Class Discussion: How Consumers can influence contemporary economics
A fund was set up to help the first responders of the 911 attack on the World Trade Centers in NYC. Today this fund is running out of money and will be cutting benefits 50% – 70% for these brave survivors. Thousands of first responders were heavily exposed to airborne toxics at the site and have since experienced respiratory ailments, cancer and other illnesses directly related to 911. The EPA said that the air was safe as they worked on site for weeks after the buildings collapsed without proper respiratory equipment.
They were promised compensation, and now it is running out. The irony is that the slogan “We will never forget” came out of this terrible attack, and 17 years later we are forgetting. These people were heroes, and it’s time to take care of them so they do not have to worry about losing their homes, their lives or for the future of their families.
For further info on Twitter:
John Stewart helps the 911 responders and survivors
For further information on the WWW regarding the fund running out of money
One lesson I took away from watching the video, “Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media” as it relates to the ESABA project, is that social media is powerful. ESABA does not have the staff or financial resources to fund a large campaign to promote the East Side of St. Paul. The Internet provides a way for them to do this easily and economically. However, the message needs to speak to the audience to motivate them to take an action. They also need to commit to it in order to build their audience; they should consider partnerships with other East Side businesses to promote a similar message. ESABA has come up with some fun and interesting events that that allow people to experience the east side either on their own or at a specific function. For example, their 50 Favorites campaign allows people to experience the East Side on their own, while offering suggestions on parks, restaurants and other local businesses.
In reading Catells’ Networks of outrage and hope: Social movements in the Internet age, I can tell you that there is a definite link between power and the Internet.
The Internet had allowed government, media and large corporations to control the ideology of their message which were self-serving and driven by greed and manipulation. The public began to see the corruption and lies and started to distrust them.
It became apparent that a single person could also have that power to create a message and the internet could provide a platform for a network of mass self-communication to speak out against injustices in hopes to promote change.
The internet allows everyone to have a voice. It connects real people with real concerns. Allowing individuals to exercise power to influence other people, creating networks and organizational partnerships to come together to provide a meaningful message. They were able to fight back against the establishment and speak out for their own values and interests, while gaining support for these causes with a mass form of communication to spark social change.
Respond to someone’s post:
I recently wrote a blog about Amazon pulling out of building a second headquarters in NYC. During my research, I discovered that NYC not only had the highest corporate tax rate in the nation (17.21%), but they also have one of the highest personal income tax rates (12.70%) in the country.
This coupled with outrageous property taxes is ridiculous! The taxes are devastating for individuals with low income and the middle class. Elected officials need to find ways to reduce spending, or possibly increase the consumption tax or tax tourists instead. Something is broken here – they need to fix it!
Original post by David L.:
The Internet as a Level Playing Field
One lesson that I took away from Alexis Ohanian’s Ted talk, within the realm of helping ESABA, is to listen to buyers and not be overly controlling with designing content. I recall during this presentation that Alexis detailed how reddit users heavily favored the silly name for a whale in stark contrast to the more proper, meaningful name desired by the actual campaign. Although Greenpeace did not favor this outcome, they ultimately accepted it and thanked those who participated for helping make the campaign as successful as it was. I think there’s a lesson to be learned from this which is that sometimes, you don’t know what’s best and that’s okay. In the case of ESABA, our “buyers” are those who frequent and those who live in the Eastside. We want these folks to shop at businesses and visit parks in the Eastside. The kinds of shopping or parks that we may think they want to visit may not be the ones they actually do. Or to complicate things further, they may like the shops we suggest but they may not like the way we present it to them. Although conducting interviews may not be within the scope or time of this class, we can still create buyer personas (from New Rules of Marketing) of the audience we intend to target. This will help us gain a sense of what people want and what it will take to get people to frequent places on the Eastside. https://www.change.org/p/new-york-city-department-of-finance-lower-nyc-property-taxes
Above is a link to a petition to lower New York City property taxes. Being the libertarian-minded individual that I am, I always look for ways to lower taxes and see where we can get both sides of the aisle to jump in. I think this petition represents just such a juncture. Property taxes seem to be excessive everywhere and knowing that New York City has one of the highest costs of living anywhere, I can’t even begin to imagine what the rates are like there. This petition would help nearly all demographics- low income, middle class and those who worked hard to get to the top bracket. Now who could disagree with something like that? Feel free to sign and/or share.
By “switching power”, I believe that Castells means that the playing field is becoming leveled. Although this is a more generic/vague term, the internet and social networking have helped more folks rise the ladder both economically and socially. Yes, inequality still exists (i.e. racism, poverty, sexism, etc.) however it is slowly changing, and the internet has contributed to this. For example, the internet has helped expose corrupt politicians and business executives which has had an impact both here at home and abroad. Internationally, it has allowed emerging markets to finally participate in trade and allowed more folks to enter the middle class. How this was accomplished was by driving people to vote out politicians who hoarded wealth and vote in politicians that enact legislation that redistributes wealth, which in other countries is essential. Here in the U.S., it has caused companies to be more conscious of their operations and take up more causes in the community. This trend has come to be known as “Corporate Social Responsibility.” Though many critics believe this to be cliché, it’s hard to deny the benefits that local communities see from such programs. Even here at Metro State, we’ve benefitted from philanthropic efforts from 3M and General Mills just to name a few. Without pressure from activists, many companies likely would not care. And the internet provides an enabling platform for more attention to such issues. Personally, I see it as a win-win.
Hope everyone has a great weekend and spring break,