Nov 6

Cannabis Risk Management and Insurance Matters

 

CANNABIS-NIZ

 

RISK MANAGEMENT & INSURANCE MATTERS

 

I recently went in search of credible evidence to support the folklore pertaining to Cannabis being found on the grave of the undisputed ‘wisest man on earth’, King Solomon. Voila! I came across information about a 2006 excavation in Jerusalem, which revealed a quantity of whole Cannabis plants, unearthed, from what scientists believe, is King Solomon’s tomb in Mount Zion. Not only does this add weight to the growing body of evidence that biblical folk used Cannabis for its psychoactive properties and their rituals, it joins the dots all the way along the Solomonic Line, started when Queen Makeda begat (I love that word!) a son with King Solomon, Menelik I. It is a lineage traced to Emperor Haile Selassie I, icon of the Rastafari faith.

 

I say all of this, not because these historical facts relating to my namesakes form the rationale for my natural evolution into the area of managing risks and securing insurance protection for the famed sacred plant and its byproducts, but because it certainly makes for a good introduction n’est pas/nuh true?

 

 

Anyway, a group of archaeologists, led by a Hongen Jiang (University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences), discovered thirteen (13) Cannabis plants that were still largely intact after millennia underground. “In a first for funerary marijuana, the plants were found lying like a burial shroud atop the body of a man who had died in his early-80s. Their roots lay below the man’s hips and the tips — which had been trimmed to remove the flowers — extended up around his face”. So it seems the hallowed herb didn’t merely grow on Solomon’s grave…he was wrapped from head to toe in it! Clearly not a ‘buck up’ as we would say.

 

WHY CANNABIS?

 

 

 

My fascination with the cannabis plant didn’t start yesterday. Having had close and longstanding ties with members of the UK and then Jamaican Rastafarian communities, my ‘overstanding’ of the sacramental use of Cannabis has naturally given rise to a foundation knowledge of and sincere respect for the sacred herb. Previous Blogs have made mention of dear naturopath and energy healing friends that have shared their knowledge and wisdom relating to the natural healing capabilities of our bodies, endocannabinoid system and its inbuilt receptors for Cannabis. One might say that in addition to The Almighty including the Cannabis plant in the fauna of our lands, we were also intricately wired to receive its benefits as part of our natural healing. I don’t want to get too med-tech here, so feel free to research further for greater understanding.

 

In spite of my 37 years in the Risk Management and Insurance industry (UK & Jamaica), I have maintained a characteristic penchant for seeking out holistic, outside the box solutions to a diverse range of problems. Could be my ENFP personality type…perhaps? So, rather than winding down for (very early) retirement, the buzz surrounding the Cannabis industry worldwide has inspired me to re-saddle, seat up and invest my professional expertise in this growing market. Pun intended.

 

Licensed Cannabis retailers, cultivators/processors, distributors and vertically integrated organisations in the Jamaican marketplace have been my first point of service focus, however, the whole world will be on the ganja train in the not too distant future, so I predict a growing demand for RM & insurance specialists to guide the multitudes, many of whom are new to the world of business, much less its risks. Even the British Government has loosened its stiff upper lip, adding Cannabis to the pharmacopoeia of medicines available to patients on the National Health Service (NHS), effective 1st November 2018!

 

WHAT IS RISK MANAGEMENT?

 

 

 

Let me back up a little. Risk Management, in simple terms, is the comprehensive identification of risks a particular operation/business is exposed to, the implementation of preventative/mitigating measures (where possible), the consideration of risk absorption/self-funding, then the appropriate transfer of risks that could severely impact the business e.g. through insurance placements. The formula may sound simple enough (or was so totally boring that you tuned out), but from my experience, organisations guided through the process by a seasoned professional in the field, run less risk of missing exposures to risks that might be right under their noses. The proverbial ‘wood for the trees’. My further caution at this point is for the engagement of a holistically steered, technically competent, yet creatively inspired practitioner that operates beyond the ticking of boxes. Do! One that both knows what to look for and what (sometimes) ‘silly’ questions to ask. The Cannabis industry takes us all into brand new pastures…let’s not do this by rote.

