Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

The high price of materialism

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Psychologist Tim Kasser discusses how the culture of consumerism undermines our well-being. When people buy into the ever-present marketing messages that "the good life" is "the goods life," they not only use up Earth's limited resources, but they are less happy and less inclined toward helping others. The animation both lays out the problems of excess materialism and points toward solutions that promise a healthier, more just, and more sustainable life.

Boom spells doom in capital flow

The present rise in capital flows to developing countries is having destabilising effects on currencies and asset bubbles that could eventually bust, warns a new South Centre paper.

By Martin Khor

Huge funds at near-zero interest made available by the United States and other developed countries to boost their flagging economies are instead fuelling booms in capital flows to developing countries and in commodity prices.

Both booms are already having destabilising effects on many developing countries. And they will also end in a bust, as has happened with previous booms, and this will have an even more damaging impact.

Put a hold on FTAs with the US and EU

altThe Malaysian Government last week has been negotiating free trade agreements  (FTAs) with the United States of America (via the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPP) and with the European Union (EU). These negotiations were taking place, simultaneously in Auckland, New Zealand (from Dec 6 to 10) and in Brussels, Belgium (Dec 6 to 9).

The Consumers Association of Penang is deeply concerned about the implications of these FTAs on the various aspects of Malaysia’s development.
  
The highly problematic bilateral Malaysia-US FTA negotiations were stalled before, but the US is very likely to demand the same things in the TPP in the current round of negotiations.
 

A credible Housing Policy is long overdue


housing-problemsHaving decent shelter, adequate food, good health care and education are basic human rights of our citizens. The government has a moral responsibility to ensure that majority of its citizens can either own their house or afford to rent public housing.

Sadly for the citizens the government is not taking the problem seriously or is going about it the wrong way. For if it was genuine in making housing affordable it should be reining developers, bankers, and speculators - all the parties who play an important role in rising property prices.
 

Rethink on export-led growth paradigm

The slowdown in the US economy has heightened the urgency for developing and emerging economies to change their growth strategies.
 
By Kanaga Raja
 
The developing and emerging-market economies that have focussed their current export-oriented strategies on the markets of the major developed economies for achieving growth and job creation should rethink their policies, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has advised.