Friday, May 28, 2010

Watershed Court Jurisdictions to Avoid Ecological Tyranny





Recent news on the BP "Oilpocalypse" reminded me of the sore requirements of another ecological check and balance mentioned in Toward a Bioregional State: court jurisdictions based on nested watersheds.

The principle of watershed jurisdiction was applied in watershed electoral districts discussed earlier here and here. What to do about the oceanic jurisdictions was discussed here.

Watershed jurisdictions are a way to avoid either placeless, corrupt elites gerrymandering election districts or, in this next case clear case of BP, we discuss two things: first, how the BP corporation attempts now to escape judgment from an oil-toxified 'environmental jury of its peers'; and in general, second, how all global corporations are 'legally' allowed to hold over us an ecological tyranny to escape local monitoring by foreign flag registering.

Current 'international law(lessness)' allows stable oil rigs/wells to be registered as 'moving ships'--thus allowing oil rigs to escape ecological self-interest of the local population that feels the externalities.

Global corporations, shippers, and oil rigs all take advantage of the same corrupt framework of false flag or flags of convenience registration. A placeless jurisdiction is an ecological tyranny for all peoples in any particular area.

The Deepwater Horizon drill platform, leased by BP, was owned by a Swiss corporation. It was registered as a 'ship' named the Deepwater Horizon in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Where? This is a tiny, impoverished country in the Pacific Ocean incapable of international monitoring despite 'international law' saying it does. Surely the Marshall Islands failed to monitor or failed to have any local 'ecological self-interest' to monitor toxicity concerns in the Gulf of Mexico, so these international laws encourage an ecological tyranny as well.

These two ways highlight how the degradation of our world is institutional: badly ecologically adapted frameworks degrade our world and set up an ecological tyranny that defends itself from any improvement. Corruption is a formally degradative framework, an ecological tyranny. To maintain that ecological tyranny is why the Swiss company registered its Deepwater Horizon thousands of miles away from the Gulf of Mexico: because there was little chance of any policing of regulations against any ecological tyrannies it might be responsible for--and now it is--though the 'laws' that the degraders arrange keep them protected, keep them as tyrants over the whole planet.

The general point is that an ecological tyranny is a formal jurisdictional framework--and you are living within it. If you want something different, it requires formal institutional changes toward a bioregional state to remove these ecological tyrants and their bad material decisions and bad choices:

First, how is BP taking advantage of this ecological tyranny to keep itself from being punished?

And then, second, how does an ecological tyranny organize a Gulf of Mexico oil rig registration to a 'responsible country' thousands of miles away from the ecological self-interest of the people who experience environmental risk?

Any feedback from the people most damaged in an accident around the Gulf of Mexico--whether because of BP or the Swiss corporation--require removing the formal institutions of our ecological tyranny: integrating into our constitutional thinking more ecological principles of political and legal feedback on a daily basis.


First, our case focuses on victimized Louisiana, though it is only one of five state jurisdictional venues of court suits been filed against BP. Many different jurisdictions against the Gulf suffer oil damage from BP--because of BP's actions and inactions both.

However, BP wants to shift all its court suits, judgments, and court jurisdictions to Texas. Most of the oil has hit Louisiana so far. Nothing has hit Texas directly so far.

In terms of watershed jurisdictions, the only environmental lawsuits that should be heard in Texas, are pollution events in three nested watershed catchment areas--#11m #12, and #13 "Watershed Federal Court Districts," lets call them. This is a map of nested watershed "HUC" (hydrological unit codes) for "the United States."


United States is in quotes because some of these larger "Watershed Federal Court Districts" are both U.S./Mexican issues. The ancillary issue, before we continue with BP's shenanigans, implies that the U.S.-Mexico border deserves a common court jurisdiction as well--where borderline-resident persons sharing a larger watershed experience in #13 split artificially by two countries, deserve to have court rights to sue in both Mexico and U.S. courts.

Returning to the BP story, "Louisiana" (inclusive of some areas upstream) would have its own watershed court jurisdiction, labeled #8. All the other Gulf states in teh U.S. affected to the east would be in a single "Watershed Federal Court District #3".

It's scientifically rational to do this with court jurisdictions when it comes to the environment. It's only humanly fair as well, since these are the areas that experience the externalities of the pollution, therefore they should be the judge of suitable compensation and/or punishment.

However, BP is potentially fleeing from its legal responsibilities and already filed court suits in polluted areas in the ongoing aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP is desperate to use its oily tendrils to escape the mess that it made. BP wants: to flee across the watershed border, to "choose its own prosecution," and to choose the jurisdiction under which it will be judged!

Can you think of any potential criminal, personal or organizational, graced with such a corruptible triptych of powers? There is little incentive for environmental recidivist individuals or organizations to improve and to avoid ecological damage in the future, if they are confident they can escape an environmental jury of their peers. Only with a watershed based court jurisdiction, is there a the real world incentive for them to improve bad environmental behavior.

More details on BP's legal moves in our 'ungreen state' of affairs:

July 26, 2010
BP wants Houston judge with oil ties to hear spill cases

MIAMI — Facing more than 100 lawsuits after its Gulf of Mexico oil spill killed 11 workers and threatened four coastal states, oil giant BP is asking the courts to place every pre-trial issue in the hands of a single federal judge in Houston.


"Time to Escape to Texas"

That judge, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, has traveled the world giving lectures on ethics for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, a professional association and research group that works with BP and other oil companies. The organization pays his travel expenses.


Hughes has also collected royalties from several energy companies, including ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy, from investments in mineral rights, his financial disclosure forms show. ...

Legal experts say the request for a single judge, unusual....

No one has suggested that Hughes — or any judge — would rule a certain way before hearing the evidence [despite it happening quite often enough to unseat 'high judges' before--data from the late Sherman Skolnick removed and jailed two members of the Supreme Court of Illinois on a similar case of judges corrupted by financial connections in 1969]....

The company [BP] wants all of the oil spill lawsuits — at least 98 as of May 21 — to be heard in Houston....BP is facing suits in at least seven different courts in five states, including Florida.

BP requested the judge in papers filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, as part of a larger request to have all pre-trial matters decided in one court....The special panel of judges will decide in July if the BP suits should be consolidated in a single court — and if Hughes should handle the cases.

Shrewd lawyers often try to steer cases to judges viewed as potentially sympathetic to their arguments, said Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, an assistant professor of law at Florida State University.

"Sometimes they will ask for a judge by name," Burch said. "Other times, they are a bit wilier about what they'll ask for, so it looks less blatant."

Other lawyers were surprised that BP was seeking to select its own judge; in both state and federal courts, cases are typically assigned to judges randomly.

"I'm utterly horrified," said David Guest, an environmental lawyer with Earthjustice with decades of experience handling complex pollution cases. "That's not to impugn the integrity of the judge, but something is fundamentally wrong when you're doing a thing like that."

Lawyers for BP referred questions to a spokesman, who did not return calls Wednesday....



Plaintiffs' attorneys have filed their own request to have the BP cases heard in New Orleans.

BP could potentially face hundreds of millions of dollars in claims stemming from what U.S. officials are now calling the worst oil spill in American history. In addition to suits from those injured in the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, the company faces a litany of claims from commercial fishermen and others who say the oil spill fouling the Gulf has harmed their businesses.

