Monday, March 12, 2012

The Corporate Market

We often talk of the free market - and people are either pro capitalism or against it.   The trouble is - we've never had a free market.

What I want is the "Perfect Market" as defined by economists - this is a market where the consumer has available all the information needed to make an informed decision, combined with the "Free Market".

What we seem to have now is the Corporate Market.   In the corporate market, corporations determine what information the consumer should have.   Take for example the Dolphin Safe Tuna labels.   We spent years and years trying to get this into place, when it finally happened, people voted with their wallets, eventually you didn't see any tuna with out that little certification.

Conservationists worked to create the Forest Stewardship Council, which certifies organizations which in turn certify wood products as coming from sustainable practices.     In some cases this wood is more expensive, but when it is - it's usually not by much.   When I'm buying wood, I try to get FSC wood, I don't always succeed but I try, because it's worth the extra cost and effort TO ME, to buy wood that is harvested in a sustainable manner.  

Choice - Give me the Information and let me CHOOSE.

Which leads us to this little gem.    Apparently some of our - what regulators? have decided that the WTO trumps the U.S. Congress .. you know the Idiots that Appointed the Regulators (which is a whole other topic).   Last time I check'd we got to decide our own laws, and could specify what was legally required on labels.   Tell the WTO to go pound sand.   To misquote and slightly paraphrase John BigBoote "It's not your goddamned country. Understand monkey boy!"*

I have issues with Giant corporations and the effect they have on what is already a screwed up and decidedly not "free" market.     The Perfect Market could probably handle giant corporations, because you'd know where it came from, which devision of what subsidiary of what corporation of what conglomerate the product came from and if you didn't like which politicians they were buying - you could vote with your wallet.   But they don't want you to know that kind of stuff.   So misinformation or no information is what they're after.   Besides what could you possibly want to know that you can't get from a 30 second commercial, written by and ad agency, who works for a marketing department that avoids talking to their engineering department as much as possible.

Don't get me wrong- I'm all in favor of business, I have no problem with someone making a LOT of money (I often wish that someone where me).   Where I have a problem is with the lies of commission and omission.  I have no problem with the rich - when was the last time a poor person gave you a job?   But I DO have a problem with them getting their money by misrepresenting the products they offer.

*From The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzi.  - The actual quote I believe was "It's not my god damned planet.  Understand monkey boy."  - but in this case it is my god damn planet, and my god damn country so...

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