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- cars posted Tales from the Vampire's Crypt: Capitalist Inefficiency ITT (16 posts)
- The "efficiency" of capitalism, its supposed opposition to "waste" and its power to "innovate" to prevent it, is usually touted as one of its biggest benefits as a mode of production. But as soon as efficiency arrives, it's rendered inefficient by the drive to churn more capital.
So, here's a thread to collect everyone's favorite horror stories of the inefficiency of capitalism, from defense contracting to agriculture, from the waste of demographic micro-branding to the shadow play of captured regulatory bodies and more.
I'll start off with the story of Tater Tots®, a registered trademark of Ore-Ida, once an independent company and now a brand produced and distributed by mass-merger corporate conglomerate Kraft Heinz, with its foodservice division sold to Canadian company McCain Foods in 1997 (heir Nancy McCain is the wife of Bill Morneau, the incumbent Minister of Finance within Trudeau's government).
Ore-Ida built its fortune in large part on the french fry, nothing more than a slice of potato fried in animal fat or, more often nowadays, vegetable oil. The Ore-Ida brand name currently appears on nineteen different french fry products in stores of different shapes, sizes and seasonings, including one specifically designed to mimic the quick-prep rods of grease found at fast food chains. Over the history of the company (founded in 1934 by Idaho farming magnates with its headquarters in Oregon, hence the name), its fat-fry fortune has been used to such absurd ends as sponsoring an annual bicycle race promoting their product through competition between the sort of people who'd never buy what they sell.
As with most corporate products, the Ore-Ida french fry had to meet exacting standards of preparation, so that any one of the company's french fries looked and tasted pretty much exactly like another one sold under the same product line. In practice, this meant their production facilities ended up blasting out tons of wasted food every year. This took the form of slivers of potato, that is, the percentage of any given potato that didn't fit into the sum cubic centimeters of waffle-, box- or wedge-shaped product from each line. Inefficient, sure—but, capitalism being capitalism, the problem wasn't how to make french fry production more efficient, but rather how to turn a profit from the waste created by the current process, as brand-centric sales plans required that Ore-Ida deal with waste by expanding its product line, rather than "innovating" as concerned its existing form of production.
In 1953, the Mormon brothers and brother-in-law behind Ore-Ida came up with a "solution" to their problem. This was simply to take the bags of potato trash they'd created, slice them up into even finer chunks, mix them with flour and seasoning, push them through tubes on a factory line and chop them off into bite-sized cubes for cooking, freezing, packing and shipping. In this manner, they created the "Tater Tot", a still-popular product imitated by countless competitors and a staple of the school lunch, the single meal provided to countless children from low-income households in the United States. If it weren't for the nature of the capitalist mode of production, this might qualify as a capitalist-inspired innovation in efficiency... but, of course, Ore-Ida's job wasn't to streamline the path potatoes took from farm to table, but rather to take capital invested and transform it into more capital.
So, here's the result: a 5-pound bag of McCain Foods Ore-Ida "Country Style" wedge-cut steak fries, purchased from Foodservicedirect will put you back $56.85 today, while a 5-pound bag of the same brand of tater tots costs $59.45. On top of the difference between the production cost of french fries and their 5-pound-bag sales price, you'll be paying an additional mark-up of $2.60 per 5 pounds of mostly waste product that would be created anyway during the manufacture of nineteen different kinds of Ore-Ida french fries.
In other words, the consumer pays extra for the privilege of eating from a bag of garbage... or for the privilege of feeding a bag of garbage to impoverished children. Capitalism, everybody.
- toyotathon posted in cop shoot man MEGATHREAD (433 posts)
- real good PSL meeting tonight on stephon clark protests. speaker talked about the actual structure of the protests. forgive me if i've got the timeline a bit off, i'm going off memory.
stephon clark was loved in the community and so the day after his murder, as word got around, PSL sac and the community organized a response protest. however PSL's organizers were an hour late so community members actually ran the protest the first night. a core group of 50 people, without party organization, pushed aside two hwy patrol guarding an on-ramp and took the freeway. it was either that night, or the next, but the same core group shut down a city hall meeting, then shut down entrance to a Kings game, and that made the news.
for PSL sac and the core group, he said, this was very educational. after they fucked with the Kings, the team, the local NAACP, and interestingly, the local BLM chapter, all put out a co-statement on how they were gonna issue some community handout, like a pittance of $250k for what the speaker called 'arts and crafts classes'. this just pissed everybody off. not looking for a handout. so there were dual protests the night after, one put on by BLM, and the other put on by PSL and the core. speaker characterized the BLM protests as reform-oriented, petitioning the DA to indict the killer cops. fwiw this echoed the community demand. in the other protest, they went to south sac, a working class area, to gather support. this was the protest that the sheriff trailed, then pulled a hit-and-run on a protester. that night too, the PSL office got surrounded, by his count, 38 cop cars, to intimidate people returning from the south sac protest.
good stray comments about how, cops follow training, yeah? and they're trained to empty the clip. if they're breathing then they can testify. bullet counts are always double digits because the cops follow training. good comments revealing obvious shit about cop class orientation, i say obvious but hundreds of DSAers haven't figured it out yet. good stuff about reform vs revolution, how BLM's been infiltrated into a reform movement, but PSL's managed to resist that.
- AZ_IZ_OT posted in Get off the off-site: Let's play "Real Life" (6840 posts)
- white privilege is the cops watching you fail to jump a turnstile twice and then opening the gate for you
- Constantignoble posted in Tales from the Vampire's Crypt: Capitalist Inefficiency ITT (16 posts)
I sprinkled mud onto potatoes that had already been washed so that they would look freshly dug when they hit the supermarket. Most depressing holiday job I've had.
I honestly thought I was going out of my mind halfway through each shift. Btw the quality of the mud varied depending on which supermarket we were preparing potatoes for, for Waitrose (I'm in the U.K.), we had peat instead of bog standard mud.
- shriekingviolet posted in HANDS OFF SYRIA (2252 posts)
- Imagine being so far gone that you earnestly feel moral superiority shilling for the USA to annihilate a country for the crime of cooperation with the USA, and it doesn't even raise a little tingle of cognitive dissonance.
Actually hold on a minute, I think this guy's on to something. Maybe the United States of America should destroy every state that has committed the crime of cooperation with the USA, starting from the most cooperative and working its way down. I have a convenient list of 50 to start with,