BP has already paid $29 million to settle more than 12,000 claims, the company said in court papers.

If the outstanding claims against BP are set before Hughes, he will have considerable sway over how those cases are handled, deciding which lawyers will lead the case for the class of plaintiffs, and how the law should be applied. If the cases go to trial, they will be transferred back to their original courts.

For the past two years, Hughes has served as a "distinguished lecturer on ethics" for the American Association of Professional Geologists, a Tulsa-based organization representing 35,000 geologists around the world, most of whom work in the oil and gas industry. During that time, the judge has given 13 speeches for the organization, from Texas to Cape Town, South Africa.

Just days before the rig explosion that triggered the spill off Louisiana's coast, Hughes spoke on a panel at an AAPG convention in New Orleans.

The AAPG pays for Hughes' travel costs from the organization's $32 million charitable foundation, said Larry Nation, an AAPG spokesman. BP does not contribute to the fund that pays for Hughes' travel, though the company has made other donations to the AAPG foundation, Nation said. The judge receives no fees for his speeches.

The AAPG is primarily a scientific organization [and we know how commercially motivated to lie scientific workers can be, for a price], not a trade group, Nation said,....

Geologists who attend the judge's lectures can also earn educational credits that count toward their state licenses, Nation said. Hughes' tenure as AAPG's lecturer on ethics is scheduled to end in July....

Hughes also has dabbled in the oil business himself, leasing the mineral rights on 11 parcels to different oil and gas exploration firms — none of them BP — according to his financial disclosure form filed last year. The report indicates Hughes received between $7,500 and $26,000 in royalties from those leases in 2008.

As a judge, Hughes has handled many cases involving BP and other oil companies — including disputes among oil companies — as have other federal jurists in Houston, a petroleum industry hub.

In one controversial 2002 case, Hughes ruled in favor of oil companies seeking to avoid the $100 million cost of moving their pipelines for a dredging project in the Port of Houston. An appeals court later reversed the judge and said the industry, not the government, was responsible for the cost.

In 2007, Hughes ordered three European oil companies to pay $26 million in fines for paying off Nigerian officials for an offshore drilling expedition — the largest fines ever levied for violating U.S. foreign bribery laws.

Hughes is now overseeing a suit brought by two former auditors with the federal Minerals Management Service, who have accused Royal Dutch Shell of under-reporting almost $4 million in royalties owed to the U.S. government. The case is pending.

Hughes has also managed multi-district litigation in the past, and he oversaw a special docket of asbestos-related lawsuits [how interesting...] in the 1990s."

The comments on that news article on how BP wants to tyrannically choose its own judge has a lot of people upset with BP's "nerve" and "gall." However, this will continue to happen without structural change.

U.S. Constitutional Framer James Madison wrote, paraphrasing and updating: 'we require government (ecological) checks and balances on corruption because men are not (environmental) angels.'

To handle the scale of organized environmental degradation caused by corruption, we require additional ecological checks and balances in many different areas. The bioregional state offers at least 60 additional ecological checks and balances.

One of these are court jurisdictions. Bioregional state court jurisdictions are based on nested watersheds, instead of built from non-environmental frameworks as in most states worldwide. If pollution happens in a certain jurisdiction, it is only right to have the trial in that polluted jurisdiction, or in a jurisdiction that is affected by that pollution.


It is unfair to have that court case transferred out of the affected area, particularly in a case where the petroleum regime has a federal judge associated with it.

The bioregional state's solution to judicial jurisdictions:
Section 17.
The Congress shall have Power...To constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court, though only based on single watershed jurisdictions or on Congressionally decided watershed aggregates derived from multiple boundaries of contiguous watersheds based only on the principle of tangible high levels of nestedness within Hydrologic Unit Codes.
Picture these judicial frameworks sliding in:


The second example of an ecological tyranny of 'false flag oil rig and ship registration' has clear formal institutional frameworks that protect the degraders and punish the victims. Seven solutions for oceanic jurisdictions were discussed earlier, here.

June 14, 2010
Foreign flagging of offshore rigs skirts U.S. safety rules

"The Marshall Islands, not the U.S., had the main responsibility for safety inspections on the Deepwater Horizon.

Reporting from Washington — The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico was built in South Korea.

It was operated by a Swiss company [Transocean] under contract to a British oil firm.

Primary responsibility for safety and other inspections rested not with the U.S. government but with the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a tiny, impoverished nation in the Pacific Ocean.

And the Marshall Islands, a maze of tiny atolls, many smaller than the ill-fated oil rig, outsourced many of its responsibilities to private companies.

Now, as the government tries to figure out what went wrong in the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, this international patchwork of divided authority and sometimes conflicting priorities is emerging as a crucial underlying factor in the explosion of the rig.

Under International law, offshore oil rigs like the Deepwater Horizon are treated as ships, and companies are allowed to "register" them in unlikely places such as the Marshall Islands, Panama and Liberia — reducing the U.S. government's role in inspecting and enforcing safety and other standards.

"Today, these oil rigs can operate under different, very minimal standards of inspection established by international maritime treaties," said Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

Some offshore drilling experts, as well as some survivors of the explosion that led to the massive spill, say foreign registration also permitted a confusing command structure and understaffing — factors that may have contributed to the disaster.

Senior members of Congress — including Oberstar and House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.) — have begun looking into the inspection and staffing issues.

The House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will hold a hearing Thursday on foreign-flagged rigs in the Gulf of Mexico [and how it contributes to an ecological tyranny].

Different types of rigs are classified differently, and the Marshall Islands assigned the Deepwater Horizon to a category that permitted lower staffing levels.

"Over the years, the manning dwindled down and down," said Douglas Harold Brown, chief mechanic aboard the Deepwater Horizon, who had been assigned to the floating drilling rig since shortly after it was manufactured in 2000. "I believe that safety was compromised by this," he said in an interview."

Brown's lawyer and others say the Marshall Islands licensed the Deepwater Horizon in a way that allowed rig operator Transocean Ltd. to place an oil drilling expert — the so-called offshore installation manager — ahead of a licensed sea captain in making decisions on the day of the explosion.

The dual command structure created confusion that delayed an effective response to the growing crisis aboard the Deepwater Horizon, he and others allege.


A deepwater oil rig floats above the well, connected by thousands of feet of pipe, and is kept in position by thrusters and elaborate navigational systems.

Since World War II, thousands of ships and rigs from the U.S. and other industrialized countries have been registered in less-developed nations like the Marshall Islands.

Some members of Congress are expressing concern about the Marshall Islands and other countries that outsource their inspection responsibilities to private companies. Coast Guard officials confirm that more rigorous inspection procedures apply to the relatively small number of rigs registered in the U.S.

A foreign vessel will be reviewed by the Coast Guard, but the inspection is relatively cursory, relying on inspection reports prepared by outside firms that have been paid directly by the owners of the vessel.

The federal Minerals Management Service, which also has a role in overseeing offshore oil operations, deals only with issues "below the waterline" of the floating rig. It was not responsible for rig staffing, command structure or other above-water operations.

John Konrad, a licensed captain who publishes a maritime blog and is consulting with survivors, said oil rigs should be under the command of licensed sea captains.

