The vegan movement split, and now the disruptor has the meat industry on high alert
The American vegan movement was always its own worst enemy. The vegan movement’s brain finally outgrew its heart, and in less than two decades the pragmatic vein of the movement has morphed into one of the biggest disruptors of the American food system. Friedrich leads The Good Food Institute, a lobbying shop in DC that represents the interests of meat-alternative food products; Shapiro helped mastermind a cage-free ballot initiative in Massachusetts that will reshape how food animals are produced across the country; Prescott has made inroads into major investment banks; Meier leads undercover investigation efforts to expose the poor living conditions of many farm animals; and Tetrick, who as a college student would travel from West Virginia to DC to hang out with the pragmatists, was a founder of Hampton Creek, the well-known eggless condiments company. By picking on farm animal production techniques that appeal to consumer emotions, the group forced companies with so-called factory farms into the difficult position of defending practices that can seem draconian. Voters who empathize with farm animals were much more likely to buy into Shapiro’s measure.
If sales data show consumers care about animal welfare, Matthew Prescott can use-and has used-it to convince investment banks to pressure companies, such as McDonald’s, to change their practices. Companies such as Perfect Day, Beyond Meat, and Hampton Creek are developing meat and dairy products marketed as better for the environment and the animals. Despite the broad reach and proven efficacy of the vegan pragmatism, not everyone in the larger vegan movement is impressed. The 2001 split in the vegan movement was painful, leaving behind feelings of resentment that never healed. From the absolutist point-of-view, the pragmatists diminished the importance of fighting for animal lives by concentrating their energies on farm animal welfare.
A commitment to reducing animal suffering, argues Gary Francione, a Rutgers University law professor, was an abdication of the bigger mission of freeing animals altogether. The absolutist tactics estrange the vegan movement from mainstream culture, the pragmatists argue.
Its primary mission is to emphasise the similarity and compatibility of the Buddhist teachings with those of Classical Marxism, and to assert that both systems of thought are motivated by compassion for the suffering of humanity, and emphasises a radical method of escape from that suffering. Buddhism and Marxism share a common philosophical grounding that is dynamic, ingenious, and transformative. Buddhism and Marxism arrive at exactly the same conclusions, but through diverse and yet complimentary pathways. The ancient Indian spiritual seeker Sakyamuni Buddha, and the modern German academic Karl Marx, were not only outstanding intellectuals of their day, but the powerful influence of their respective systems of thought has continued to influence world thinking into the post-modern period of human development. The BMA exists to provide free education about Buddhist and Marxist thought, and encourages and supports any individual or group who is endeavouring to better their understanding through the development of the mind.
As a result of these changes in Asia, the Buddhist Sangha has led the way in making clear the fundamental compatibility of the Dharma with Marxist thought, and in so doing has made Communist education freely available to ordinary people. Through the Buddhist Sangha embracing Marxist-Leninism, Buddhism has become an important element in maintaining the stability of the Communist State. The BMA is of the opinion that many facets of Buddhism in the West have been corrupted and hijacked by the bourgeoisie, and used in its habit of continuously justifying predatory capitalism. The BMA firmly rejects this ‘pseudo-Buddhism’ and advises all the genuine seekers interested in the study of Buddhism, to find authentic teachers and reliable sources of information. Do not bring emotional or intellectual immaturity into this thought community.
The bourgeois system claims to extol ‘freedom of thought’ – so exercise it. By all means, have your own thoughts and live your own life – but do not ‘infect’ this sacred psycho-physical space with bourgeois delusion, fetishism, and excess.
The Real Reason for the Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor
The tasks most people used to do can now be done more cheaply by lower-paid workers abroad or by computer-driven machines. As a result, Americans pay more for broadband Internet, food, airline tickets and banking services than the citizens of any other advanced nation. Bankruptcy laws have been loosened for large corporations-airlines, automobile manufacturers, even casino magnates like Donald Trump-allowing them to leave workers and communities stranded. The largest banks and auto manufacturers were bailed out in 2008, shifting the risks of economic failure onto the backs of average working people and taxpayers. Today, nearly one out of every three working Americans is in a part-time job.
The portion of workers with any pension connected to their job has fallen from just over half in 1979 to under 35 percent today. Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker, backed by a strong union, earned $35 an hour in today’s dollars. Now America’s largest employer is Wal-Mart, and the typical entry-level Wal-Mart worker, without a union, earns about $9 an hour. The underlying problem is not just globalization and technological changes that have made most American workers less competitive. The more basic problem is that the market itself has become tilted ever more in the direction of moneyed interests that have exerted disproportionate influence over it, while average workers have steadily lost bargaining power-both economic and political-to receive as large a portion of the economy’s gains as they commanded in the first three decades after World War II.
Reversing the scourge of widening inequality requires reversing the upward pre-distributions within the rules of the market, and giving average people the bargaining power they need to get a larger share of the gains from growth. It will be between a majority of Americans who have been losing ground, and an economic elite that refuses to recognize or respond to its growing distress. He has written 13 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock and The Work of Nations.