The Story of Stuff — A Critique of Leftist Propaganda (Part 1)

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  1. Posted September 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    What a bunch of anti-American garbage(no pun intended).

  2. Posted September 25, 2009 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Yeah… this is some crazy BS they’re trying to pull. I wish I’d known it was THIS bad when I first heard about it.

  3. Posted September 26, 2009 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    its not all bs, its actually pretty interesting.

  4. TwTube
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Did you know? This has been shared over 49 times on Twitter.

  5. wildabur
    Posted November 10, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    this is some crazy bs

  6. High School Kid
    Posted April 10, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I had to watch this in english and I am a junior. Most of the kids in class agreed with this video like kids with candy. In the end we had to write a essay about the importance of this crap. Very Bias Video

  7. Aaron
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me that we as humans spend most of our energy defending our POINT OF VIEW. What I find really funny is that HER argument is very “conservative” when it comes to conserving “resources”… isn’t this a conservative audience here? Where did your sense of conservation go? :-) jk

  8. Posted August 14, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Your prices argument is true to a certain extent. But what happens if prices rise in commodities that we rely on? I’m a Christian, but I can see that the marketplace is fundamentally flawed regarding peak oil because by the time the prices signal to the marketplace that it is time to shift, it’s too late.

    Oil is not like Coke becoming too expensive so we’ll switch to Pepsi. Oil is so foundational to our economy and everything we do, from mining, construction, agriculture (10 calories of fossil fuel energy to grow 1 calorie of food energy), and transport that it is almost like AIR — we need it to stay alive. We need oil to build our way off oil.

    You can see this in the Australian Federal Senate inquiry into peak oil.

    4.64 The committee notes concerns that markets will not respond in time to provide a smooth transition to a post peak oil world without government action. Given the uncertainty about much of the information on world oil supplies and the geopolitical instability of some key oil bearing regions, it is possible that there may be a risk that markets will under invest in oil and energy technologies, resulting in economic and social hardship when supply of conventional oil falls below demand.

    3.137 The committee cannot take sides with any particular suggested date for peak oil. However in the committee’s view the possibility of a peak of conventional oil production before 2030 should be a matter of concern. Exactly when it occurs (which is very uncertain) is not the important point. In view of the enormous changes that will be needed to move to a less oil dependent future, Australia should be planning for it now.

    So as a Christian concerned for how the imminent oil crisis will affect the 3rd world, let alone the Great Depression which will smack America around a bit (including my home country of Australia), I can see that IF governments become correctly informed about peak oil, there is a role for governments to intervene.
PS: I find the assertion that Christianity supports the right-wing position absurd. That’s an economic perspective, not a theological argument. I have many great Christian friends who are right wing, left wing, ‘green-wing’ or even swing voters depending on the issues and economic circumstances of the times. I know a Pendulum voter who votes left wing when he thinks society needs a bit more welfare intervention, and then right wing when society needs to pay off the debts of welfare intervention.

    Voting seems to be about the least harm to the most people, with lots of vagueness and uncertainty, not about instituting a theocracy on earth. I’m into 2 kingdoms theology and don’t see a place for dogmatic assertions that ‘right is ALWAYS RIGHT!’ ‘Right-wing’ may be right sometimes, but can also stuff up the world. George W was probably one of the worst American Presidents the world has ever had to bear. If only we’d listened to Carter’s malaise speech back in the 70’s we might not be as oil addicted and oil vulnerable as we are today.

  9. Alexander Rivas
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    such a great video.. i forwarded it to a few of my friends

  10. Posted April 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I disagree — that video critiquing ‘story of stuff’ ignores the physical realities out there. I’m both an environmentalist and a Christian who is concerned for both the economy AND our long term sustainability and the overall ‘fairness’ of the way we are using up the Earth’s supply of materials. So please don’t pigeon-hole me as just another lefty, I’m disappointed in *all* political parties at the moment!