"On the Deepwater Horizon you had the guy who does the drilling plans able to make the call on safety," Konrad said.

Such dual command structures would not be accepted for U.S.-flagged operations, experts say.

The Deepwater Horizon captain testified to investigators last month that he conferred with the drilling manager before he attempted to disconnect the rig. By the time a crew member decided on his own to push the emergency disconnect, it was too late.

Kennedy, the spokesman for Transocean, said, "Having two complementary positions that reflect the dual functionality of the rig, as the Horizon did, provides a clear but collaborative chain of command that has been employed by the industry for decades."

But Steven Gordon, a maritime lawyer in Houston representing Brown, six other survivors and the family of one of the 11 workers killed in the blast, said, "This course of action cost men their lives."

"It led to a jumble of disorganization on the Deepwater Horizon at the moment when organization was needed the most," he said.


The common localist moral of these two stories of placeless environmental tyranny is that instead of only 'the polluter pays,' the polluted jurisdiction is the area that has 'paid' (as a victim first) and thus deserves first jurisdiction, naturally.

From the first story highlighting the ecological tyranny taken advantage of by BP, instead, any preexisting county judges would have a novel watershed based jurisdiction on environmental lawsuits extending around them, and sometimes some parts of their square-drawn county would be under another judge from that point on. It's the only ecologically rational option for court proceedings, unless you want more environmental degradation and systemic corruption.

There was another corrupt outcome to a switch of jurisdiction that removed the lawsuit against Dick Cheney that he was ineligible to stand for Vice President in 2000 because he and the Presidential Candidate came from the same State, which is illegal in the U.S. The judge venue was transferred out of the location where it was residing first, into Texas where Bush and Cheney were claiming to be residents simultaneously, and the Texas venue of jurisdiction found, to make a long story short, that the U.S. law failed to apply to the U.S. political elites who can be effectively overlord criminals without the checks and balances of the bioregional state.

For the second story, instead, watershed jurisdictional principles could be done on the oceans by removing many forms of corrupt formal institutions that encourage environmental degradation on the high seas:

This could be done via:

1. An oceanic coast guard: only for policing environmental issues, fisheries technology usage, and pelagic preserves on the high seas.

2. #1 implies a removal of all flags of convenience. Thus, there should be one global shipping registry; the removal of all near criminal "flags of convenience" would be beneficial because the former encourages organized crime, drug running, and shell corporation protections from any crimes they commit in another countries waters. Plus, flags of convenience are a form of environmental risk as well, as made clear by the Jule 2003 article in The Ecologist on how with their lack of policing or investigatory power, shippers (and oil corporations) have basically let their ship/rig tonnage stay in service until it rots without required maintenance or monitoring. Particularly on liquid carriers, energy carriers, or on oil rigs, leaving false flags for oil rig tyrants is a formal institutional recipe for their ecological tyranny that creates oil slicks and long term ocean damage.

Perversely, the whole "flags of convenience" framework has gotten so corrupt that even complete landlocked states like Bolivia claim to have the power to "register and police international ships"! Sure. I'm sure the international shippers or oil rig corporations using Bolivian or Marshall Island registrations quake at the thought of these impoverished countries coming after them.

In short, as a solution, all international shipping should be registered with only one body, and policed separately by this oceanic coast guard. This removal of all flags of convenience and their "race to the bottom" of ever lowering standards of registration and policing of registration would be highly beneficial to cleaning up the oceans from the point of view of the shipping and oil rig trades. Particularly, oil rigs should be removed from the 'mobile ship' category as a example of high corruption that has encouraged environmental degradation.

To keep oil rigs in this category--without local territorial state policing jurisdictions--has created a context for flags of convenience expanding systemic risk in the shipping fleet tonnage or oil rig tonnage in the oceans, and it encourages organized crime and environmental tyrants at the same moment.

The registers know that the states of registration are in many cases unable to police their licenses. It's a huge joke, and the victim is the environment at large and through that it punishes the health of us all.

These novel "skull and bones" pirate flags of convenience have been flown quite a while in other words--deceptively being the flags of a handful of tiny statelets across the world used as flags of convenience for hiding the really big fish shippers of countries that use them, when tyrants want some form of removal of legal liability for what would hardly be tolerated in their home countries, on land.

A side issue would allow for subsidiary nation state policing to aid the oceanic coast guard in that nation's waters. Only with this allowance, for a working agreement for a 'gray area' of jurisdictional overlap in this near-coastal oceanic jurisdiction area, will it work. This allows a double check and balance: if the land-based state regulation is corrupt, people can always appeal to the international coast guard. On the other hand, if the international coast guard is corrupt, people can appeal to the land jurisdiction. The point is to give the local groups impacted as many venues as possible to avoid the gatekeeping of an ecological tyranny over them.

I would recommend that any country found corrupt in these frameworks should be banned (at least for a number of years) from all future shipping/registration related jobs in their own waters, as more, for a period, is passed to the international venue. When it is better, it is passed back to the local or international venue of registration simultaneously.

2. complete removal of frameworks of subsidies of the age-old (and outdated) maritime state (discussed here) that have only caused the self-destruction of the oceans through subsidies for increasingly supply-side biased large scale high technological fishing. The maritime state is subsidizing ocean fisheries into a dead abyss.

3. perhaps running something like a Grameen bank for funding the sustainable boat building designs for smaller sustainable social relations of fishing or energy production offshore for Third World areas (and First World areas). Along the lines of Michael Bradley's design styles mentioned offhandedly in his book Dawn Voyage, or along the many ideas in the energy category of Commodity Ecology.

4. To make #1 clear, and to elaborate, this implies policing international marine reserves and the high seas against illegal technological fisheries use on the waves; serious reduction of seine, drift micro-filament netting and industrial fishing; longlines, trawlers, and drift nets as described above should be banned as technologies of fishing because they are closer to technologies of clear cutting or and strip mining; if that fails to politically fly work on it slowly first with perhaps only licensing all such technologies, with later capacities of revoking or arresting those on the high seas for illegal fishing behavior, and then, slowly shrinking all the licensing of these down to zero, combined with aid to reequip those thrown out with different technological bases of fishery. Punishment is hardly the issue. The issue is successfully making the transition from unsustainable fishing practices to more sustainable (and efficient) technologies employed in them as well as help recover the fishery base that provides even more jobs.

5. Countries could fund the oceanic coast guard through a small percentage of their catch or offshore profits in general, for a start. Then it could be self-funding: as the catch gets better with the sustainable security, the budget is rewarded as well; fish hauls get administered physically in such a way that the oceanic coast guard or the territorial state's equivalent (perhaps a dual team to prevent corruption in one or the other) measures it and will get its .5% percentage cut of the catch profits for maintaining its fleet, crews, and perhaps its "Grameen style" shipping bank for aiding technological conversion (though the latter could be done by others, feasibly).

6. Only to reiterate, the weight and measurement frameworks of all internationally registered shipping will be set by uniform standards, instead of multiple different (and unpoliced standards) under flags of convenience that has led to a "race to the bottom" on safety standards, environmental standards, and fishing standards. These standards make #5 possible to generate as well.

