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bowling aloneIs capitalism only relevant when it drives prices downward?  If one chooses to purchase an item that is more expensive than its competition, for whatever reason, have we crossed a threshold to complacent pretension?  A recent New York Times article, by Anand Giridharadas, purports that activism through purchasing power, lovingly referred to in the article as ‘buycotting’, is somehow disengaging us with real political activism.  Going on to say that today’s fancy consuming is a “sign of how corroded citizenship has become that shopping is the closest many of us are willing to come to worrying about labor laws, trade agreements, agricultural policy.”  The article also conflates the purchasing of green energy offsets with humanely raised wool, which are obviously two disparate forms of consumption.  Instead of a slippery slope to political inaction, the very existence of a value minded consumer proves that capitalism (a word mysteriously missing from the NYT article) is evolving into a more humane form of economics. Read the rest of this entry »

traffic lightsQuite a bit a fallout this week on the parking meter fee increase which has pushed most Chicago parking meters from $0.25 an hour to $1.00 and hour, the exception being West Loop meters at $2/hour and Loop meters at $3.50/hour.  The backlash has resonated everywhere, from parking meter blogs to a round table discussion on NPR’s eight forty-eight last Friday.  This has caused such an uproar that the Sun-Times is calling it a “quiet rebellion”, and unleashed speculation that this could be the undoing of the mayor as a final straw.  Really?  I am sure there could be a more worthy cause than parking meters? Read the rest of this entry »

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