It Doesn’t Help the Rest of Us When the Wealthy Go Shopping

It Doesn’t Help the Rest of Us When the Wealthy Go Shopping

The world’s most inventive people may well be the apologists for our staggeringly unequal economic order. These clever folks have to be inventive. How else could they convince us to welcome, not fear, the concentration of our world’s income and wealth? The...
A Fossil-Fueled Fantasy

A Fossil-Fueled Fantasy

Newfangled carbon-capture power plants supposedly burn coal without poisoning the planet. They don’t. Extracting coal from the ground and disposing of its toxic byproducts makes a dirty mess no matter how it’s burned. But this “clean coal” ruse is conjuring up...
The Airline Industry’s Fee-for-All

The Airline Industry’s Fee-for-All

Those who say we should run government like a business must not be frequent flyers. Flying, which was once a fairly good experience, now amounts to being herded, harassed, barked at, and squeezed — while being dunned every step of the way for onerous fees. Make...
Consumer Choice: As American as Apple Pie

Consumer Choice: As American as Apple Pie

Meet the Arctic apple. In the field-trial stage since 2003, this fruit has had bacterial and viral DNA inserted into it — a genetic modification that prevents browning when bruised or sliced. One company, Okanagan Specialty Foods, has been testing these...
Apparently, Suite Crime Does Pay

Apparently, Suite Crime Does Pay

What should we, as a society, do with all those reckless financial industry execs who helped trigger the Great Recession and the tidal wave of foreclosures? Should we put these power suits behind bars? Or should we forgive and forget, and lavish down upon them...
Big Food Fight

Big Food Fight

I’m going to sell you something to eat, but I won’t tell you what’s in it. Trust me, the ingredients are perfectly safe — but I absolutely oppose telling you what you’re eating. I also won’t let independent scientists study the...
AT&T’s Upside-Down World

AT&T’s Upside-Down World

From electricity to earmuffs, once you buy a product or service from a company, it shouldn’t be any of its business how you choose to use it. Your power company doesn’t say you can’t use the energy-saving features on your new refrigerator unless you...
50 Years of Gutting America’s Middle Class

50 Years of Gutting America’s Middle Class

Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas, 50 years ago this month. Sprawled along a major thoroughfare outside the city’s downtown, that inaugural store embodied many of the hallmarks that have since come to define the Walmart way of doing...
Consumers Need to Know about Those Newfangled Ingredients

Consumers Need to Know about Those Newfangled Ingredients

Do you care what’s in the food you eat? A quick look at the labels on the products lining your supermarket shelves suggests that most of us do. Many products already bear labels proclaiming the number of calories, the grams of sugar, fiber, and fat, and other...
Pumping Gas Prices for All They’re Worth

Pumping Gas Prices for All They’re Worth

Oh my God. Gasoline is headed for five bucks a gallon. I read it in the newspaper, so I know it’s true. The national average is already creeping up on $4, and it’s bound to climb higher as the summer surge in travel approaches. FIVE DOLLARS A GALLON! Oh...
‘Tis the Season to Shop at Tiffany’s

‘Tis the Season to Shop at Tiffany’s

The economy is expanding, the unemployment rate is down, and consumers are spending again. The National Retail Federation expects holiday season sales to be up 3.8 percent over 2010, and other organizations predict increases of 3.5 percent to 4 percent. It all sounds...
Cereal Crimes

Cereal Crimes

Remember when “natural” meant things like blue sky, green grass, and food you could trust to be good for you? No more. Thanks to corporate greed, “natural” foods aren’t necessarily wholesome. Even when applied to granola, the term often...
At Peace with Christmas

At Peace with Christmas

It’s now officially too late to do your Christmas shopping early. That’s OK. Doing your Christmas shopping late counts too. Remember, it’s not the thought behind the gift that counts; it’s what you spend on it. Oh, I imagine you Xmasologists...
Mass-Marketing Goes Platinum

Mass-Marketing Goes Platinum

In today’s fast-moving world of consumer styles, when you’re out, you’re out. Not just out-of-style, but so far out that you no longer interest the big marketers. Thus it is that advertising authorities have deemed the middle class itself (roughly 60...