7. Perhaps, for the consumer, the oceanic coast guard could have a branch that was based on validating that shippers or fishers can advertise successful sustainable practices, with a label, thus giving such practices consumer financial support (and getting the producers interested in aiding the consumer with more information). It will be as well a mass political support by providing the consumer with more information about sustainable fishing practices of their operations over other unsustainable operations. This could be a series of different oceanic-to-consumer logos for different issues (like "sustainably caught, verified", the type of netting used ("caught without a longline/drift net" logo; "non trawler" caught logo; or "bycatch reduction bait used"; "this energy unit supplied in this way, etc."), etc. This is already being done in part by some non-profit certification organizations.

These were just seven interlocking ideas for how to apply our ecological self-interest in good environmental outcomes to bioregional motifs on the sea. Before that I gave several ways to put interlocking jurisdictions into place on the watershed level on land.

Remembering that most of the planet is ocean, and as the unsustainability crisis is already on our collective doorstep, something like this should be done as soon as possible.

If you enjoy the way things are, continue to watch well-organized environmental degradation sponsored, protected, and subsidized by your government. And paid for by your children in money and in their health.

If you are interested in change, check out Toward a Bioregional State.


The point is without structural change, this will keep happening and ecological tyrants will keep ruling badly and making environmental degradation. Demand a Constitutional amendment putting environmental based court suits in watershed jurisdiction, and demand the removal of 'flags of convenience', false flag ecoterrorism from corporations.

We live within a non-ecological formal structure that encourages eco-criminals to reward themselves to damage our health, ecology, and economics.

A bioregional state would provide the ecological checks and balances on degradative tyrannical power.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ecological Tyranny: The Origins of Corruption and Environmental Degradation in Unrepresentative Raw Material Regimes

“Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.” --John Godfrey Saxe, American poet (1816 – 1887)

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” -- Phil Angell, Monsanto’s Director of Corporate Communications, New York Times, 10/25/98

'Tony Hayward, the beleaguered chief executive of BP, has claimed its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is "relatively tiny" compared with the "very big ocean"'. "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume." Hayward insisted that deep-water drilling would continue [to be an ecological tyranny over us all]..."












John Waythen, Hurricane Creek Riverkeeper with Waterkeeper Alliance: May 7th airplane flight footage over Gulf oil disaster area: (5 min.)

The only comment I object to in Mr. Waythen's commentary is "We have to have fuel. We have to have gasoline." On the contrary, there are many options. We have gasoline because of a corrupt political regime that, in an ongoing manner, demotes other working options. Environmental degradation is a political regime, and thus requires political solutions.

To get to sustainability we are required to remove the corruption called an ecological tyranny. An ecological tyranny is a form of politics that enforces environmental degradation and protects it from being removed whether by politics or by market forces, respectively, by gatekeeping by corrupt politicians and gatekeeping by demoting consumer material and technological options. Currently, we live worldwide under informal ecological tyrannies that destroy our health, our ecologies, and our economies--and even destroy the corruptive frameworks of the politicians that protect them.

An ecological tyranny is an unrepresentative raw material regime. There are better ways. There can be representative raw material regimes, chosen by a more representative political process and more representative political institutions.

Continuing the theme of the previous post about extending checks and balances on power beyond the state institutions, what are the basic issues of degradative corruption that the bioregional state aims to solve?

The bioregional state aims to solve unrepresentative raw material regimes, substituting for them more representative raw material regimes. To do this, removal of forms of political gatekeeping is required. The environmental implications of political gatekeeping have material choice, technological choice, and environmental condition implications. Thus, such political gatekeeping can create an ecological tyranny.

There are two levels of ecological tyranny described below: the ecological tyranny of one raw material regime dominating all consumer choices in a category or its market, while demoting other frameworks toward sustainability politically; and the ecological tyranny of one raw material regime corrupting various forms of state politics, scientific workers, banks or financial lending institutions, and corporations into supporting an environmentally destructive flow and keeping out more sustainable flows that already exist.

These two levels of ecological tyranny require a detailed discussion of how particular politically chosen materials are threaded through society in institutional practices instead of discussing materials as if they were only ruled by equally interchangeable forms of abstract, timeless, market behavior or ruled by equally abstract conceptions of Marxist class warfare either.

On the contrary, it will be argued that evidence is already in: that there is nothing called abstract market behavior or generally abstract commodities and as a result nothing called abstract class behavior--there is raw material specific political and market behavior. However, I argue we can have abstract, general historical principles about particular materials (instead of abstract principles about abstract materials or abstract classes)--in how in their particulars they flow through human societies and interact with each other comparatively, historically and politically.

Methodologically, I use an inductive analysis of consumption instead of one based on mere philosophical assumptions of macro-reductionist class analysis or micro-reductionistic economic analysis.

It is based on aggregate case observations of many different particular consumptive flows and human behavior in relation to them as the basis of theory instead of using deductive, timeless theories of economics about philosophical constructs of abstract commodities, abstract human behavior, and abstract classes.

It is important to ground discussion of materials in empirical and historical case studies and fine-grained institutional analysis. Otherwise, we are substituting (or merely blending) a metaphysics of the abstract market or abstract classes for (and with) the metaphysics of the abstract environment without much empirical improvement. None of these three abstracts arguably exists materially beyond their conceptual use.

From this method, what is key is respecting that consumptive flows are particular, politicized flows that are unable to be reduced to any abstract analysis. It is an independent variable capable of making causal, dependent changes in both economics and politics.

There are two levels of these political flows.

Once a particular infrastructure is in place as a status quo and it meets market challengers in history in a free market, it first can use its status quo economic power to strangle market competition through its institutional structures and, secondly, it can use its political allies (i.e., use its political power).

This can explain why there is so much green technology available though little is applied. This topic is addressed later.

One of the difficulties of getting to sustainability is corrupt politics of a crony unrepresentative choice of material status quo, instead of a lack of technological and material options or instead of blaming consumers either. The issue is the gatekept and repressed lack of options--options that already exist, sometimes for generations.

This clientelistic point is typically ignored in economic theories based on assumed abstracts called commodities, markets, and classes despite a world full of many clear instances where materials are forms of political, repressive power against other materials, technologies, and social formations, instead of being abstract economic repression alone.

This power is expressed through its consumptive clientelism--how groups connected to such materials can dominate and sculpt flows of particular materials or dominate aggregate consumer use to forebear against economic/political change in certain consumer use categories (over other choices).

This is an interscientific method to explore and to conceptualize how common political power aspects of consumption have filtered or winnowed human political economic choices of our varied biophysical environment of choices to political goals of secure clientelism and secure wealth forms--making them political infrastructures causing environmental degradation politically insulated from any path change.

This environmental indeterminist view argues materials can be integrated into social analysis in two levels: through at least 90 kinds of markets (or distinct "social use sets of materials" without any "abstract theory of markets" ever possible) where materials are in contention with each other only within a specific set for the same position of use, as well as (for a generality) through having common characteristics of how the politics of hegemonic versus subaltern social relationships are reproduced or altered in socio/material conflict with each other in these sets. This merges competitive human agency and structural perspectives effortlessly.

