5 cents ea.

For the past decade or so my retirement plan has been to think of a great new app and then sell it to everyone in the world for 5 cents apiece. But whenever I ask my friend (who’s way more tech savvy than I) if he thinks this is the one— the app that will make it possible for me to go live on an island and count my nickel royalties, he always says the same thing, “Great idea for an app. It was invented about ten years ago.”

We can pull out our phones (which are pretty much on us all the time), record something we’ve just seen, and then post it for the rest of the world to see within ten minutes— less if you’re a Millennial. All this recording and tracking has its upside and down; without a doubt the NSA has more useless information than they know what to do with, but everyone is, for the first time, in on the global kitten watching joke. The 1%ers are no longer the only ones in-the-know, which means we could actually experience democracy in our lifetime.

Republicans say they don’t want the government ‘up in their grill’ regulating this and taxing that, (unless it pertains to women’s reproductive health) they say a free market is the way to go. And democrats claim government is necessary to ensure we have potable water and a few trees left for future generations. But we can all agree that all our government has time to do these days is fundraise and sign legislation the lobbyists hand to them. So maybe it’s time to look at other options. We needed elected officials in the past to represent our best interests because communication ran at the speed of smell, and because we had to work all day every day. “Back in my day, we had games too. We played Gut the Chicken and Don’t Let the Fire Go Out. My favorite was Find Water.” –Anonymous internet meme

But today, our representatives are chosen by corporations and so they can’t represent us because they have to spend all of their time catering to the fat cats who got them there in the first place. It looks like it’s up to us if we want to keep enjoying things like pesticide-free food, clean energy, the right to bare arms, legs, breasts, etc. The good news is that we have the technology to replace Congress; yep, there’s an app for that.

Buycott is a free app that gives us, the consumers, all the necessary information to make informed choices on our purchases. It will not only show us who the parent company is, but also which campaigns/issues that company supports or denies; in other words, who we are really giving our money to and what they will do with it. (While it makes me a more informed shopper and I feel good about my purchases, shopping takes much longer because I get stuck in each aisle scanning every frickin barcode.)

This concept works on many levels, from groceries to government (Countable is a free app that keeps track of your representatives’ shenanigans.) If we the people have the facts, as quickly as they’re happening, then we can vote for and buy the laws and products that align with our ideals; essentially ending the fraudulent feeding frenzy that is Corporate America.

Another big step to shutting down oligarchy in America is, of course, that we have to stop buying so much useless crap. Decorating the house is a time-honored tradition, and who doesn’t love a chaotic scene of Santa’s sleigh hijacked and crashed by a deviant elf gnome on the front yard… But is spending hundreds of dollars at WalMart trying to make the entire house smell like faux fresh pine really enhancing anyone’s party? Because it sure isn’t helping the trees; “Making money out of paper, making paper out of trees. We’re making so much money we can hardly breathe.” –Todd Snider

I’m as guilty as the next girl when it comes to finding great holiday bargains, but now I’m making more educated choices with my shopping dollars, even saving a few for my sandy beach retirement. Hallelujah!

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