J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 01-31-2018

Compassionate capitalism – The Denver Post

Political theorist Benjamin R. Barber should have considered hiring CNN’s Lou Dobbs as his publicist. Without realizing it, Dobbs recently outlined with great eloquence the main tenets of Barber’s fine book, “Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.” Dobbs claims that American capitalism has been corrupted, that “Both political parties are funded by the same interests: corporate America. In our midterm election, $2.6 billion in campaign funds came from corporate America. And before it was a free market, it was a political system, a representative democracy that makes those free markets possible. And so long as you put primacy over free markets rather than individual rights and liberties you are turning your back on the founding values of this nation We are first citizens before we are consumers. We are first citizens before we are units of labor. And this is first a nation before it’s a free market or an economy.” Barber shares Dobbs’ zealousness for a return to a more gentle and compassionate capitalism, one that remains committed to mainstream values such as work and investment saving and learning to defer our own gratification for future generations. The “Evildoers” in Barber’s lexicon are mass marketers who have lost any shred of a moral compass, and lure millions of Americans into massive shopping malls where there is nothing to distract them other than the pursuit of acquiring things they don’t really need, but have been convinced are essential to their sense of well-being. Barber points out that educational and government institutions, which once served as a balancing forces to rampant consumerism, have simply joined the fray, leasing their classrooms and cafeterias and football stadiums to the highest bidders without regard for quality or integrity of product. Barber concludes that the progression of wanton capitalism has created “a nation that places a lower point on teaching its children how to thrive socially, intellectually, even spiritually, than it does on training them to consume.” Starbucks founder Howard Schultz concedes that he isn’t really selling coffee, but rather “The romance of the coffee experience, the feeling of warmth people get in Starbucks stores.” Barber believes the danger of these emotional attachments to products is that they awaken excessive desires in people they didn’t even know they had. Based on truthiness. Barber fears that today’s consumers choose superfluous products based on the “Truthiness” of them, a knee-jerk, gut response to titillation, rather than a rational decision to purchase something one genuinely needs and can afford. Barber is not just some modern-day Benjamin Franklin lecturing us on impulse control. We remain infantilized and powerless over the more important decisions in our lives. Barber is an engaging writer, but sometimes falls prey to the very “Truthiness” he deplores.

Keywords: [“Barber”,”more”,”market”]
Source: http://www.denverpost.com/2007/03/15/compassionate-capitalism

Compassionate capitalism – The Denver Post

Political theorist Benjamin R. Barber should have considered hiring CNN’s Lou Dobbs as his publicist. Without realizing it, Dobbs recently outlined with great eloquence the main tenets of Barber’s fine book, “Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.” Dobbs claims that American capitalism has been corrupted, that “Both political parties are funded by the same interests: corporate America. In our midterm election, $2.6 billion in campaign funds came from corporate America. And before it was a free market, it was a political system, a representative democracy that makes those free markets possible. And so long as you put primacy over free markets rather than individual rights and liberties you are turning your back on the founding values of this nation We are first citizens before we are consumers. We are first citizens before we are units of labor. And this is first a nation before it’s a free market or an economy.” Barber shares Dobbs’ zealousness for a return to a more gentle and compassionate capitalism, one that remains committed to mainstream values such as work and investment saving and learning to defer our own gratification for future generations. The “Evildoers” in Barber’s lexicon are mass marketers who have lost any shred of a moral compass, and lure millions of Americans into massive shopping malls where there is nothing to distract them other than the pursuit of acquiring things they don’t really need, but have been convinced are essential to their sense of well-being. Barber points out that educational and government institutions, which once served as a balancing forces to rampant consumerism, have simply joined the fray, leasing their classrooms and cafeterias and football stadiums to the highest bidders without regard for quality or integrity of product. Barber concludes that the progression of wanton capitalism has created “a nation that places a lower point on teaching its children how to thrive socially, intellectually, even spiritually, than it does on training them to consume.” Starbucks founder Howard Schultz concedes that he isn’t really selling coffee, but rather “The romance of the coffee experience, the feeling of warmth people get in Starbucks stores.” Barber believes the danger of these emotional attachments to products is that they awaken excessive desires in people they didn’t even know they had. Based on truthiness. Barber fears that today’s consumers choose superfluous products based on the “Truthiness” of them, a knee-jerk, gut response to titillation, rather than a rational decision to purchase something one genuinely needs and can afford. Barber is not just some modern-day Benjamin Franklin lecturing us on impulse control. We remain infantilized and powerless over the more important decisions in our lives. Barber is an engaging writer, but sometimes falls prey to the very “Truthiness” he deplores.

Keywords: [“Barber”,”more”,”market”]
Source: https://www.denverpost.com/2007/03/15/compassionate-capitalism

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