nothing coherent to say to that man in those circumstances, that my whole language as an economist was absolutely useless. Should I tell him that he should be happy because the GDP had grown five percent or something? Everything felt absurd. Economists study and analyze poverty in their nice offices, they have all the statistics, they make all the models and are convinced they know everything. But they don’t understand poverty.

I live in the south of Chile in the deep south. And that area is known for its milk production. Top technologically, and in every way the best there is. A few months ago I was in a hotel there for breakfast, and there were these little butter things. I looked at one. It was butter from New Zealand. And I thought, isn’t that crazy? Why? The answer is because economists don’t know how to calculate true costs. To bring butter from 10,000 kilometers to a place where you already make the best butter, under the argument that it is cheaper, is a colossal stupidity. They don’t take into consideration the environmental impact of 10,000 kilometers of transport. And part of the reason it’s cheaper is because it’s subsidized. So it’s clearly a case in which the prices do not tell the truth. It’s all tricks. And those tricks do colossal harm. If you bring consumption closer to production, you will eat better, you will have better food, you will know where it comes from and you may even know the person who produces it. You will humanize consumption. But the way economics is practiced today is totally dehumanized.

We need cultured economists, economists who know the history, where the ideas come from, how the ideas originated, who did what; an economics that understands itself very clearly as a subsystem of the larger system of the biosphere. Today’s economists know nothing about ecosystems, nothing about thermodynamics, nothing about biodiversity – they are totally ignorant in those respects. And I don’t see what harm it would do to an economist to know that if the beasts and nature disappear, he would disappear as well because there wouldn’t be food to eat. But today’s economists don’t know that we depend absolutely on nature. For them, nature is a subsystem of our economy. It’s absolutely crazy!

La Cuarta Guerra Mundial

Posted: January 10, 2011 in 2012, Adbusters

La cuarta guerra mundial es un documental independiente desde la perspectiva del movimiento antiglobalización, que conceptualiza sobre la denominada “cuarta guerra mundial”, identificada en supuesta existencia de un conflicto entre los ciudadanos y el poderinstituido, representado este en los gobiernos en conjunto con algunas oligarquías.

Imágenes e historias desde MéxicoArgentinaSudáfricaCanadáItalia, los Territorios PalestinosCoreaIsrael son mostradas como evidencia. Fusiona imágenes del activismo popular, del antimilitarismo y del activismo ideológico de inspiración izquierdista.

The driving energy of modern man has come from his nervous will, his intellectual daring.

Robert Heilbroner 31 Dec 2010Photo taken by the Hubble Telescope – Nasa

ith the full spectacle of the human prospect before us, the spirit quails and the will falters. We find ourselves pressed to the very limit of our personal capacities, not alone in summoning up the courage to look squarely at the dimensions of the impending predicament, but in finding words that can offer some plausible relief in a situation so bleak. There is now nowhere to turn other than to those private beliefs and disbeliefs that guide each of us through life …

At this late juncture I have no intention of sounding a call for moral awakening or for social action on some unrealistic scale. Yet, I do not intend to condone, much less to urge, an attitude of passive resignation, or a relegation of the human prospect to the realm of things that we choose not to think about. Avoidable evil remains, as it always will, an enemy that can be defeated; and the fact that the collective destiny of man portends unavoidable travail is no reason and cannot be tolerated as an excuse, for doing nothing. This general admonition applies in particular to the intellectual elements of Western nations whose privileged role as sentries for society takes on a special importance in the face of things as we now see them. It is their task not only to prepare their fellow citizens for the sacrifices that will be required of them but to take the lead in seeking to redefine the legitimate boundaries of power and the permissible sanctuaries of freedom, for a future in which the exercise of power must inevitably increase and many present areas of freedom, especially in economic life, be curtailed.

Let me therefore put these last words in a somewhat more “positive” frame, offsetting to some degree the bleakness of our prospect, without violating the facts or spirit of our inquiry. Here I must begin by stressing for one last time an essential fact. The human prospect is not an irrevocable death sentence. It is not an inevitable doomsday toward which we are headed, although the risk of enormous catastrophes exists. The prospect is better viewed as a formidable array of challenges that must be overcome before human survival is assured, before we can move beyond doomsday. These challenges can be overcome – by the saving intervention of nature if not by the wisdom and foresight of man. The death sentence is therefore better viewed as a contingent life sentence – one that will permit the continuance of human society, but only on a basis very different from that of the present and probably only after much suffering during the period of transition.

