Friday, December 3, 2010

consumer choice

If there's a perfect hypothetical to test the limits of one's committment to free consumer choice, it's this: What if I offer your newborn a cocaine-laced milk bottle? I'll come back the next day and offer two bottles, one with a yellow stripe around the top, one with a red stripe. The one with the red stripe is laced; the other is normal breast milk. Then I'll come back every day for the next year with the same choices for your cocaine-addicted baby. Free market, anyone?

As for the question of how to prevent this scenario--an analogue to what corporations like McDonald's actually do in targeting children with advertising and addicting them with chemicals--the kneejerk reaction among progressives tends to be government action. Anything that hurts the McDonald'ses helps the world. A non-government-dependent way to address the problem is to boycott the worst companies when possible, support local businesses, reduce your overall consumption, continually educate yourself, and insist on talking politics as much as possible in your everyday life, on facebook, email, etc.