Regarding Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s call to break up technology companies, including Amazon, MNB reader Jim Huey wrote:

I was surprised you only posted the emails that were strongly against Elizabeth Warren, but maybe there weren’t any supporting her? I am quite conservative politically, but I do share her concerns about the “little guy” being able to compete. I would argue however, that it is government regulation that has contributed greatly to large corporations.

We as a society increasingly want our companies to operate safely and treat all employees fairly (which are good things)so we have stood by (and even applauded) as government has passed increasingly stronger laws to mandate these things. Unfortunately there are many examples of these laws contributing to the rise of large corporations. The catalytic converter in the auto industry is one of many examples. I would argue for societal pressure being a much better agent for corporate change, though I recognize that this happens much slower and therefore leaves many bodies in its wake. Although I disagree with her politically I do not believe Senator Warren is stupid. She is likely well aware that her extreme measures have little chance of passing, and may just be trying to spur society and corporations in the right direction for fear of her proposals coming to pass.




On another subject, from an MNB reader:

I know you commented earlier this week that zero-waste establishments aren’t likely to become a major trend but I’d like to disagree slightly. From Amazon pushing SIOC (ship in own container) to establishments like Nada and Trader Joe’s,

I think it will become a trend as consumers become more conscientious of their consumption and waste. It has long made me crazy that some grocery stores sell bell peppers, string beans, and any manner of produce plastic-wrapped to a Styrofoam tray when both plastic wrap and Styrofoam are broadly unrecyclable by US facilities.

My hope is that a shift in consumer preference will happen organically as conversation on this topic increases and as companies become more transparent about the components contributing to items’ costs: naked green beans are clearly cheaper than those with added packaging (Aldi’s refusal to spend on merchandising in favor of keeping low costs is a great example). I am the person who brings reusable bags and takes every opportunity to give establishments feedback that I’d like to see them use less packaging/paper straws/not offer plastic bags unless requested but that’s because I grew up with parents who brought it to my attention: I think that people can and will change their habits when these things are brought to their attention AND mechanisms and systems are put in place to ease the transition, I’m not idealistic enough to think it won’t take both.