What sort of society might eventually emerge? As I have said more than once, I believe the long-term solution requires nothing less than the gradual abandonment of the lethal techniques, the uncongenial lifeways and the dangerous mentality of industrial civilization itself. The dimensions of such a transformation into a “postindustrial” society have already been touched upon and cannot be greatly elaborated here: in all probability the extent and ramifications of change are as unforeseeable from our contemporary vantage point as present-day society would have been unimaginable to a speculative observer a thousand years ago.

Yet I think a few elements of the society of the postindustrial era can be discerned. Although we cannot know on what technical foundation it will rest, we can be certain that many of the accompaniments of an industrial order must be absent. To repeat once again what we have already said, the societal view of production and consumption must stress parsimonious, not prodigal, attitudes. Resource-consuming and heat-generating processes must be regarded as necessary evils, not as social triumphs, to be relegated to as small a portion of economic life as possible. This implies a sweeping reorganization of the mode of production in ways that cannot be foretold, but that would seem to imply the end of the giant factory, the huge office, perhaps of the urban complex.

What values and ways of thought would be congenial to such a radical reordering of things we also cannot know, but it is likely that the ethos of “science,” so intimately linked with industrial application, would play a much reduced role. In the same way, it seems probable that a true postindustrial society would witness the waning of the work ethic that is also intimately entwined with our industrial society. As one critic has pointed out, even Marx, despite his bitter denunciation of the alienating effects of labor in a capitalist milieu, placed his faith in the presumed “liberating” effects of labor in a socialist society, and did not consider it a “terrible secret” that even the most creative work may be only “a neurotic activity that diverts the mind from the diminution of time and the approach of death.”

It is therefore possible that a postindustrial society would also turn in the direction of many preindustrial societies: toward the exploration of inner states of experience rather than the outer world of fact and material accomplishment. Tradition and ritual, the pillars of life in virtually all societies other than those of an industrial character, would probably once again assert their ancient claims as the guide to and solace for life. The struggle for individual achievement, especially for material ends, is likely to give way to the acceptance of communally organized and ordained roles.

This is by no means an effort to portray a future utopia. On the contrary, many of these possible attributes of a postindustrial society are deeply repugnant to my twentieth-century temper as well as incompatible with my most treasured privileges. The search for scientific knowledge, the delight in intellectual heresy, the freedom to order one’s life as one pleases, are not likely to be easily contained within the tradition-oriented, static society I have depicted. To a very great degree, the public must take precedence over the private – an aim to which it is easy to give lip service in the abstract but difficult for someone used to the pleasures of political, social and intellectual freedom to accept in fact.

These are all necessarily prophetic speculations, offered more in the spirit of providing some vision of the future, however misty, than as a set of predictions to be “rigorously” examined. In these half-blind groupings there is, however, one element in which we can place credence, although it offers uncertainty as well as hope. This is our knowledge that some human societies have existed for millennia, and that others can probably exist for future millennia, in a continuous rhythm of birth and coming of age and death, without pressing toward those dangerous ecological limits, or engendering those dangerous social tensions, that threaten present-day “advanced” societies. In our discovery of “primitive” cultures, living out their timeless histories, we may have found the single most important object lesson for future man.

What we do not know, but can only hope, is that future man can rediscover the self-renewing vitality of primitive culture without reverting to its levels of ignorance and cruel anxiety. It may be the sad lesson of the future that no civilization is without its pervasive “malaise,” each expressing in its own way the ineradicable fears of the only animal that contemplates its own death, but at least the human activities expressing that malaise need not, as is the case in our time, threaten the continuance of life itself.

All this goes, perhaps, beyond speculation to fantasy. But something more substantial than speculation or fantasy is needed to sustain men through the long trials ahead. For the driving energy of modern man has come from his Promethean spirit, his nervous will, his intellectual daring. It is this spirit that has enabled him to work miracles, above all to subjugate nature to his will, and to create societies designed to free man from his animal bondage.