 

RISK MANAGEMENT EVOLUTION

 

 

 

I cut my teeth in the discipline of Risk Management by force to be honest. It was during the Local Government Risk Management revolution in England (90’s), when authorities across the country were ‘forced’ to find better solutions to ‘ground up’ insurance programmes, through a monopolistic insurance provider, MMI (Municipal Mutual Insurance), which finally went belly up. It was simple maths, the annually escalating premium costs couldn’t keep pace with the minefield of legal claims that were emerging in the borough councils. The sexual abuse of children in the Social Services care homes was one particular risk explosion that changed the local government insurance landscape. I was already in the hot seat as an Insurance Officer when the decree to introduce the brand new concept to thousands of departmental directors and staff was passed. Overnight (well, after specialist training), we emerged as Risk Managers & Insurance Officers, charged with spreading the gospel of Risk Management to sometimes reluctant heads of Education, Social Services, Leisure, Environmental Health, Housing, Highways etc. departments. All with their very diverse services and peculiar risk exposures. Some insurance officers panicked, but the adventure-freak in me dived right in and was excited to ride the new Risk Management wave. It was no longer business as usual.

  

CANNABIS RISK MANAGEMENT

 

 

 

The fundamental principles of Risk Management will of course apply to the Cannabis industry as they do with most others, however, the newness of so many players to the differentially legislated sector, means that unprecedented risk exposures (that will continue to evolve) must be identified and holistically viewed, to plug any gaps in security, best practice processes/international standards e.g. G.A.P., protection and in due course, insurance.

 

It is imperative that the usual parameters of Risk Management review are set down and expanded to incorporate all risk possibilities, including Physical, Financial (Pecuniary), Legislative, Human and Energetic…yes, ENERGETIC. We are after all dealing with a natural living plant that will be transformed to support the health of natural living human beings…both energetically comprised and potentially compromised.

 

 

Newcomers to the industry, unless it is critical or compulsory, insurance policies should ideally be considered after a thorough survey, meetings with key stakeholders and the establishment of your risk tolerance levels. It’s not wise to put an-off-the-shelf policy in place without determining its suitability for your peculiar exposures. The insurance sector worldwide has, to be honest, tended to move at dinosaur pace in regards to modernising scopes of policy covers over the years, preferring to stay closer to the Lloyds Coffee Shop (embryonic birthplace of our insurance industry) models of policy wording. An opportunity now presents itself for forward thinking insurers to underwrite more creatively tailored polices for the Cannabis businesses mushrooming around the globe. Take the risk!

 

WHO ARE THE JAMAICAN PLAYERS?

 

  

 

Currently in Jamaica, the main licensed players include persons/companies in the categories of Cannabis growers, manufacturers, dispensers, researchers, medical practitioners distributors/exporters. Other legally recognised players are for another story. Each branch of the sector comes with its own particular risks, which must be carefully and methodically explored. Tracking the journey from the seed to the consumer across company divides and multiple processes, means that a bird’s eye view is needed to weed out (sorry) contractual overlaps and fill gaps in risk responsibilities.

 

LET’S LOOK AT JUST ONE OF THE RISK AREAS…CYBER RISKS!

 

 

 

Dispensaries: The cannabis industry, like so many others, utilises technological systems to support operations in a number of areas e.g. POS (Point of Sale) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).

 

Regardless of the safeguards built into your systems, there is always a clever youngster somewhere that has reached the peak of their cyber hacking career and is looking for greener pastures. Along comes the lucrative Cannabis industry.  Reports in the US market of some pretty serious cyber hacking situations are a cause for concern. Just ask MJ Freeway, a company recently subjected to an attack that caused two weeks of server outage. Breaches in your cyber-defenses can arise through a number of channels, affecting areas as unexpected as transportation and delivery information.

 

Robust cybersecurity is a must as a preventative measure, though insurance covers for the aftermath of those unstoppable hacks, may be needed. These cyber-ninjas are proliferating at a rapid rate, with each new wave of bored genius teenagers.

 

What if one of these youngsters could shut down the most vulnerable part of your Cannabis retail system? They might change prices through your POS system. Or ask your system provider to talk you through the levels of security they have in place to protect your data, their servers, and the privacy of your patients.