    Here’s an AWESOME new technology that has just become cost-effective for turning ALL of our trash into useful petro-chemicals and fuels and building materials. Think of it as an ‘atomic recycler’ that splits landfill rubbish down to the constituent atoms and then moves them all in 2 different directions for 2 different purposes!

    A mix of high and low technologies can also supply much of the world’s needs in a renewable *MATERIALS* world, including skyscrapers built out of WOOD that can be made stronger than steel!

    So I have hope that we can eventually crack sustainable energy, technology, material flows, food and a good standard of living for the world. There is some hope.

    But don’t just bash people for asking the tough questions! We can’t all walk around in a rosy cloud of denial or we simply won’t make it through the challenges ahead. EG: Seen the price of oil lately? I briefed NSW politicians on peak oil back in 2005 when oil was in the headlines for the shocking price of $60 a barrel! 6 years ago we said the price of oil was only *trending* up from here on in. How did we do on that prediction? ;-)

  11. Posted April 20, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I’ll take a look at those links.

  12. Jason
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this was interesting to listen to both sides of the story. The argument of how price and supply vs demand is interesting, but personally I think that’s over simplifying things a bit. It’s a great analogy when referring to things we can live without like jewelry, but it’s a different matter when it comes to food and fresh air to breath.

  13. Posted April 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I have seen that “Story of Stuff” a few times before, and it was quite refreshing to have someone hold her accountable for her mishandling of the facts.

  14. Posted April 25, 2011 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Really Reece? So, as a general measure, what do you think the price of oil will be in say 5 years? Do you think it could double due to scarcity? Or will we be facing lower prices than today because it has been [i]rationed to essential industries only?[/i]

    Scarcity is a horrible word, but I suggest you get used to it.

  15. Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    In Reece’s defense, I think (he? she?) is just pointing out that some of the facts were incorrect. Isn’t that a fair statement?

  16. Marion
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Ever since I saw the first “Zeitgeist” video, I’ve been crawling the net for docs of this nature. I imagine others like me are quick to believe anything that appears in these exposé-style clips, but we forget that anyone with a computer can make them.

  17. Darrin Walker
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Why are films like this taught in schools? How did someone’s diatribe become official education material?

  18. Posted May 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    The critique of the “Story of Stuff” says that prices are ignored by her entire argument. She has, because the argument doesn’t hold. Without realising it the critique has just thrown in a straw-man and then contradicted itself. Let me explain.

    The critique has JUST said that the earth has ‘tons of resources we don’t even know how to extract yet’. OK, yes, the earth is big if one looks 4000km down to the centre. Um, relevance? The centre of the earth may as well be on the moon given our technological status today. So there’s heaps of resources that…. we don’t even know how to use yet. Cool! So in effect they’re resources but not what geologists call RESERVES. Learn the difference! RESERVES are things we can get at today with today’s technology at a reasonable price.

    EG: We leave about *half* the oil in the ground because it is almost impossible to mine without using more oil to get at it than we’d get in return. (ERoEI = Energy Returned on Energy Invested).

    In other words, when you burn more oil than you get, you close shop. That oil field is over. It’s like that with many resources. There’s lots THERE, but we can’t get at it cheaply enough.

    Now, thankfully, while RESERVE GROWTH does occur as the price goes up and more of the RESOURCE becomes RESERVES (higher price = more incentive to mine) there comes a point, as the critique said, where price becomes a self-limiting factor. Price rations the extraction of the resource. Consumers stop buying.

    In other words, there comes a point where even RESERVE GROWTH tops out because people don’t want to spend $400 just to fill up a tank of gas. (Or whatever resource we are talking about).

    In other words, there are limits to resources. The “Story of Stuff” was right to not even go into the complicated but ultimately futile story of RESERVE GROWTH because, ultimately, THERE ARE LIMITS.