Both Smithian or Marxist views abstract to inconsequentiality actual historical cases of singular material flows and their changes: one of them instills in the believer a social philosophy of abstract, fair, equilibrium-based, depoliticized commodities and their market relations; the other instills in the believer a social philosophy of equally abstract, unfair, inequitable class conflict of ownership relations of abstract wealth. Both ignore that once singular materials are historically established in use, they are a form of clientelistic power, hardly entirely a fair market phenomenon and hardly entirely an unfair repressive power. It is in the middle: a form of guided representativeness or unrepresentativeness in material selection to achieve consumptive ambivalence with repression of options simultaneously.

Typically, we are offered a pabulum of "just so" philosophical stories attempting to describe all commodities and economic behavior from the safe distance of mathematical economics. This distant gaze is connected closely with morality tales about the godlike neutrality of the supposed blind justice (or injustice) of the market when it may only be nearsightedness and blurred vision from the lack of experimental observational methods in approaching commodities and consumption without the abstract filters of Smithian economic preconceptions or Marxist class conflict.

Instead, real commodity histories are unpleasant to witness because so much interest-based politics (for all social interests) goes on clearly around certain commodities though people tend to look away analytically from the political sociological aspects of particular raw material flows. We are generally sold only a clean, abstracted, well-packaged casing of the final product whether sausages, laws, or economic ideologies in relation to “commodities” or the grand terms “the environment,” “the economy,” and “the origins of power.”

I argue that peeking in the kitchen for the recipe of specific material policy can contradict many ideas of neutral economics or Marxist thought--while improving them both. It can challenge the Smith-inspired functional theory of the “greater good” served in certain material policy by explicitly noting whom it serves more than others in organizations and consumers alike in clientelistic fashion against other options, as well it can improve preconceptions about Marxist inspired forms of “alienation” beyond the mere work site to how consumers and others are alienated from sustainability by others’ non-local unoptimal material choices imposed upon them. It can merge both economic traditions to analyze politicized consumptive infrastructures.

Many people, technologies, materials and ideas are conveniently put out of the way to have stable regimes of political raw material flows that define themselves as ‘sane,’ ‘normal,’ or ‘neutral outcomes’--that however depend on their hegemonic power by processing, creating, and managing to label and to marginalize material and technological heretics to keep particular durable market hegemonies of ideologies and materials in place as legitimate powers. Alternatives exist (in thought and material practices) though they are conveniently no where to be seen or no where to be discussed to maintain the power/knowledge of commodity choice.

The case of corrupt petroleum raw material regimes against its working energy alternatives and the case of the equally corrupt ‘tree paper regime’ against hemp are politicized discursive, material-institutional practices (with their expected hegemonic power to create or ban heretics institutionally to survive, instead of its power based on claims of ‘market success’) and are very clear politicized infrastructures for example.

I will introduce five interrelated terms to reorient our ideas of consumption to capture the political and organizational alliance aspects of material flows. The five are [1] ‘consumptive infrastructure,’ [2] an environmental definition of ‘the state’ as a contentious regime of political material flows, [3] ‘raw material substrates,’ [4] ‘raw material substrate sets’ and [5] ‘raw material regimes.’ These are the bare minimum for understanding our ecological tyranny and how to change it.

[1] Consumptive Infrastructure

The first term I propose is ‘consumptive infrastructure’ because it is a methodological corrective to economic reductionist analysis of consumer behavior or firm behavior as universally and simply atomistic, anomic, and as individuals following economic rationales among abstract commodities. I prefer this term “consumptive infrastructure” more than consumptive flow because it is a wider term that includes consumptive flow. The wider concentration here is on the dual 'institutional and built environment'-to-consumptive flow that is infrastructural: the durable chosen technical infrastructures, material flows, and politicized institutional practices combined. All are variables that sculpt the consumptive flows, and are more influential and more interesting instead of the flow by itself. An overconcentration on the consumptive flow misses these three interactive issues of durable social issues sculpting all consumptive flows.

There is already much on politicized technical infrastructures though it is required noting that technical frameworks lock to particular material handling flows instead of manipulating abstract materials. They are an artistic hybrid, a particular technical/material relationship interacting as a single infrastructure, instead of any sense of there being an abstract infrastructure or any sense we can discuss technology or materials respectively as separate.

[2] An Environmental Definition of 'The State' as a Contentious Regime of Political Material Flows


Keeping a political consumptive infrastructure perspective in mind, and seeing the graph above as a trellis to be filled by particular case studies and their variables, there are many other positional sites than simply the state institutions’ legal approval and applied science institutional practices that manipulate consumption and its power/knowledge/commodity choice relationships.

Particular consumptive infrastructures require jury-rigging in many other different positional venues as a common institutional alliance to get a raw material substrate to ‘work’ for some interest(s) (plural) as an imposed political consumptive infrastructure.

Four cross-cultural, strategic positional sites in political consumptive infrastructural analysis are offered: [1] the particular formal institutional and formal policy orientations of the state and their material/technical/infrastructural practices, [2] of science and their material/technical/infrastructural practices, [3] of consumptive organizations (corporations, co-operatives, community gardens, etc. all would fit the positional issue) and their (different) material/technical/infrastructural preferences, and [4] of financial organizations (corporations, co-operative lending banks, private banks, Islamic banks, state banks, etc.,--all would fit the positional issue and tweak the politics of the institutional power/knowledge/commodity choice differently) and their material/technical/infrastructural preferences. These four positional areas of any society work either in allied unison or in contention in constructing the material, technical, and infrastructural particularities of consumption.

In this alliance, a shared material alliance and a shared ideological alliance can flow and interact through these sites of potential political contention as an informal alliance to hold or to smooth the same policy with regard to certain materials over others. Originally, the woolsack was placed in the English House of Lords by the English king so the “separate” debates over financial policy would keep in mind what the king wanted: the defense and enhancement of his preferred financial instrument and a large portion of his budget at the time: the English woolen raw material economy. Political contention is manifested over exactly what type of formal institutions and formal policies, practices, and material/technical preferences appear as a regime in these ‘contentious, empty positions’ of state, science, consumption, and finance in societies--with the issue being over what raw materials these institutions support and discuss (or leave voiceless and deny) in their administration over aggregate others.

For sustainability interests, comparable evaluations can be made. These political consumptive infrastructures can either be clientelistic and unrepresentative or representative enfranchised varieties with democratized input on materials and technologies. Sustainability requires demotion of material and technical core areas of private political consumptive clientelism. These consumptive evaluations are based on how publicly representative or responsive (or unrepresentative or repressively clientelistic) the state, science, finance, and consumptive organizations are discursively and materially with respect to material, technical, and institutional practices of commodities and their choices.

One can empirically research both physical issues clientelism and democracy/representation (degree of externalities) associated with particular material choices and the types of institutional practices (from repression to participation) involved in formulating materials/technology policy as well as discourse analysis of the productions of these institutions compared and evaluated for what is voiced and what is left voiceless. This repression or reflectivity is the difference of degree the populace at large are consulted or are enfranchised in different institutional practices to provide feedback against unsustainable developmental potentials built from alliances of unrepresentative consumptive choice, discourses, and institutional decisions across the “SSFC” (state, science, finance, and consumptive organizations in a particular material case).

This takes views of commodities away from mostly economic reductionist and micro-reductionist analysis into a view of a planned and implemented political infrastructure in certain materials and technologies, protected and sponsored against challengers as a form of unrepresentative clientelism or as a more representative sense of policies of wider consumptive choices toward sustainability.

