Sunday, December 16, 2007

Watch the author of Fast Food Nation on Fora.TV

I recommend very highly this interview of the author of Fast Food Nation and other important works about the reality of the American economy.

His work serves to illustrate his two most important points. First, he argues that the economy's structure, more than any "evil" power-brokers, that depresses the wages of the poor and middle class, and neglects consumers' safety. He offers the example of a CEO who supports unfair wages to protect his or her corporation's profits. Were this person replaced today, the new CEO tomorrow would have to keep doing the same thing. Its the structure of our economy's laws and regulations that force corporations to behave as they do.

As another example, he recalls speaking with meat packing executives appalled by the conditions of their workers. But as long as any competitor is allowed to abuse employees for the sake of profit, other companies will be forced to do so. Or face losing their businesses.

His second point regards the mythology surrounding the "Free Market". Many corporations and political leaders advocate for diminished government regulation of health standards, environmental standards and wage standards in the name of the "Free Market". But Schlosser points out that even 100 years ago, a pro-business republican administration (Teddy Roosevelt) recognized that left to their own devices and abandoned to the pressures of unregulated competition, corporations themselves would destroy their own markets. Free markets, America understood a century ago, require structure and boundaries to remain free over time.

Of course, Schlosser says all this better than I do, so please check out the video.

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