Some of the Promethean spirit may still serve us in good stead in the years of transition. But it is not a spirit that conforms easily with the shape of future society as I have imagined it; worse, within that impatient spirit lurks one final danger for the years during which we much watch the approach of an unwanted future. This is the danger that can be glimpsed in our deep consciousness when we take stock of things as they now are: the wish that the drama run its full tragic course, bringing man, like a Greek hero, to the fearful end that he has, however unwittingly, arranged for himself. For it is not only with dismay that Promethean man regards the future. It is also with a kind of anger. If after so much effort, so little has been accomplished; if before such vast challenges, so little is apt to be done – then let the drama proceed to its finale, let mankind suffer the end it deserves.

Such a view is by no means the expression of only a few perverse minds. On the contrary, it is the application to the future of the prevailing attitudes with which our age regards the present. When men can generally acquiesce in, even relish, the destruction of their living contemporaries, when they can regard with indifference or irritation the fate of those who live in slums, rot in prison, or starve in lands that have meaning only insofar as they are vacation resorts, why should they be expected to take the painful actions needed to prevent the destruction of future generations whose faces they will never live to see? Worse yet, will they not curse these future generations whose claims to life can be honored only by sacrificing present enjoyments; and will they not, if it comes to a choice, condemn them to nonexistence by choosing the present over the future?

The question, then, is how we are to summon up the will to survive – not perhaps in the distant future, where survival will call on those deep sources of imagined human unity, but in the present and near-term future, while we still enjoy and struggle with the heritage of our personal liberties, our atomistic existences.

At this last moment of reflection another figure from Greek mythology comes to mind. It is that of Atlas, bearing with endless perseverance the weight of the heavens in his hands. If mankind is to rescue life, it must first preserve the very will to live, and thereby rescue the future from the angry condemnation of the present. The spirit of conquest and aspiration will not provide the inspiration it needs for this task. It is the example of Atlas, resolutely bearing his burden, that provides the strength we seek. If, within us, the spirit of Atlas falters, there perishes the determination to preserve humanity at all cost and any cost, forever.

But Atlas is, of course, no other but ourselves. Myths have their magic power because they cast on the screen of our imaginations, like the figures of the heavenly constellations, immense projections of our own hopes and capabilities. We do not know with certainty that humanity will survive, but it is a comfort to know that there exist within us the elements of fortitude and will from which the image of Atlas springs.

Robert Heilbroner, from his 1974 book, An Inquiry Into the Human Prospect. Heilbroner also wrote one of the best-selling economics book of all time, selling over 4 million copies, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers.


Posted: December 30, 2010 in Adbusters


1 DE MAYO 2008 Bogota Colombia
esmad, dia del trabajo, policia, colombia, punks, bomba molotov, colombia, bogota, plaza de bolivar, la septima, protesta obrera, sindicatos colombia, gas lacrimogeno

What is Mental Environmentalism?

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Adbusters

A brief history of “The Journal of the Mental Environment.”

Micah White  | 09 Dec 2010

Photo by James Porto,

The core idea behind Adbusters, the essential critique that motivates our struggle against consumer society, is mental environmentalism. And for seventeen years, since the seventh issue of Adbusters was published in 1993, the subtitle of the magazine has been “The Journal of the Mental Environment”. But, what exactly is mental environmentalism?

Adbusters was founded in 1989 by Kalle Lasn and Bill Schmalz, a duo of award-winning documentary filmmakers living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since the early 1980s, Lasn had been making films that explored the spiritual and cultural lessons the West could learn from the Japanese experience with capitalism. One film in particular,Satori in the Right Cortex (1985), anticipates the culture jammer emphasis on sparking life-changing epiphanies. The experience ofsatori, the Buddhist word for a flash of intuitive enlightenment, became a founding tactical insight for the culture jammer movement.

In a 2001 interview with the Kyoto Journal, Lasn explained the importance of this film on the theory behind Adbusters:

“When I was shooting a film in Japan called Satori in the Right Cortex, I asked the head monk of a Zen monastery in Kamakura if I could take footage of his disciples meditating. Yes, he said, but first you must meditate. When I emerged after a few days of physical and psychological torture, something really had happened to me. The monk had forced an interruption of my easy routine, and I came out the other end humble, euphoric and changed. Maybe only when you are shoved into a new pattern of behavior like that, it is possible to catch a glimpse of the way life could be. Culture jamming is based on the same concept. It’s a way of stopping the flow of the consumer spectacle long enough to adjust your set.”