By following the commodity or material choice in question (and what institutional practices and decision frameworks of material regime led to the choices of policy,) this is really materialism instead of the philosophical materialism of Marx--limited artificially to analyze only one point of ownership (the consumptive position) and limited by his putting analysis in an entirely philosophical binary inherited from Hegel instead of a binary even materially demonstrated.

Cases of how materials are threaded through or hamstrung across these four main positional sites become a common research interest. The same material and organizational support is knitted through the whole consumptive infrastructure.

This is the first environmental perspective on defining ‘the state’ as a changing series of biased (or representative) consumptive alliance and clientelism organizations stretched between formal state institutions, scientific institutions, consumptive institutions, and financial institutions in their material practices and policy choices of materials, technologies, and infrastructural investments.

Either representative political alliances (via more plural democratic inputs on material choices about evaluating externalities) or unrepresentative political alliances (biased/hegemonic and degradative) would use the same four positional areas of state institutions, applied science, consumptive organizations and finance to network together versions and visions in certain materials through formal policies.

The stories of native autonomous amaranth (and its planting opposition in South America by the wheat-growing Spanish conquistadors interested in an alienated and clientelistic peasantry), aspartame, U.S./U.K. water fluoridation (while all of the major Western European countries reject it on health and ethical grounds), lead additives in gasoline, or genetically modified crop introductions can familiarize the reader with how various systemic power biases become a political regime first (not an economic regime first) that is generated out of certain institutional practices through their organizations’ discourses and choices of materials over aggregate populations without market demand. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) and its ‘update’ by Karen Steingraber, Living Downstream (1997) both are about the institutionalization of biased choices of herbicides/pesticides materials from certain military-institutional and supply-side choices first instead of consumer demand--and the discourse creations and cultural defamations in defense of critique, as mystifications generated by powerful institutional actors. Both books are an excellent (re)introduction to orient ourselves to political consumptive infrastructures.

It is hardly my intention to imply that only certain materials exhibit political consumptive infrastructures.

I only imply here that these written treatments recommended above are clearer than others about data showing the general phenomena of political consumptive infrastructures as built from alliances of institutional practices first imposed instead of derived from markets and ownership first and later leading to institutionalization. Marx who turned Hegel on his head has to be turned on his head once more to avoid his presumption of our economics instituting a ‘superstructure’ instead of the more demonstrable ‘superstructure’ causing (and changing over time) and defending ownership patterns as political alliances that change over time as well. This is closer to the historical record instead of one causing the other or visa versa as a timeless statement.

Sometimes opposed, sometimes allied, political and economic power require being historically specified in certain cases instead of defended philosophically by timeless foundation statements as Marx attempted to argue with causality always going one way of economics causing politics in the abstract. Sometimes politics causes economics, and any pattern of their interactions are always in particular material alliances versus other organizational forms and material choices as the warfare medium: different versions of clientelism against others, some more representative than others. Sometimes these clientelisms are rejected wholesale.

To rephrase Marx, there are six types of alienation involved in consumptive materials.

1) Instead of merely the worker being alienated from the object or the result of his production, whole societies can be alienated in material issues by small powerful material regimes of a few people with political support of major institutions for their material choice; the consumer is alienated from the object or the result of his consumption because of its externalities, and the consumer is alienated from their choice of materials in a gatekept and winnowed form of supply side politics as it gets larger and moves against demand’s interests of consumption. This is the principle of politicized ‘supply versus demand’ as scale increases that is discussed elsewhere.

2) Instead of merely alienation arising inside productive activity itself, it is hardly limited to productive activity. There is nothing categorically special about productive activity that shows more alienation than other forms of political unrepresentation down the whole politicized consumptive infrastructure and its institutional alliances when oriented toward alienation/clientelism instead of representation. Alienation at root is hardly an ‘economic’ issue; it is a political issue across many different institutional sites either oriented better toward representation and sustainability or oriented poorly toward clientelism/alienation and unsustainability. There is nothing particular special or unique that Marx identified in his production node of alienation. It was one of many political-organizational nodes in a raw material consumptive path of environmental flows which Marx falsely framed as ‘economic’ because of his reductionistic intent to analyze one particular venue of political conflict and extrapolate it to the rest of society’s institutional forms which can instead show a variety of different orientations of representation or clientelism/alienation at the same moment potentially. Instead of thus a class warfare based reductionism on one production site in the larger institutionalized consumer flow of materials, there is an organizational design warfare occurring throughout all positions of the consumptive path over the degree of representation and sustainability of geographic self-interest of the organizational form, or the degree of unrepresentation, clientelism, gatekeeping, alienation and unsustainability in the organizational form that ignores geographic self-interest.

3) Instead of because of external labor, man externalizes himself (Self-alienation), it depends on how representative are the organizational frameworks in which labor and the whole gamut of consumption takes place--some organizations representative than clientelistic/alienating others. Yes, Marx identified a form of unrepresentative clientelism as a form of self-alienation though there is a difference in representative, mutually beneficial clientelism and unrepresentative clientelism that is alienation. All clientelism is not alienation. Some is. Some is not.

4) Instead of people alienating themselves from each other only through external labor, the alienation is on the level of choices (what kinds instead of all)--some more unrepresentative and unsustainable and some more representative and sustainable. Thus instead of categorically timeless, the alienation is due to external material choices and technical productions choices that are out of sync with particular ecological and sustainable ‘species-being’ situations which would either lead to a mutual lack of alienation versus mutual self-alienation between people. This is an alienation of all species life: an alienation of a person from himself/herself, an alienation of a person from other people, and an alienation of a person's particular ecological self-interest, i.e., an alienation of their interest in being a member of a particular region in which they encourage its durability or undermine it through the choices of materials and technology optimized for their ecological self-interest. Additionally, there is thus a wider social and cross-species geographic alienation, shared across species in an area, instead of only Marx’s individual creativity is what is marginalized in particular state/urbanist supply-side consolidations. Regions are alienated under unsustainability. These unrepresentative state “SSFC” relationships lead to unsustainability and thus alienate particular regions from political voice and material, technical, and organizational optimal choice--whether urban or rural areas or both--in the rush to integrate only clientelistic consumers politically into clientelistic/alienating choices of materials, technologies, and organizations that support an environmentally and consumptively alienating regime built from themselves as individualized, alienated consumers while demoting politically and economically the institutionally durable forms of geographic representation of consumption that would represent all species being in a particular region, instead of alienate all species beings in a particular region.

5) Thus, it is hardly ‘capitalism’ as a strange abstract that is causing the difficulty--an abstract derived from Marx’s reductionism gaming the system of his analysis instead of a wider materialism than productionism that would show the difficulties with alienation/clientelism are a society-wide embedded politicized raw material regime of alientating and clientelistic unrepresentative materials, technologies, and organizational forms pressuring people into alienating/clientelistic positions of others choices--instead of within external material, technological and organizational forms that would be involved with more representing-clientelistic material relationships. It is a cross-organizational political framework instead of an economic one at root holding people in alienation/clientelism. It is a political one of poor social choices biased toward supply versus demand, unsustainability, and self-destruction in the long term.