 

Growers: Whether you are a grower only or a Cannabis dispensary that has vertically structured to grow your own cannabis, don’t be naïve. Your systems can be breached directly or even indirectly via other operational seemingly obscure systems. Case: Target’s POS system was breached through its HVAC system (the store’s heating and cooling system). Through that network the cheeky hacker gained access to the store’s POS system and consequently customer information. Imagine one of your competitors hiring hackers to mess up the heating/cooling/lighting settings within your operations, destroying your crop by throwing off the delicate growing cycle. Ok, don’t imagine it; just make a mental note to tighten up cyber controls where you can. I mentioned your competitors, but you might find an internal team member that decides they have a beef (tofu, for my fellow vegetarians) with you and throws the proverbial spanner in the networks.

 

Bottom line, ensure your systems are optimally protected and that integrated platforms (that will allow a hacker to hop from one to the other) have equally high levels of cybersecurity, leaving no gaps in the integration process that could leave your information vulnerable.

 

Access restrictions at varying staff levels is also advisable to minimize infiltration from without and foul play from within. Monthly cybersecurity checks at management level are one way to heighten vigilance in this vast area.

 

 

SERVICES OF A CANNABIS RISK MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT

  

Whether you are in the Cannabis business already or teetering on the brink of jumping in, it’s never too early to start the process of looking at your risk exposures. My mother used to say ‘too late, too late shall be their cry’…I’m not sure where the dramatic phrase came from, but it certainly hastened my steps to cut procrastination and take the relevant course of action. Be proactive in taking your steps towards implementing your Risk Management Programme.

 

Effectively communicating the philosophy to your team members should also form a part of the Risk Manager’s charge. A persuasive presenter that can break the information down into non-stress inducing levels is key. Buy-in and commitment of all staff is a vitally important Risk mitigation factor, as it only takes one person forgetting to log out of your POS portal, in a public space, to throw your business doors wide open to cyber risks! I’m not trying to scare you in a Trump-esque way, just raise your awareness. 

 

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER RISKS?

 

 

  

Now I could continue with a list and description of other Cannabis industry risk exposures, but I think it will be more fun if we ‘walk the floor’, then sit together over a coffee or red wine and compile a comprehensive list of risks that face YOU in particular! No two enterprises are exactly alike and the industry is brand new, so why approach the process from a pre-prepared, tick-boxed template? With a clean slated, birds-eye vantage point, we can work together to create the best Risk Management and Insurance solutions for our fledgling Cannabis industry and perhaps your entity in particular. 

 

SOLOMONIC WISDOM

 

 

 

Whether inspired by the Solomonic connection to the sacred herb or the vast opportunities emerging in the once legal, then illegal, now partially legal Cannabis industry, I am excited to be alive and witnessing the attention being bestowed on the plant that has been called ‘The healing of the nation’. Evidence now points to the fact that our wise King Solomon, or at the very least the bones of a male from that era and area, was laid to rest in a Cannabis shroud. I trust that the plant will continue to heal minds, bodies and elevate the souls of humankind. Finally, may social conscience lead (or ‘jook’) those positioned to benefit financially from the Jamaican market, so that they will pay homage and due regard to the stalwart farmers that kept the Jamaican Cannabis flag flying high over the years. Take it from me, there is enough room for all to ‘eat a food’.

 

C. MAKEDA SOLOMON ACII, CIP

 

CANNABIS RISK MANAGEMENT & INSURANCE CONSULTANT

 

Oct 9

FROM CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM? PART TWO

 

PART 2

 

After George Orwell nuh more dan me! So…picture this…

 

 

We are now in the year 2030, 12 years after the Great Financial Collapse that saw the Jamaican Dollar hit an overnight low of $350 to one US dollar. The shock to the economy brought about a rapid swell of public outrage as prices of basic consumer items spiraled out of affordability! [Flashback]…Meanwhile, two months before the crisis struck, a game changing international conference had been held in the then troubled City of Montego Bay. It was called ‘CanEx Jamaica’ and was attended by representatives from around the world, seeking alliances in the swelling global Cannabis revolution. Jamaica was finally taking advantage of its natural prime position and the conference was as a bright flame to many moths.

