These giant corporations have the deep pockets necessary to spend lots of cash lobbying governments in order to keep environmental, consumer protection and workplace laws suppressed in their favor so their production costs are even lower, so the small number of executives at the top of the food chain can make even more money at the expense of the consumer and the workforce. Every day, companies fight efforts to require fair wages and benefits, fair labeling laws and regulations that require them to clean up their own hazardous waste and control dangerous emissions. And a lot of times, they win. Why? Because they have the money to pay the lawyers and lobbyists; money they get from you and me. There's no money in consumer and environmental protection, and therefore no one to fight them except for us.
Ruppel Shell uses a great example with milk: If a marketplace has two kinds of clearly labeled milk for sale, say pure milk for a dollar and watered down milk for fifty cents, consumers can purchase whichever they choose and both buyer and seller are happy. If the milk producers start watering down the milk and not labeling it, the sellers of pure milk will be screwed, because consumers will buy the watered down milk thinking it's pure and won't pay the additional cost for the real stuff. Sellers of real milk will sell less and less because consumers will think they're being cheated by the higher price. Pretty soon the sellers of real milk will either be forced to go along with the program and water down their milk, too, so they can compete or be driven out of business, The end result is that consumers will no longer have a choice; they can only buy crappy milk because that's all that's available. This is what has happened in every single industry on earth. Each and every television is made by one of three companies. Dozens of automobile manufacturers have been reduced to a handful, and all new cars look alike. Consumers have no real choice and goods are limitless but of low quality.
So, pretty depressing, huh? But there are things we can do. We're like the ants in The Bug's Life and we need to stand up to those dirty rat-finking grasshoppers. There's a lot more of us than them and if we band together we can mow them right over. Know the real cost of your consumer goods and be willing to pay the true price in cash up front, instead of in pain and suffering for people all over the world for years to come. Look for locally made goods and locally grown foods. Patronize your neighborhood stores instead of the big boxes. Pay attention to where things come from and ask the hard questions about how goods in America can have such a low initial cost, and where the true cost is being hidden. Shop at your local thrift store. Keep track of how your representatives vote on the important consumer and environmental issues, and let them know what you think. Go hiking on Labor Day instead of shopping the sale at the mall. Ants unite! Power to the people!
Happy Labor Day weekend!