Where Is Consumerism Heading? - 1975

( . . and not to the happiest place on earth either!) In 1975, the big concern (post-Watergate) was where our consumer society was heading. Ralph N

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( . . and not to the happiest place on earth either!)

In 1975, the big concern (post-Watergate) was where our consumer society was heading. Ralph Nader, riding the crest of the Consumer bandwagon was actively pursuing the development of a Consumer Advocacy Agency, geared toward safeguarding the people of the U.S. against unsafe water, unsafe cars, unsafe food and anything else seen as endangering our society.

Then, as now, it was met with a lot of resistance and fear. Fear that all these regulations would indeed hurt and doom our society, our economy and our free enterprise system, not improve on it. Trying to protect the American people from unscrupulous business practices was seen as a dangerous red flag in the eyes of the Republican leadership.

As part of its continuing series of National Town Meetings, broadcast by NPR, a debate and Q&A session took place on April 23, 1975. It featured Ralph Nader - Consumer advocate and Senator Carl Curtis (R-Nebraska).

It is interesting to note the level of desperation Curtis addresses the Meeting, citing dire consequences to even our Foreign Policy should such legislation become law.

Ralph Nader:

"The Consumer Advocacy Agency deals with such things as dangerous drugs, flammable fabrics, unsafe cars, gouging energy prices, contaminated food, and these are the areas that will be the province of the consumer agency. It also doesn’t regulate a thing. All it does is just make the government agencies, hold their feet to reason, and data. And if they can’t support their procedural and substantive courses of action, then this agency can take other agencies to court. That’s all. And that’s enough for big business."

Carl Curtis:

"I hold in my hand a letter from the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, vigorously opposing this act. They say is will disrupt emergency food aid to foreign nations through the beneficial PL-480 Assistance Food Program, and thus seriously affect U.S. foreign policy. I’ll illustrate how that can happen: The Consumer Advocacy Agency can challenge a decision to send some food abroad, on the ground that any food that is shipped out of this country, it will effect the price here. They can drag that on for a long time."

As I've pointed out in the past, and as I've shown with posts dealing with the question of Health Care, the wages of fear and distortion are enormous. The resistance towards anything that opposes the status quo is almost immediately met with the threat of dire consequences. Consequences that are not based on anything remotely resembling facts.

But it is all fear. It is sometimes the only card those about to lose power can play.

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