 

MYSTICAL MESSAGES

 

 

 

At that conference, a mystic man dressed in white robes ignited the passion of the matriarchs with an earnest plea for them to take charge of the future of Jamaica, it’s Cannabis industry in particular, in order for it to fulfill its prophesied potential of becoming ‘the healing of the nation’. He spoke to the throng about Cannabis saying…”talk to that plant yourself from the root up…the females have been appointed by Mother Earth herself to heal the planet…“. Spontaneous applause erupted in the packed auditorium. One woman, at the helm of the new giant industry, heeded the Sage’s call and gathered unto her a team of Jamaica’s brightest, upstanding, integrous and nurturing women, then rally-cried to all the women of the nation to join them in heralding lasting peace and prosperity for ALL on the island.

 

 

We will all recall that day in history, when powerful women from down town and uptown joined forces and marched on ‘The Government’. Mothers across the island unanimously echoed the refrain that enough was enough…too many of their sons were dying, far too many of their daughters lived in fear! Collectively and without the shedding of a drop of blood, the matriarchs ‘persuaded’ Government officials to stand down from duty. Fairly and squarely, under the collective leadership of twelve conscious, virtuous and genius Jamaican women (sorry men, it was unanimously referendum-ed, that you had been at the helm a tad too long and basically…destroyed the fabric of our society…along with the environment), a new island order was established. Integrated left and right brain reasoning, heart centred women’s intuition and wisdom from a few ‘elder’ matriarchs were the orders of the day. Security force personnel were replaced by an all-woman troupe of Peace & Love Keepers…Wakanda style of course!. My brothers, I’m hoping you are still with me and not hissing your teeth at this point in the fantasy. Anyway, for those still open to their untamed imagination, read on.

 

THE HEALING OF A NATION (Bob Marley)

 

 

With the donations from the booming Cannabis industry…the trusted stewards of which having seen to it that development and integration programmes were set up to assist the stalwart ‘ganja farmers’ of yesteryear…a cohesiveness and communal spirit spread across the land. Those with ailments who previously could not afford medical care/treatment were given natural herb medicines at CBD Clinics set up across the island and run by Jamaica’s first class NHS (Naturopathic Health System 😉 ). The headquarters were at the newly rebuilt Cornwall Regional Health Oasis.

 

Refocused former ‘Scammers’ put their brilliant young minds to jobs created in legal Cannabis related business ventures that seamlessly replaced their previous illicit gains. Prisoners were trained by freed GRC (Ganja-Related-Crime) inmates, in the cultivation of Cannabis from soil to reaping. ‘Mi Likkle Ganja Book’ (written by a dear friend of mine, Nereree Edwards) was the official comprehensive text! Students in schools were similarly taught the rudiments of cultivating Cannabis (alongside other beneficial herbs and organic vegetables), about the numerous beneficial products derived therefrom and about the various business opportunities within the sector. The sustainability and longevity of the industry was therefore secured, causing it to overtake tourism as Jamaica’s main income earner…resulting in the rapid development of the island. Loans to international donors were paid off earlier than scheduled and imports reduced significantly while demand for Jamaica’s agricultural exports, Jamaican culture and Jamaica’s new army of expert Cannabis Consultants, grew exponentially worldwide. The Queen of England reigned no more as the Queens across the nation rose to assume their rightful royal roles.

 

 

All citizens of this beautiful paradise island were nurtured and cared for…by other more able citizens; Neighbours practiced the true meaning of the word and all ‘ate a food’, sharing, bartering, exchanging. Over a period of only two years, crime levels had fallen to mere minor skirmishes (mainly amongst the group that had experienced major trauma at losing their material status symbols. Jamaican people recreated communally based communities based on a co-hesive, co-operative livity and family life flourished once again. Eased of financial stresses, mothers and fathers reunited and harmoniously co-parented the children.

