Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Pigs of Hogtown

Addendum {24 June 2009, 17:49 EDT}:: I forgot to include that the Toronto city councillors received a 2.4% raise, despite the severe budget situation.

The Toronto garbage strike {city workers represented by CUPE 416} is in day three. Despite Premiere McGuinty's confidence in a forthcoming solution, I expect the provincial government to legislate then back-to-work before long.

In the study of consumer behaviour, there's acquisition, consumption, and disposal processes. The city sealed trash and recycling bins, but that didn't stop people from just piling up garbage or wedging their Tim Horton's cups between the shrinkwrap and the bins. Way to stay classy, Toronto.

Walking to and from a play, I went through Yorkville, an upscale shopping area. No piles of garbage and the streets were clean. Although it seems like the whole city is under construction. Speaking of construction, I saw one photo of "construction waste" {carpet remnant} being dumped illegally in park. There are supposed stiff fines for such dumping.

Along Yonge was another matter, as well as in the public parks and walkways, with trash and recycling bins overflowing. It's almost as if people panic and lose their minds when they can't throw stuff away immediately. Online, every so often there's a comment about reducing the consumption of disposable products and packaging in the first place, which I think is an excellent point. Citizens were asked to store their garbage this week, but I saw plenty of bins on curbs on my walk last evening. Generally speaking, I find Toronto to be a relatively clean city, particularly when compared to New York, but I do wonder what compels people to think it's OK to literally trash the town. Is this a case of the tragedy of the commons, where without property rights people will act in their own self-interests with impunity? Under certain circumstances, do people revert to a Hobbsean state, of no "rights," only "freedoms"? No matter, the city has gone to the pigs.

Also, online, there are references to privatization. In Etobicoke, there is garbage service because its privatized. I'm not affected, since I'm in a building that contracts out garbage and recycling. This isn't without costs, as the monthly homeowners fees in my building are a few hundred dollars and ever increasing. I think before people advocate privatization, they should have full knowledge of the tax implications. That said, I think more transparency on the part of the City of Toronto and CUPE is in order.

The it is::

Twitterversion:: #newblogpost #Garbagestrike in #Toronto. City going to the pigs. Tragedy of commons? Hobbesean state? Idiocracy? @Prof_K

Song:: Garbage - Chairlift

Video, Live, Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon 5 August 2008::


linnyqat said...

Well there's an easy solution to this problem. In 2002, the Pope was scheduled for a visit, and thank, er, God, the city was saved from itself.

"Operator, information, get me Jesus on the line"...

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

Here's a Tweet I got from @TokyoTom::

#Garbagestrike #Toronto. Hobbesean state? No, monpoly in a fight w/ monopsony. Get govt out of garbage bus. & let consumers choose

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

@LinnyQat:: Ah, more deus ex machina, eh?

@TokyoTom:: I think you're on to something about monopoly control & monopsony. Let's be sure not let Tony Soprano take over. At the very least, I want a lot more transparency and accountability when it comes to city support services.