    Now, while I don’t think the end of oil is the end of civilisation, and there are alternatives like electric cars, I think the ultimate point of this video is to raise the question because most of us just keep on consuming without asking where stuff is coming from or where it is going. I can visualise a world where most of our stuff is recycled through cheap plasma burner atomic recyclers which have just become economical. I can imagine closed loop nutrient cycles that stop all our phosphorus leaking out to sea.

    But are we there yet? No, and many of these challenges such as ‘peak oil’ and ‘peak phosphorus’ are here now, but will take 20 or 30 years to truly adapt to. So laugh it up. Congratulate this critique touting “RESERVE GROWTH” (not in as many words) and “price rationing” if you want to. But don’t pretend the critique made the problem go away.

  19. Posted May 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    The critique of the “Story of Stuff” says that prices are ignored by her entire argument. She has, because the argument doesn’t hold. Without realising it the critique has just thrown in a straw-man and then contradicted itself. Let me explain.

    The critique has JUST said that the earth has ‘tons of resources we don’t even know how to extract yet’. OK, yes, the earth is big if one looks 4000km down to the centre. Um, relevance? The centre of the earth may as well be on the moon given our technological status today. So there’s heaps of resources that…. we don’t even know how to use yet. Cool! So in effect they’re resources but not what geologists call RESERVES. Learn the difference! RESERVES are things we can get at today with today’s technology at a reasonable price.

    EG: We leave about *half* the oil in the ground because it is almost impossible to mine without using more oil to get at it than we’d get in return. (ERoEI = Energy Returned on Energy Invested).

    Mr Critique says “The environmental lobbyists that are having everybody buy wind plants and solar plants and all this other nonsense”.

    When you lose objectivity it shows, and your prejudices come out. It’s like opening your mouth and having your soul on display. Mr Critique is obviously a right-wing reactionary Denialist who believes we are in the middle of the biggest Conspiracy of all time as a group of thousands of climatologists pull the biggest con-job in history! Right, and the Moon Landing was faked and there really are Aliens at Area51.

    But forget global warming for a while. (It’s like raising Creationism with Creationist Christians. I’m a Theistic Evolutionist myself).

    What about that other nasty fact that right-wingers don’t want to acknowledge? Exponential consumption uses stuff fast. We’re at peak oil right now. Fine. Let’s DENY the obvious physics of global warming for another generation or so and run massive gas to liquids and coal-to-liquids plants to replace oil.

    1. The Hirsch report concluded that if we wanted to go down this route it would take 20 years.

    BZZZZT. Too late. We’re at peak oil now. Even the International Energy Agency admits this now! See ABC’s Catalyst for the key interview.

    I’ve probably said this before, but I briefed a bunch of politicians about peak oil 6 years ago, the day oil committed the ‘crime’ of breaking $60 a barrel. Our message back then was that $100 plus oil was coming. Did the politicians do anything? BZZZZT, too late, game over, thank you for playing!

    Now, where was I?

    Peak oil is here. So lets use other fossil fuels EVEN FASTER when there are ALREADY questions about how much gas and even coal there is! So if we REALLY want to stuff ourselves bad, we’ll just ignore the warning about our most important resource — oil — and go for the ultimate civilisation crusher, hitting PEAK FOSSIL FUELS at 100 miles per hour with no plan. (Smacks hand to forehead!!!) How stupid can you get? All these ‘drill baby drill’ denialists need to lift their heads out of their climate conspiracy theory fantasies and start to THINK about the bigger picture, our kids suddenly hitting exponentially more expensive oil, coal, and gas. No wait, I’m in my 40′s. MY generation will hit exponentially oil (already have!), coal, and gas.

