When Capitalism Stinks

17 03 2005

BlackspotsSomething smells bad! Was it the Applebee’s ad that I saw an obscene number of times this afternoon during the NCAA tournament? Certainly, and yet, there is more.

My spot to “just browse” on the WWW is del.icio.us. I don’t have a ton of browsing time. Most of my spare time in front of the ‘puter is working on this and other web sites, but when I do, I like the “popular” page at del.icio.us. One day I found a link to Adbusters. What I found there beside the anti-ad sentiment that the name implies were a sweet pair of sneaks. So I ordered a pair. It was mostly because I liked them, but as I received them and read my “shareholders certificate” (content listed below) and in subsequent research, I’m feeling even better about my purchase.

I’m a proponent of capitalism over any other economic system that I’m familiar with. Don’t get me wrong when I pipe up here and raise some questions and give some props. I’m OK with the idea, but it’s application today may leave something to be desired. My feelings are that an economic system should have rules. Rules that keep the the control in the hands of the consumer. Where’s Ralph when we need him? When the corporation becomes so large and powerful, that it is no longer dependent on the consumer, capitalism starts to stink. We stink bad!

So what to do. Well, anything you can. That book at Barnse and Nobel, see if your local book store can order it. Does the ma and pa hardware shop have that same part as Home Depot? Can you get by with that old one? Think about it! And for me, yeah, I’m a hypocrite, but at least I know I am, and I’m trying. Assert yourself, it feels good.

BLACKSPOT SNEAKER SHAREHOLDER CERTIFICATE

DEAR BLACKSPOTTER,

You are now the owner of a pair of blackspot sneakers. I hope you feel a real sense of empowerment as you slip them on and, like so many others before you, embark on a life charged up with social activism.

The anti-logo, hand drawn on the side of your blackspots, is a symbol of resistance against multinational hyper-branders like Nike that, over the past few years, have come to dominate so much of our lives. The red tip, hand painted on the nose of your sneaker, is for kicking mega-corporate ass and transforming the sneaker industry, and indeed capitalism itself, into more diverse, grassroots affairs.

By buying this pair of sneakers you become a voting member of The Blackspot Anticorporation. When you log onto blackspotsneaker.org you can use your unique shareholder number as your password and vote on the style of our future sneakers, what materials to use, where to make them, how to market them and how the profits will be used. The ultimate goal? An exciting, shareholder-driven enterprise with our own co-op factories and retail outlets around the world.

If we succeed in this venture, we will have set a precedent that can transform other industries. Imagine: an independent blackspot music label that cuts into Big Music’s share. Or a chain of blackspot restaurants that takes business away from McDonald’s by serving only locally-produced food. Bit by bit, I predict that our open source anti-logo will grow into the most powerful brand in the world.

We hold no copyright on the blackspot anti logo. Take it and use it. Together we will create an authentic, non corporate cool and change the way the world does business.

KALLE LASN
CEO, The Blackspot Anticorporation

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