 

 

Environmentally sensitive  architects designed future builds that no longer represented the industrialised, non-family-oriented structures, but areas fostering the wholesome development of children and peace of mind of their parents. Pre-existing concrete structures were ‘softened’ with greenery e.g. roof gardens and the children played in the numerous new parks across the island, constructed as gifts by conscientious Chinese corporate donors. Corrupt law enforcement officers were rooted out, internally. Peace and harmony reigned for and within all people, from all sides of the island and former colour lines (political and racial). Citizens were keen to relinquish excessive material possessions in exchange for the harmony and happiness of a crime free land. Former Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting, was given a national honour by the Women, in recognition of his prescriptive and prophetic declaration some years before, that Jamaica needed ‘Divine Intervention’. He was spot on! The changes that came about in Jamaica could indeed be described as nothing short of miraculous.

 

RIGHTEOUS HONOURABLE LEADERS

 

 

In the true spirit of resilience and as evidence of relevance, The Communal Party still remains in SERVICE today, without challenge, fuss or fight. They represent all citizens without bias or curried favour, having been assembled by the Council of 12 Women, from the pure of heart found within the dissolved political parties (don’t ask me how many), proud upstanding Jamaicans (from home and the diaspora), the spiritually awoke/conscious ones and the ego-free elders. An arm of the party is dedicated to the Rastafarian movement and led by a wise Empress named Barbara, in recognition of one and one’s sacrifices made over the years to keep the sacramental herb burning in the land. One named Chronixx is their appointed Youth Leader, who consults with members of all the houses of Rastafari that were re-assembled in unity, under the Seal of Solomon ;). The Rastafari Indigenous Village in Montego Bay, was used as a model for groups across the island, and subsequently the world, wishing to learn a successful nature based way of living. A new Communalism…

 

FICTION ASIDE

 

 

The story above may read a little far-fetched, as I’m sure George Orwell’s ‘1984’ seemed at the time of first publication, but I don’t think any of us will disagree that we are living in serious times, that cry out for radical change. Could it be time for us to consider, then vision and then (re)build our communities based on a more all-Jamaican-lives-matter basis? It may not be called ‘Communalism’, as the strict definition of the word speaks of governments and federations, but we sure would be living and working together in harmony…supporting one another. Living in the ‘spirit’ of what communes of cohesive citizens represent. Perhaps we can simply call it Community-ism? Again, it may sound utopian, but that’s the reality I would use my vote to achieve! Now just to work on my detachment from unnecessary material things.

 

POST CONSUMERISM ERA – CAN ONE DETATCH?

 

 

[DISCLAIMER: Only read further if you are already considering detachment from the consumer treadmill and resultant routine lifestyle, considering an alternative, less cluttered life or on the verge of a stress-induced breakdown. The content may be particularly disturbing to staunch Commercialised-Capitalist-Consumerists, causing possible in cold sweats and panic attacks at the visualization of the outlined content]

 

 

So, here we go…

 

1. When all is said and done it is up to YOU to create the time and dedicated brain friendly space to be able to take a real stock of your current life-style. First thing in the morning when you first awake from slumber, catch your thoughts! No, literally, if you don’t consciously step in front of your thoughts, they will race ahead of your consciousness like a racehorse galloping from the stalls!

 

2. Hold a ‘meds’ (quiet time of reflection/meditation/prayer) each morning. Make the time! It’s important. Start by taking at least 5 refreshing deep breaths. Then in ‘your right mind’, ask yourself some simple questions, like…”Am I happy?”. “Am I healthy?” If you have just asked, “Am I wealthy?” return to the beginning and start the process again…maybe breathing in and out a little deeper. Don’t ‘tek dung’ when the answers come. Simply become non-judgmentally aware of your current realities.

 

3. Now it is time, after being in your right mind consistently for at least 14 days…consecutively, to start thinking about and visualizing an alternative way of living. Start gradually. Perhaps focus on the more intangible ‘things’ (read less consumer driven), like peace of mind, joy, good health, harmonious family life, quality time with children…the positive things you want to manifest in your life. See them clearly in your refreshed mind’s eye.

 

4. Then PAUSE for as long as feasible, to bear witness to the joy these thoughts alone bring to your being. Start preparing space and time for your revised livity…and watch it unfold.