6) Thus the politics of unrepresentative state-elite-led environmental degradation and their material, technical, and organizational pressures to integrate people via alienation/clientelism versus a building movement for environmental improvement through more geographically-sensitive optimal choices of material, technical, and organizationally representative clientelism have been the core ‘green’ dynamic of world history. The whole dynamic is green versus gray in world history. I challenge the whole Eurocentric modernist British economics/Marxist idea of different eras. Instead, different ‘eras’ show the same dynamic, past or present, at ever-wider scales of the same process. A second reductionism is the historical misspecification that Marx and all modernists perpetrated when they talked of ‘capitalism’ supposedly replacing ‘feudalism.’ Instead modernists were talking merely of the early stages of a larger ‘feudalization’ (or privatization--a state-supported private material, technical, and organizational clientelism and alienation) extending larger than previous forms.

[3] Raw Material Substrates and [4] Raw Material Substrate Sets'

Raw material substrates are the (estimated) 90 general positional frameworks of consumption for different social uses. They are empty social positions of consumptive use, chosen to be filled by a particular raw material. Raw material substrate sets are the potential gamut of choices of raw materials for the same social positional utilities of consumption into which many various consumptive items would ‘fit,’ each of them with different physical/biological characteristics that would influence the ‘tweak’ or look of various social aspects of consumption.

A case example of a raw material substrate set is textiles, in particular looking at comparisons across cotton, wool, and silk which is what Marx should have done as a materialist instead of adopting British falsely abstract ideas about commodities in general. Despite being the same presumed abstract textile industry, the three materials have radically different (and historically durable) social morphologies, social stratification regimes (different levels of proletarianized work organization), organizational sociologies, technological comportments and scale potentials directly caused by different biophysical and supply characteristics of the chosen thread in how this affects urban industrialization differences, proletarianization differences, and political capital ownership and control differences.

Every raw material of human use can potentially hold a raw material substrate position, in set-based competition. Any of them could be chosen for a consumptive infrastructure. For example, we have the raw material substrate set position for textiles, the raw material substrate set position for agricultural staples and the raw material substrate set position for building materials.

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Others would be the raw material substrate position set for energy--a society’s set-based choices. Coal, oil, wood, solar power, nuclear power, compressed air car engines (clean air in and clean air out--no pollution or combustion; mass manufactured in India from 2007), or split-water hydrogen power (with no waste or pollution except the same water once more, Japanese manufacturers are ready; Philippine inventors like Dinkel are repressed; American inventors like Stan Meyer ended up with international patents, though dead in a U.S. jail once he started to work on water engine conversions with a local automotive dealer.) All would all be considered contenders in the set for the same general position of raw material substrate choices(s) for energy supply.

As in the textiles excerpt above, each would tweak the position and organizational politics in the above four areas of ‘the state’ in their own case-specific direction. As such, each material in contention for the position of social use would be associated with various and different state, science, consumptive, and financial sponsorships, attempting to promote themselves and demote challengers politically and institutionally.

See this link for more discussion.

[5] Raw Material Regimes

Raw material regimes join all the above concepts. They are infrastructures of informal/formal pressures and simultaneously public/private political alliances used to institute select materials and interests over others along the raw material substrate path of institutional politics. A raw material regime is a secure informal consumptive administration framework that involves demoting other (or promoting/protecting) choices through three areas: formal institutions, formal policies, and informal political pressures.

Additional to these three areas of political institutional practices of materials, there are three infrastructural positional levels of any durably orchestrated raw material regime: institutionalization, legalization, and legitimation--suggesting both how they are durable or challenged and changed.

Institutionalization of a Raw Material Regime

Institutionalization of a raw material regime involves two distinct levels of social embeddedness of raw material use: (1) meso-organizational and macro-organizational habit (satisficing behaviors of firms, particularly (1.1) due to technological ‘built infrastructure’ investment in previous fixed capital requiring material flow deliveries in bulk to make the organization’s scale profitable and durable in this manner and (1.2) via the path of how technological manipulation typically is used at supply-side ideological scales as a strategy or excuse to fix specific material pre-choice capacities physically into dedicated machinery without capable of being adapted later to changing supply contexts. The infrastructure is built to require a certain material use, and that use in bulk as well. It only fits that material, hand in a glove.

(A counter example or exceptions that prove the supply side ideological rule would be infrastructures that can preserve choice like the ‘flex fuel’ engines in history that let the consumer decide the fuel instead of being decided upon by the engine makers beforehand: like the current Brazilian automotive industry, the early 20th century original multi-biofuel Diesel engines, or Paul Pantone’s GEET (Global Environmental Energy Technology) fuel processor that runs on any waste hydrocarbons though 80% water without any carbon exhaust and more oxygen extruded than came into the machine).

Either way--whether supply-side informed that removes choice or demand-side informed that preserves choice--all infrastructural investments institutionalize particular choices of raw material flow relationships specific to the technology or built environment at hand.

The second level of institutionalization of a raw material regime is (2) the micro-level aggregate consumer or individual habit. This is either the laborer’s or consumer’s ‘consumptive familiarity’ or symbolic association with the material, instead of a presumed daily-conducted search for material optimality in market relations.

These are the macro/meso and aggregate micro levels of institutionalization, respectively, working interactively in alliance or opposition depending on the case.

This enculturation of use is always of particular raw materials over others--associated with organizational and/or individual habit. This ‘habit’ side of use comes from satisficing behaviors in a raw material search strategy. Disagreeing with those who put economic habit in a residual category of “past, traditional” economic rationality, more modern day action is habitual instead of rational calculating than most would surmise.

Habit is arguably a far more important issue due to the larger-scale consumption of the present, in our consumptive infrastructures that calls forth more meso and macro institutional political pressures upon winnowing micro consumer choices, than in a supply-side politically marginalized past.

Since consumption, particularly on the individual level is so involved in ‘comfort’ issues, identity/status issues, ‘escapist’ issues, laziness, or satisfaction out of sheer habit, once consumption is institutionally ‘locked in’ then consumers in aggregate can have incredible connections to particular consumptive items, that facilitate in turn the justification of investment for more systemic consumptive administration (and politicized supply-side bias winnowing pressures) on the organizational habit level, and visa versa.

Habitual and identity-based consumers and technology that encourages only certain forms of material manipulation are something that breaks down the primary assumption of modernist economic epistemes: demoting past beliefs in the individual, autonomous, primarily-rational economic actors always looking for simply the cheapest commodity.

That is “rational” of course, though only one form of rationality, for the rationale why people consume particular things. There can be nothing called “irrational” consumption, only different rationales of consumption.

On the level of the individual (though aggregate) consumer, politicized consumptive infrastructures even though they are political economic administration frameworks are imbibed within thousands of individualized narratives about identity and personal comfort even if something once decided upon as part of an identity turns out to be highly carcinogenic later.

For instance is bread, the Christian ‘staff of life,’ going the way of this into a pyx of death through more knowledge about its dangerously high level of acrylamides?

Some may change their behaviors based on risk information, a rational response. Others may be mad at the information and pretend to ignore it--another quite “rational” response if the rationale is habit and comfort.

Of course, systemic powers rarely tell them about the product’s or material’s dangers that have been discovered, instead of keeping it secret.

