Culturally bankrupt shoppers are now buying twice as many forks as knives, according to a British department store. The Brits blame the erosion of their cherished culture on “the American habit of using a single fork.” And that’s not all. Apparently we’re also ruining their understanding and respect for the elegant tradition of proper place settings.
Considering we spend a good deal of time focusing on legislation that protects consumers and/or (usually or) businesses, we thought it appropriate to point out one of the big historical moments of trade law, not to mention human rights—tomorrow marks the “200th anniversary of Jan. 1, 1808, when the importation of slaves into the United States was prohibited.” Hey, it didn’t stop the madness, but at least it was a start.
Apparently “Supercapitalism” is making the rounds over at AlterNet, because they keep writing about it. This time there’s a good interview with the author, former labor secretary Robert Reich, and he takes the opportunity to summarize his main arguments from the book.
Wall Street’s relentless drive for short-term profit is ruining corporate America and the consumer experience, according to John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group. The overseer of one of the world’s largest mutual funds appeared on Bill Moyers Journal to discuss a New York Times investigation that revealed substandard care at nursing homes owned by investment firms. According to Bogle, the trend is not contained, and has dire long-term consequences:
The financial sector of our economy is the largest profit-making sector in America. Our financial services companies make more money than our energy companies — no mean profitable business in this day and age. Plus, our healthcare companies. They make almost twice as much as our technology companies, twice as much as our manufacturing companies. We’ve become a financial economy which has overwhelmed the productive economy to the detriment of investors and the detriment ultimately of our society.
Earlier this month we asked our readers, are you a consumer or a citizen? It was sparked by comments from Robert B. Reich, who’s written a book called “Supercapitalism” that argues that we as consumers are in effect our own worst enemies—our collective desire to save a buck or earn more on our investments are contributing to the increasing “decline of democracy.” AlterNet has posted an excerpt from his book that expands on this idea of how we undermine our own best interests with, well, our other best interests.
A research group in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the spike in violent crime, particularly robberies, in the past two years correlates with the rising popularity of the iPod line of products. They don’t really back this up with rigorous statistical analysis, they just say it. So now you know.