ethical reads

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Thought provoking reads on consumption, charity, and corporations:

My favorite pet peeve of the moment here is the incredible scam of Keurig/K-cup coffee makers. Recently, the maker of the machine (and licenser of those cups – anything for a monopoly, right?) posted huge revenue gains, and an analyst wrote: “Consumption of beverages from craft beer to coffee, tea and energy drinks has  risen as Americans splurge on small, affordable luxuries.” What is “affordable luxury”? Well, as the New York Times reported, it means paying the equivalent of $50 a pound for coffee. Oh, and a lot more plastic and metal waste.

China and India grow half of the globe’s cotton. Have you heard of the farmer suicide epidemic (PDF) in India? It’s largely concentrated among cotton farmers growing for the global market who are squeezed between high prices for seeds and low prices for cotton, according to a 2011 report by New York University’s law school.

The first eight chapters of Three Cups of Tea are an intricately wrought work of fiction presented as fact. And by no means was this an isolated act of deceit. It turns out that Mortenson’s books and public statements are permeated with falsehoods. The image of Mortenson that has been created for public consumption is an artifact born of fantasy, audacity, and an apparently insatiable hunger for esteem…

(If you’ve read Three Cups of Tea, I recommend you read this Kindle single, too.)

Burner figured the average supermarket shopper had no idea that buying Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper or Dixie cups meant contributing cash to Koch Industriesthrough its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific. Similarly, purchasing a pair of yoga pants containing Lycra or a Stainmaster carpet meant indirectly handing the Kochs your money (Koch Industries bought Invista, one of the world’s largest fiber and textiles companies, in 2004 from DuPont).

I plan on reading several books on similar subjects soon. What have you read lately?

About Leah

Leah Wise is a member of FIRE in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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