    ////Coal: Resources and Future Production[2], published on April 5, 2007 by the Energy Watch Group (EWG) found that global coal production could peak in as few as 15 years.[17] Reporting on this, Richard Heinberg also notes that the date of peak annual energetic extraction from coal will likely come earlier than the date of peak in quantity of coal (tons per year) extracted as the most energy-dense types of coal have been mined most extensively.[18]

    Institute for Energy

    The Future of Coal by B. Kavalov and S. D. Peteves of the Institute for Energy (IFE), prepared for European Commission Joint Research Centre, reached conclusions similar to those of Energy Watch Group, and stated that “coal might not be so abundant, widely available and reliable as an energy source in the future”.[17] Kavalov and Peteves did not attempt to forecast a peak in production.

    US Energy Information Administration projects world coal production to increase through 2030.[19]

  20. Posted May 6, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    @Eclipse Now:

    wow. now THAT’S a rebuttal. thanks for all that info.

  21. Posted May 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Scott, but having ranted against the STUPIDITY in the Critique, please don’t take me for a ‘deep greenie’ who wants us all to revert to nearly peasant lifestyles. I think there are heaps of attractive technological solutions to enable a beautiful, comfortable, MODERN world with all the BEST things saved. Some of the junk to chuck? Suburbia. Why on earth would we deploy ourselves in the landscape in a manner that automatically assumes everyone wants to waste their time and money DRIVING?

    I am a passionate defender of New Urbanism, which enables not only a cheaper, MORE convenient, MORE trendy, MORE beautiful, MORE humane lifestyle, but could just save your wallet and your health! (People who move into New Urban lifestyles unconsciously start to lose weight precisely because the walk to the local shops is fast and easier than the old driving to the mega-mart).

    Even right-wing bloggers like Orson Scott Card are starting to write about the beauty in New Urbanism. The “American dream” is NOT the soulless package of driving home to sleep in a box disconnected from your local communities by miles of concrete and tarmac. No. The American dream is that anyone can make it! Somehow corporations and developers have repackaged the American (and Australian) dream to be “A freestanding suburban home = you’ve made it!” What a lie! We drive and drive and burn oil that clogs our lungs and kills our wallets and makes us vulnerable to oil wars, and why are we driving? On average it takes LONGER to walk from the mega-mall car-park to the shop/s you are actually seeking. That’s AFTER driving 15 minutes to the mall, and then driving 10 minutes around the mall! After all that driving you STILL have LONGER to walk than if you lived in a New Urban township. The whole thing is a con.

  22. Jamie
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    If the earth has ‘tons and tons of resources’ that we ‘don’t even know how to use’, isn’t that as good as not having any resources?

    What is the point of having tons and tons of resources that you do not know how to use?

    And if you do not know how to use it, how do you that is a resource in the first place.

    Yes, we can be save resources with efficiency but how efficient can we be? There will come a point in time where efficiency just can’t keep up with the rate of consumption.

    So at the end of the day, we should still do our part to protect the planet that we are living on.

  23. Steven J. Malman
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Well no matter what your opinions are it’s always important to listen to both sides of the story. I learned that from being a Chicago personal injury lawer. Thanks.

  24. Ward
    Posted October 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    interesting video.. the use of statistics are crazy

  25. Nik
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    @Eclipse Now

    WOW! I enjoyed reading your comments more than watching the video.

  26. Posted August 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Because we deal with technologies used by field workers in the hydraulic fracturing industry, I can tell you firsthand that there is no business more ripe with “BS propaganda” that environmentalists railing against the use of this method to extract natural gas from the ground. They do this despite the fact that natural gas is a much cleaner fossil fuel to burn then oil or coal and therefore reduces our reliance on foreign oil AND create non-outsourced jobs AND reduces greenhouse gas emissions… all of which are mantras of the environmentalists.

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  29. Posted February 10, 2014 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Like i said in the other comments, all of you should watch this video, it’s quite addictive.

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  32. Posted August 31, 2014 at 1:34 am | Permalink

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One Trackback

  1. By Alpha Cut on September 8, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Alpha Cut…

    The Story of Stuff – A Critique of Leftist Propaganda (Part 1) » Negative99…

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