 

5. CONTINUE TO OBSERVE STEPS 1-5 THROUGHOUT.

 

6. Once the self and family lifestyle has permeated your psyche, extend the vision outward over the next 30 days until you have visualized your-self, your family, the community, then the whole of Jamaica in harmony. Sound fool fool? Try it nuh, just in case.

 

7. Once you can see clearly now, because the strain has gone…prepare for the eureka moments, in those quite contemplative moments you have awarded yourself daily, when the penny drops, the big reveals as you catch your-self and determine…there is NO REAL NEED for the item you were about to purchase/order online!

 

8. CONGRATULATIONS! You are on your way to detachment!

 

I know it’s not easy. Even when we all know, even when we studied marketing (like myself), the ‘apparent’ need for certain ‘things’, a need created without our ‘knowing’ has becoming overwhelming to many of us. That was the plan. But there is hope. Mass detachment by market force or voluntary detachment by building a better alternative livity.

 

ROSE TINTED GLASSES?

 

 

Label me a ‘rose tinted glasses’ wearer, but I truly believe that we each have to go back to basics, especially in these pivotal times on our plane. Be courageous enough to press the mental refresh button, review our current ‘livity’ then re-define our selves and what is really important to us, from the heart & soul perspective and not the intellect or ego. Given that our perceptions of our world are fed by our thoughts and solidified in our beliefs, surely we have nothing to lose in collectively re-thinking a better reality? Join me in the optimistic visualization of such. A new dimension awaits us all.

 

P.S. Of course Sarifa Insurance Brokers, with its diversified service offerings, remained intact after the crash, as the vibration emanating from the entity resonated with the new cosmically aligned paradigm. 😉

 

 

Sep 4

FROM CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM?

 

 

Question. If the goods/services being advertised in the various media were absolutely necessary…that is to say they were ‘needed’ by the average human being (based on disposable income indicators), why do they hire actors or superstars to convince us? Why do they use near-naked males/females to stimulate the senses? Subliminal signs and sounds. Colour codes. And that’s just scratching the surface. If these goods/services were indeed necessary (not compulsory like motor insurance :)) wouldn’t the natural need for ‘things’, coupled with affordability, direct the human flow of customers to the respective ‘thing’? Furthermore, I just listened to a radio advertisement and, having a keen ear for voices, word choices, the authenticity and connection of the speaker to the overall message being conveyed, I found the tones of the characters used to be very robotic. Could it be the digital age compelling us to accept the monotonic tone of a robot to tell us what we MUST buy, lest we be haunted by a neighbourhood of fully equipped Joneses, left man/woman-less, lose street cred…or whatever the penalty implied in the ads for our NOT purchasing the goods/service being advertised. It all sounds like a subliminal stick up of the mind to me. There you are, torn between the items you absolutely MUST purchase and those you don’t get and then have to endure the shame, lower social ranking, poor self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy…in general the stresses arising from the knowledge that you don’t have the said high end commodity or the new brand of human weave, it’s much the same (especially if Mrs Jones/Lacretia respectively has one!!!). Exaggeration for some of you, but a real dilemma for others!

 

NO AGE LIMITS

 

 

Take your average teenager…my son for example…just 16 yrs of age and he has already developed a mild fixation on ‘the latest IPhone’. He is NOT working! How did the consumerism-wizards get a hold of these young minds that don’t earn a cent AND get them to convince us parents (whether by coercion/emotional blackmail) to spend so much (as a ratio of earnings) of our hard earned cash? Remember, I’m referencing the average and below teenager and don’t get me wrong, my son has an IPhone, but it’s certainly not the latest version…and he didn’t get this one ‘as it drop’ in the Apple stores! Case in point. I watched a YouTube video recently showing that a certain community in Liverpool (England), which was designated the ‘poorest’ part of the country, had record crowds at its Apple store in the town, on the morning of a new IPhone launch. Lines (‘queues’ for the British-British), were extremely long! The consumer bug had clearly bitten hard and embedded itself deeply in the psyche of those folk. Matter over mind you could say.

