Consumer Freedom

26 Oct

After watching this video, some of the points they were making were somewhat confusing to me.  I understand that then Center for Consumer Freedom is portraying both sides to the story and they want us to have knowledge and insight as to what is and what has gone on in the history of these organizations. I agree that they should also stop small groups of people from dictating choices for everyone. We live in a Republic turning Democracy now and should not ever go to a Dictatorship like countries once had before. The Center for Consumer Freedom wants consumers to know the truth about these organizations.

Although I do not know a lot about PETA and The Center for Science in the Public Interest, I found it odd that they had so many contradictory statements and morals before. I found it really interesting and almost surprising that a well known organization such as the Humane Society of the United States was funded so much, yet the donations they constantly receive do not go directly to helping animals. I mean I’m sure they donate a small portion to the animals in need but probably not as much as they are receiving. According to my Marketing class, a “bottleneck” is only allowing a limited amount of information. This can be related to “bottleneck corporations” as Patel also talks about, by them only allowing a limited amount of information to get into the heads of the consumers. For Example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is about being healthy but they lacked to tell the consumer that before they were against trans fat, they were all for it. Only allowing a certain amount of information out can be a positive and negative thing, but lying to the consumer decreases respect.

According to class discussion and Patel, many of our products are imported from other countries where we are not necessarily told how the product was produced, what kind of conditions and who the employees are, we are simply the consumer who either has enough money to buy locally grown and organic food or the consumer who buys cheap food and still essentially supports the poor conditions that are going on that are also hidden. I think as people grow older they will eventually learn what products to buy but as a college student it is hard to take everything into consideration when in fact we do not have a lot of funds to buy local, organic foods. We merely have to buy what we can afford at the time and possibly occasionally splurge on necessary items. It all breaks down to the value of what you are purchasing and whether or not you care enough to spend more or would rather feed a family for less money.

Referring back to Patel’s statement of “bottleneck corporations”, the consumer should be more aware of what is going on around us, especially in the food industry. Many companies will try to deny and claim that they have no idea what is going on, but how can you not know the ins and outs of your company? When watching the Cocoa video in class, it dawned on me that these huge corporations are blinded and only want to see what is good when in turn they know exactly what is going on with their company. It essentially makes the consumer look respect for such a well known company and when one consumer looses respect it can create a chain effect and many consumers will catch on.

 

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3 Responses to “Consumer Freedom”

  1. djlwsu October 27, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    You write: “I understand that then Center for Consumer Freedom is portraying both sides to the story and they want us to have knowledge and insight as to what is and what has gone on in the history of these organizations.” – Do you really think they are inviting multiple perspectives and if so are they inviting multiple perspectives based on shared knowledge and science? Check out wikipedia discussion of group: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Consumer_Freedom or the following article about the group: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_for_Consumer_Freedom.

    You also seem to argue that these groups are fighting for choice yet how does this fit with Patel? How do your comments here (“We live in a Republic turning Democracy now and should not ever go to a Dictatorship like countries once had before”), connect to issues of food desserts, the food system, etc? How does it fit with the types of apples available at the market or the ways in which corn is produced?

    You rightly talk about the bottleneck and the question is what is the relationship between an organization like this and those companies in the center of the bottleneck? How are they defining choice and what is erased from their definition? As you rightly note, “choice” is a complex process and how does this group erase the complexity and define choice not in terms of ethical treatment of workers, environmentally-sound farming, etc. but in terms of whether people should be eating chips

  2. djlwsu November 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Good. The group that produced/uploaded this video is a lobbyist group.

    Check out wikipedia discussion of group: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Consumer_Freedom or the following article about the group: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_for_Consumer_Freedom to get a better sense of what this group is about

    In terms of its argument, it is claiming that lobbyists and activists groups infringe on the choices of people whether in the food industry or elsewhere. Doesn’t that assume that there are choices? What does Patel teach us here? Is this group trying to protect the illusion of choice? You talk about the bottleneck, but where does this group fit? Who do they represent and why

  3. Ben Blustein December 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    As consumers we should be more alert about what these corporations do with their products and these corporations should not be hiding their information from us. We are more concerned about the prices of products that we purchase, we get sidetracked from what corporations are doing illegally and unethically. It is also shocking to see how large corporations really do not see what is going on outside their offices. It reminds me when we watched the video about the African children being trafficked to cocoa beans plantations in the Ivory Coast.

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