Likewise, Adbusters itself was born out of a life-changing epiphany.

Forests Forever – British Columbia Council of Forest Industries


Talking Rainforest – Adbusters Media Foundation

In 1988, the British Columbia Council of Forest Industries, the “voice” of the logging industry, was facing tremendous public pressure from a growing environmentalist movement. The logging industry fought back with a television ad campaign called “Forests Forever”. It was an early example of “greenwashing”: shots of happy children, workers and animals with a kindly, trustworthy sounding narrator who assured the public that the logging industry was protecting the forest.

Lasn and Shmalz were outraged by the blatant use of the public airwaves to deliver deceptive anti-environmentalist propaganda. And they fought back by producing the “Talking Rainforest” anti-ad in which an old-growth tree explains to a sapling that “a tree farm is not a forest”. But when the meme warrior duo went to buy airtime on the same stations that had aired the forest industry ad, they were refused. Adbusters was born in the startling realization that citizens do not have the same access to the information flows as corporations. One of our key campaigns continues to be the Media Carta, a “movement to enshrine The Right to Communicate in the constitutions of all free nations, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

For Adbusters, concern over the flow of information goes beyond the desire to protect democratic transparency, freedom of speech or the public’s access to the airwaves. Although these are worthwhile causes,Adbusters instead situates the battle of the mind at the center of its political agenda. Fighting to counter pro-consumerist advertising is done not as a means to an end, but as the end in itself. This shift in emphasis is a crucial element of mental environmentalism.

If a key insight of environmentalism was that external reality, nature, could be polluted by industrial toxins, the key insight of mental environmentalism is that internal reality, our minds, can be polluted by infotoxins. Mental environmentalism draws a connection between the pollution of our minds by commercial messaging and the social, environmental, financial and ethical catastrophes that loom before humanity. Mental environmentalists argue that a whole range of phenomenon from the BP oil spill to the emergence of crony-democracy to the mass extinction of animals to the significant increase in mental illnesses are directly caused by the three thousand advertisements that assault our minds each day. And rather than treat the symptoms, by rushing to scrub the oil soaked beaches or passing watered down environmental protection legislation, mental environmentalists target the root cause: the advertising industry that fuels consumerism.

Our minds are polluted by an overwhelming propaganda assault that colors our beliefs, desires and perception of reality. Fighting back is thus far more difficult that protesting in the streets or clicking a few links. This brings us back to the concept of satori. Breaking out of the consumer mindscape takes a fundamental shift of perspective, an epiphany, after which everything is seen with new eyes.

Mental environmentalism is an emergent movement that in the coming years will be recognized as the fundamental social struggle of our era. It is both a unifying struggle – among mental environmentalists there are everything from conservative Mormons to far-left anarchists – and a struggle that finally, concretely explains the cause of the diversity of ills that threaten us.

To escape the mental chains, and finally pull off the glorious emancipatory revolution the left has so long hoped for, we must become meme warriors who, through the use of culture jamming, spark a wave of epiphanies that shatter the consumerist worldview.

Micah White


24/7 Moving Atlanta offers moving, delivery, and storage services throughout the state of Georgia and the greater metropolitan Atlanta area. ‎

The Per Capita Principle

Posted: December 22, 2010 in Adbusters






Photo illustration by Morgan Slade and Alex Gross

2.8 tons

In a fair world this number represents your own annual C02 emission limit – a limit necessary to maintain a hospitable climate on this planet. Right now developed nations are a long way off the mark. The average North American is responsible for about 20 tons of C02 emissions per year – seven times the per person limit.

The idea that we should share global carbon emissions is called the “per capita principle.” At its heart is the notion that every person living on the planet equally shares the right to emit greenhouse gases. If all seven billion of us share equal carbon emission rights, then climatologists estimate that 2.8 tons of C02 is the limit that each person can emit if we are to have a good chance at keeping the planet’s mean annual temperature from increasing by more than two degrees Celsius (which in 2009 many G8 leaders, Obama included, agreed we must do).

What will be the result if we fail to achieve this goal over the next nine years? Extinction, probably. According to leading climatologist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of Germany, if we fail to reduce our per person carbon emissions to 2.8 tons by 2020, the human species stands little chance of survival.

Share this with friends and strangers alike, let’s go viral with this idea.