 

 

But what about us? Have you ever stopped to consider how badly bitten you are by the consumerism bug? How many things in your home, for example, are regularly used and not just giving you or the home-helper grief to dust each week? How triggered are you when the advertisements for, or even the second hand news about, the launch of the latest IPhone, BMW, Nike, Dolce & Gabbana …(I’ve run out of name brands as I’m a hopeless non-follower of fashion)…add your own brands here…then answer the question J. Now don’t be defensive. I am by no means judging anyone here, God forbid, I too am working daily towards a re-balancing of my life, re-evaluating what I need more of (which by the way is ostensibly non-material) and what I can identify as non-essential clutter (be it physical, mental or human), to lighten and simplify my life somewhat. My hardest trigger to resist comes from the vicarious pangs of wanting to help my son keep up his street cred amongst his peers, while pointing out to him that he must not put material things before people and a conscious livity, that the yearning for the IPhone is fed by the marketers who use their mind manipulation tricks, that keep persons reaching and reaching perpetually for ‘things’ that they don’t need. But heck. He’s been a great son, doesn’t ask for much, he did well in his CXC’s. Maybe just this once…let me check the cashflow? See, I’m not perfectly de-consumerised, but I plead Maternalism! 🙂

 

WHO IS AT THE CONTROLS?

 

 

So if we are all the consumer puppets, who/what is pulling our strings? Perhaps those benefiting most from the consistently turning consumerism treadmill, supported greatly by highly paid marketing houses and not forgetting the Joneses, who never fail to bring attention to their latest acquisitions. I heard recently on BBC Radio, which is one of the few media sources I still get a sense of ‘factual-ness’ from (remind me, that’s a different blog topic), that the top advertising agencies in the world now hire the top neurologists, to assist them in knowing how the human mind and brain work!!! Now that struck me, as a person fascinated by neurology, to the extent of becoming a Neuronet therapist to assist children with learning challenges, but I digress. Those corporately hired neurologists…by all accounts,  are not hired to find out what the REAL needs of consumers are…more so to further manipulate minds, to steer wealth/last pennies in the direction of capitalist giants. Case in point, right now ladies, count (in your head if you are not in close proximity to your closet); how much shoes yu have? Now, how many do you wear regularly? Ok, then. Nothing new here I hear you say, but as the mind manipulation will now be based on the latest neuroscientific research, developed by privately hired neurologists…advertisers will be taking the term ‘getting into our heads’ to new levels. As I think about it, these same neurologists could, if more morally than materially guided, be more useful to humanity by devoting their time and expertise to developing mental skills that foster universal harmony. Anyway. It’s not for me to judge, but I’m just saying, as a born-again marketer, preying on highly stressed and strategically targeted masses, through mind-bending advertising, just seems wrong-up! I don’t know if I will be classified as a whistle-blower, but I recall my marketing course had us exploring strategies for, ‘capturing’ the minds of the consumer, persuading them that they ‘need’ this or that product/service that they never knew existed. Keep them purchasing, working to purchase more, borrowing to purchase yet more, then, financially extended, family relations strained, health compromised and consistently exhausted, you convince them to take the commercially advertised drugs that will keep you going that little bit longer, without checking the cause of the pain, in between the commercially advertised 2 weeks vacations…after which, the pain still exists.

 

 

Wow. Not a very pretty picture, now that I’ve stopped to read back. So, let me change gear and share what possible alternatives there are for those of us still hooked by the consumer-chain yet open minded enough to explore an alternative ‘livity’… or at least ease up on the throttle of our racing consumption engine. I’m not advocating a cold turkey extraction from the consumer train…that would be tantamount to jumping off an actual moving train and experiencing the shock and resultant psychological disorientation…as you realise you have just taken your whole wardrobe of Gucci shoes and matching handbags to the charity shop! I know it’s not easy once you are entwined, to unravel the old livity and re-ravel a new one…without the proverbial ‘trappings’. See, we even give the ‘things’ a name representing bondage! So, let’s get creative, like the marketers of these multi-billion dollar advertising agencies…with their highly paid neurologists.

 

 

If George Orwell did it, picture this. We are now in the year 2030…

 

There will now be a one month intermission.

 

Log in again the first week of October to…

 

FIND OUT MAKEDA’S PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE LIVITY STRATEGIES IN PART 2 OF “CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM?