Friday, October 5, 2007

Got Meat?


Can you Topps this?

Back in my high school days, we actually had to read books that had nothing to do with tests. One of them was Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," an expose of the horrors of the unregulated meat industry written in 1906. Boy, even in high school, were we mad at the antics of an unregulated industry run amuck. All kinds of icky stuff ended up on your burger. So the system was reformed and regulation came to the meat industry mostly as a result of Sinclair's book.

Now business interests weren't very happy and they stated praying for a savior. And their prayers were answered by a massive publicity campaign about how government stifled the little ole business community. Bureaucracy run wild. Remember those $600 bolts being bought? Stories came out about the horrors of regulation and how it interfered with a free market economy. And, goodness, the expense of sending all those meat inspectors into the field. Bet there is less meat inspection going on now than 50 years ago.

Thus, we get the Topps EColi scandal. They are already out of business. (Topps, not EColi). A scam to try to avoid paying out what will amount to enormous sums? Probably open up tomorrow under a new name. Sppot would work.

What is interesting is how the neoliberals -- our friends in the Democratic Party for the most part -- are pushing the same line.

In How the neoliberals stitched up the wealth of nations for themselves, George Monbiot says:
Neoliberalism claims that we are best served by maximum market freedom and minimum intervention by the state. The role of government should be confined to creating and defending markets, protecting private property and defending the realm. All other functions are better discharged by private enterprise, which will be prompted by the profit motive to supply essential services. By this means, enterprise is liberated, rational decisions are made and citizens are freed from the dehumanising hand of the state.

This, at any rate, is the theory. But as David Harvey proposes in his book "A Brief History of Neoliberalism," wherever the neoliberal programme has been implemented, it has caused a massive shift of wealth not just to the top 1%, but to the top tenth of the top 1%.
The entire article is at my Norms Notes blog.

Lois Weiner in Neoliberalism, Teacher Unionism, and the Future of Public Education cuts quickly to the chase by linking the exact same anti-government environment to the attempts to reform education by both right wing conservatives and neoliberals. Get educators out of education decision making and put generals, lawyers, MBA's and corporate executives in charge of school systems. If vouchers fail, try tuition tax credits. If not that, charters, more charters.

Their efforts came to fuition in No Child Left Behind, which will ultimately result in a balkanized, privateer school system which, rather than close the achievement gap, will result in people being poorer (both monetarily and educationally) than ever.

6 comments:

  1. Ever think about going vegetarian? It's not just the meat packing plants that are the problem, but the whole raising of animals (chicken and fish included).

    There is no reason to eat dead animals at all unless you consider selfishness a reason...

    So, how about it Norm???
    Check out Go Veg.com or check out
    101 reasons to be vegetarian

    Ten billion animals are tortured and slaughtered each year. And, we are depopulating the oceans--that is why the sharks and whales are beaching themselves....

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  2. I would have been one of those beached whales if it wasn't for Unity

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  3. I love dead animals on my pizza

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  4. Ron the backstabber eats ocelots but only if they're roadkill.

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  5. I weep for the souls of dead broccoli.

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  6. Unity serves fried Ocelot at executive board meetings.

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