- Capitalism and Alternatives -

I wanna talk about cereal

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on September 01, 1999 at 11:19:03:

In Reply to: What controls our limited range of choices? posted by Deep Dad Nine on August 31, 1999 at 13:36:12:

: I'd like to here some explanations to the following phenomena:

: I'm walking through cereal isle in the grocery store and can't help but notice that 90% of the brands available have conspicuously simular packaging schemes, have nearly identical ingredients, and are sold for exactly the same price (to the penny). Is this pathetic lack of quality and range of choice the result of free enterprise (an unregulated monopoly)? Too much government regulation of the cereal industry? Too much control OF the government BY private interests? Are these exorbitantly priced, half empty, gaudy cardboard boxes of nutrient deficient balls of sugar the result of consumer demand?

SDF: I suspect that much of the similarities in cereal have to do with the conditions of monocrop agriculture under mass-market conditions. You don't see a lot of cereals using spelt, or triticale, for instance, because modern agriculture is one-crop, fertilized, tractor-plowed, and made to fetch a short-term profit on the grain exchange even if grain prices are absurdly low in good harvest years, even if harvesting grain is such a dicey business (given the role of weather conditions in determining production) that it has become a regular recipient of government emergency aid if nothing else. So they grow a lot, fertilize a lot, and get a lot of government subsidies. Also, check the # of corporations who are putting out cereal. Let's see, you have General Mills, Kellogg, Post... am I missing anyone?

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