Working As a Nation: Recycling
The United States is responsible for the inception of mass consumerism. As colonists began to settle on North America in the early 1600's (ignoring some premature Spaniards), the machinery for the gigantic capitalist shrine was set in motion. Americans buy, and buy, and continue to buy massive amounts of products, but we have still failed to figure out what to do with many of these products once the original owners get tired of them.
Companies have no interest in promoting recycling of still useful resources. As WalMart founder Sam Walton discovered, the way to earn profit in a capitalist society is to keep product moving and selling. From this, we can understand the corporations and companies are inherently self-interested (to make a profit, they should be) and cannot have a use for conserving products and extending their life. Therefore, these organizations are not the place to turn in the quest for a society that lives leaner ad cheaper (translation: lower taxes).
Recycling is not heavily rewarded or espoused in the United States. The further that you travel outside of major city areas, the less likely it is that you will find dedicated recycling resources. Recycling pick upis unlikely to be found any further than 10 miles outside of a city, and the entire incentive for recycling is eliminated with just a little distance (this being the consumer's point of view, since they don't want to waste their gas to do something they receive little to no financial reward for). Yet, recycling is one area where the United States is losing money, because tossing out aluminum cans is ossing out money, and there are many more examples of this.
Why should we care? In the game of recycling, better use of resources leaves more for future use and also enhances economic performance. How is this so? In many cases, it is much cheaper to reuse the materials you have than to extract more from the earth (this is especially true of metals). Also, finished goods like televisions, vacuum cleaners, radios, microwaves, mattresses, and other items are gold to those that cannot afford them. If we recycle (or reuse) these items by providing them to those that could not afford new equipment by either donating or selling for a cheap price, then we ensure that these people have more liquid capital available for use. Not only does this improve the lot of poorer families, but it also ensures better economic performance. The reason is because providing goods to those in need is essentially reinvesting into the economy.
As nations grow larger and the space between people shrinks, we must learn how to operate cooperatively. Effective utilization of raw materials, finished goods, and good recycling procedures benefit both the wallets of consumers and the economic power of a nation. Contrary to popular belief, recycling doesn't have to mean sacrificing industrial power or profit; in many cases, using reources to the end of their useful life can help to promote a strong economy.