‘This Changes Everything,’ based on Naomi Klein’s latest bestseller, is a powerful film. Although I consider myself to be one of the converted I learned a lot.
But this film needs to be watched by everyone not just the converted. It speaks to me but I already know that capitalism makes money out of creating problems and then makes more dosh out of “solving” them for us. Nappy waste is a great example. “Oh, look at all this nappy waste you’ve created and got to get rid of. We’ll recycle it for you… at a cost! ” (I’ve been talking about why I think it’s too soon to resort to recycling nappy waste here.)
A penny weekly about the excesses of capitalism was published back in 1846. Believe it or not, it was a very popular read and is still studied by English Lit students today. There’s an entertaining blog post about it here. The theme resonates today because it relates to concern about what’s in a meat pie. Yes, it’s the story of Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street and preceded the Food Adulteration Act of 1860.
The message of Avi Lewis’s film is pretty similar to this “penny blood” of 1846*: capitalism is good but “the drive for profit needs to be balanced against feeling and sympathy for our fellow creatures.” Although actually, what the film says is stronger: global capitalism is currrently out of control and we need to do something about it urgently because it threatens the lives of our descendants.
We need more people to see this film. And we need to work out how to supply alternative products, services and energy sources so as consumers we are not lining the pockets of those who want things to stay just the way they are. We also need to skill ourselves up so we know how to grow our own food, cook it and take care of clothes so they last (which means buying good quality in the first place.)
* I should declare my interest in this book: my great, great grandfather was the editor and publisher. Ironically it (along with other penny periodicals and Lloyd’s Weekly) made him very rich. In 1857 he moved his family to a big house in Walthamstow called Water House, now the William Morris Gallery.