Thursday, July 17, 2008

City Dwellers Angry That Someone is Taking Their Trash

According to this article San Francisco residents are angry that 'poachers' are sifting through their trash and recyclables for aluminum and other profitable treasures.

Am I the only one who finds this the least bit fucked up? It is trash. You threw it out. In doing so, you have waived all rights of ownership. If an ambitious person were to stay ahead of the local garbage collection, which will just put all of that crap in a landfill, and sift through it for things that he could sell to make a living, who are we to argue? Since when have we become a country that punishes innovation? No harm is being done, and jobs are being created. The treasures these 'poachers' sell are almost exclusively recyclables, so they are helping the environment. I don't see the harm. One could make a case that city recycling programs are losing money, but if that is the case, close them down, the privately owned scrap yards and recyclers would, by contrast, be doing well. Let these poachers run our recycling for us, and let the free market handle its business.

I can understand taking issue with 'garbage poaching' being done sloppily, leaving trash strewn about. Feel free to place littering sanctions upon these sloppy poachers, hell, set up some government regulations to ensure it is being done properly and safely. But don't punish the innovators finding jobs when the market isn't being so kind.


_J_ said...

"My trash" is an incredibly bizarre concept. It claims ownership of items one does not desire to own. "My trash" attempts to maintain ownership while removing ownership, while casting out.

Effectively in the minds of these people they are are faulting others for taking their property. Which would make sense if we didn't recognize the obvious problem of equating the concept of "trash" with the concept of "property".

I think it is a very interesting commentary on our obsession with ownership.

_J_ said...

That's not to say that one cannot own trash. It is just very odd that one would extend the scope of one's ownership to include trash.

kylebrown said...

I find it odder, that one would approve of one group of strangers which they pay, to take their trash, and not another group of strangers, who are willing to take their trash for free.

_J_ said...

Yeah, that is amazing.

I think that might have something to do with intent. The person intends for their trash to be collected by Party A so when Party B takes the trash the individual feels as if they have been slighted.

Sort of like when a squirrel eats the birdfood of a very controlling person.

kylebrown said...

that is true, unfotunately your example doesn't work that well.

The intent of the person paying for trash removal is to have their trash removed. This gets done either way, someone else just makes a buck along the way, and some of their shit gets recycled.

The intent of the controlling person with bird feed is to feed the birds. If a squirrel eats the bird food, then the squirrel gets fed, and less birds get fed.