Legalization of the Raw Material Regime

Legalization of the raw material regime refers to particular strategic political alliances with varying degrees of representation or unrepresentation (respectively, clientelism/alienation or institutionalization of choice) between government organizations, raw material procurers/suppliers, and consumers that are institutionalized from the level of the state into formal laws and formal institutions dealing with the raw material in question across the full raw material substrate path.

This can be for direct sponsorship (like an overt state monopoly) or an indirect sponsorship (like a protected private monopoly or hegemony that makes other consumptive options or challengers illegal thus enforcing by default a consumptive heresthetics and consumptive administration frameworks in the indirectly selected material); or alternatively, state legalization frameworks that expand and protect instead of contract consumer choices of materials in the consumptive set.

Legitimation of the Raw Material Regime

Legitimation of raw material regimes refers to open-ended contentious political and discursive processes of material support. It involves mobilizing cultural frameworks and discourse--talking about certain materials employing language, symbols, associations, ideas and emotions. In contentious political talk about a raw material regime, one will typically find this talk organizes itself along a differential of power: those that are interior to a raw material regime defending it versus those exterior to the raw material regime, with the latter being a plurality of different groups either fellow-traveling and/or mutually oppositional who experience its externality effects, and/or who would offer different materials for the position, or who wish to widen consumer choices.

Legitimation refers to cultural social-movement offensives against (or countermovement defenses for) a particular raw material substrate use. In the socialization around certain raw material flows, there are open-ended jockeying attempts to legitimate or delegitimate certain raw material regimes from current hegemonic locks on formal institutional and formal policy governmentality over the whole society.

Materials change proponents wait for certain political opportunities like any other social movement would; and raw material regime defenders act like any countermovements do: defending their materials through typical countermovement behaviors like biased and corrupt state power policing, state-sponsored vigilante action, and funding agent provocateurs.

However, publicity and propaganda can backfire from desired attempts to legitimate and can turn into self-delegitimation as well. Therefore institutional practices and strategies of silence or secrecy about the material practices as much as strategies of talk are crucial to legitimating a raw material regime down the raw material substrate path--via both institutional pronouncements and a lack thereof.

the data on carcinogen DDT led Rachel Carson to write the book Silent Spring (1962). This is one case example of the knowing institutionalization of physical risk by scientists as they simply maintained a code of silence to keep the public consumptively ambivalent. Their institutional job security along the raw material substrate path of the raw material regime of chlorinated carbon compounds (particularly DDT) kept them systemically in line. The material links of salaries as well can be considered in a form of raw material regime as well.

After Carson published, there was a huge corporate and government countermovement public relations attack on her to delegitimate and to discredit any listening consumers--instead of dealing with the toxics information--who wanted to pull away from the raw material regime around the novel toxic chlorinated herbicides and pesticides. However, chemical corporations hoped that already coddled consumers would go back into consumptive ambivalence with very little prodding. Thus the institutional silence around toxic chemicals as a response was another form of the silence in Silent Spring.

A third example of the use of silence along the raw material substrate path to maintain the raw material regime can be analyzed through the consumptive infrastructure of “fluorine”--a very electronegative and very small element and its compounds used in many institutional practices of materials choice despite its well known toxicity. In the United States the legal label of ‘fluorine’ actually means any number of different types of physical compounds each with differing toxicities that are put into water. Mostly, these fluorides in the United States were directly considered an expensive to remediate nuclear or industrial waste by-product seconds before they were put into the water supply and magically, through the alchemy of laws and certain institutional handling practices and allowances, turned into something somehow treated differently than the carcinogenic, mental-developmentally-damaging, neurotoxic, abortifacient, and skeletal fluorosis-causing industrial toxin that it is. All Western European countries have rejected fluoridated water on public health and medical ethics grounds combined. The U.K. and U.S. alone (with some of its allies like South Korea) legitimate this industrial toxin in their water as if they were unaware of the dangers.

They are aware, as noted in the book The Fluoride Deception. It’s a fluoride raw material regime with a great deal of strategic silence and co-ordination down the raw material substrate path--a well-documented, cross-institutional code of Mafia-like ‘ometra’ to ignore discussing the dangers of fluoride. The outcome is that many British and Americans are allowed to be poisoned by fluoride--cynically legitimated as a public health intervention and legitimated by individual-level habit and individual interpretation as well--a very solid raw material regime indeed.


One of the points of this discussion is to call the lie upon the economic idea that we live in a world of actual choices where ‘supply equals demand’ toward equitable models of markets without history, to call as a lie that the main conflicts are class oriented instead of consumptively oriented, and to call into question the fraud that we live in an ‘economic’ world instead of a politicized material flow based world based on domination or representation.

No where have we ever lived in a politically-neutered commodity situation in human history, and the politicized state-consumptive institutional practices issues of raw material regimes may be more extreme at present that ever due to the huge scale in many consumptive use positions.

Ecological Tyranny, or the Bioregional State

Furthermore, no where will we ever live in that de-statized, depoliticized and ahistorical situation with regards to commodities in general: it (and sustainability) will solely be a question of how representative or unrepresentative are these 90 social relations of commodity choices of materials. In other words, raw material choice is an institutional practice that can be representative and reflexive of physical, ecological and economic risk, or it can be involved in unrepresentative institutional practices and generate such risks, clientelism, and alienation unsustainably.

Instead, we live in a world of politically-manipulated consumption for ill or good. We have always lived in a world of this merged and administered socio/material consumptive power where various institutions have winnowed consumer choices well before consumers actually get to them for the interest of political economic elite clientelisms as a form of power, and where choices of social ideas and choices of material consumption can be constrained by the same institutionalized practices or opposed by them as well.

As mentioned above, the issue becomes less how romantically to ‘overthrow’ this mélange of power relations, as some sort of power relations will always be there.

The issue becomes what would sustainable, bioregional, participatory and democratic power, knowledge, and commodity institutional practices and choices look like organizationally instead of aristocratic, gatekept, clientelistic, and unrepresentative socio/material inducements and consumptive institutional pressures on consumers leading to environmental degradation?

Commodity choice as a phenomenon has been misspecified as an economic policy when it is a political, cultural, and ideological policy issue: do you want unsustainability or sustainability?

And many of these politicized material flows are ecological tyrannies destroying our health, ecology, and economies all at once.

The question is: what would representative consumption look like, institutionally speaking, that would demote the institutional practices of clientelistic and risk-facilitative aspects of consumptive choices? The answer is a a bioregional state can oppose these ecological tyrannies: a representative material framework of institutional practices in consumption, state, science, and finance instead of one that alienates and leads to unrepresentative clientelism and environmental degradation by ignoring the different optimums of ecological self-interests of people in different regions of the world.

It is up to us to identify what does allow people a certain liberation, voice, choice and human action toward sustainability. Sustainability is a democratic and representative framework of locally optimal consumption in all its variations, instead of “pseudo-public” private infrastructures or consolidated “nationalized” infrastructures both biased to create environmental degradation, ignore citizen outcry, and impose physical risk--the latter as the “pseudo-opposition” from Marx-Leninism that self-limits the whole analysis and fails to note the specific material practices of particular flows is wider than organizational ownership politics?

And it is up to us to have a way to analyze and to evaluate the root issue--the ecological tyranny of these unrepresentative politicized consumptive infrastructures--toward a sustainability of more locally optimal material and technical choices.