let it all collapse, the icon for the www.punkerslut.com website
Home Articles Critiques Books Video
About Graphics CopyLeft Links Music
  • Back to index of Class Conscious, Second Edition
  • Class Conscious:
    The Injustice of Poverty

    Second Edition

    Chapter 7: The Brutal Result of Capitalism on the People of the World -- The Consumer (Modern)

    By Punkerslut

    Start Date: May 24, 2003
    Finish Date: June 2, 2004

    [Special thanks goes out to Co-op America, and responsibleshopper.org, whose publications aided in the research of this chapter.]

    Section I: Abuse of the Consumer (Modern)

         Abbott Laboratories sold genetically engineered baby food in the Indian Market -- the food had not medical approval and many instances of genetically engineered foods have included the illness and fatalities of many. [*1] Customers in the Cincinnati area are charged 57% more for Delta Airlines flights than any other region. [*2] Disney is opposed to any legislation that would regulate the safety of amusement park rides. [*3] Mitsubishi admitted to "systematically concealing defects and avoiding the recall of thousands of vehicles over the past two decades." [*4] In the early 1990's, Archer Daniels Midland had engaged in a price-fixing scheme for additives in animal feed. [*5] ConAgra, Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, and Warner-Lambert Co. were named top 100 corporate criminals of the 1990's, whose fraud allegations have resulted in fines exceeding millions. [*6] In April of 1996, security guards were stopping many of its customers -- later it would be confirmed that all African American customers were followed and treated as suspects [*7] General Motors and Honda Motors were two of five auto makers to pay $1.9 million in fines because of hiding lease terms in contracts. [*8] Mazda Motors paid over five million total for confusing leasing promotions in 1997. [*9] Quaker State advertised that its engine treatment oil reduced engine wear, but such claims were unproven. [*10] In 1998, American Airlines was discovered to have 51 violations of FAA rules to protect its customers. [*11] In one year, three people were killed by falling merchandise at Home Depot. [*12] Monsanto's genetically engineered growth hormone (rBGH) has been shown to increase prostate cancer in males. [*13] In 1998, Owens-Corning was responsible for 176,000 asbestos poisoning cases. [*14] In 1998, three African-Americans at a Shoney's restaurant were harassed, intimidated, and finally the store refused to serve them. [*15] In August of 1998, more than 10 safety violations were found with Continental Airlines. [*16]

         USAirways uses pesticide regularly on its flights, even though scientists believe that it could threaten the health of passengers. [*17] Montsanto's director told The Now York Times: "Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job." [*18] In 1998, two white Eddie Bauer security guards told a black teen to remove his shirt and told him to go home shirtless to get a receipt for the shirt. [*19] The Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department are investigating Citigroup for use of deceptive lending terms and high fees that strip away equity. [*20] A court ruled that General Electric Company was "deceptive" when selling dishwashers in 1999 that had a fire hazard. [*21] Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. has produced faulty siding for homes that would prematurely fail, so as to get a returning customer. In a lawsuit, it may have to pay over $20 million. [*22] In January of 1999, 7,000 customers of Northwest Airlines were subjected to 11 hours of waiting, with overflowing toilets and lack of food. [*23] It has been concluded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that as of May 1, of 1999, air bags used by DaimlerChrysler had killed 76 children and saved none. [*24] In June of 1999, two minority women at a Dillard's store were searched for stolen merchandise, only to find receipts for everything. They were detained for another hour and issued citations for fabricated offenses, and then charged with criminal trespassing. The same thing has happened in previous years of minority customers being detained and accused of shoplifting. [*25] Toyota hes released 2.2 million vehicles to customers with faulty pollution-detection systems. [*26] Delta Airlines was fined $77,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to adhere to safety regulations. [*27] Investors of Fruit of the Loom, between September of 1998 and November of 1999, were issued false and misleading statements, artificially inflating the price of the stock. [*28]

         In October of 1999, Abbott Laboratories sells Prevacid, an ulcer medication, for $393 for a standard dosage. [*29] When an independent pharmacy in New York City closed, it sold its customers records to CVS and other corporations -- violating the privacy of hundreds. [*30] In December of 1999, K-B Toys refused to accept personal checks from black customers, but accepted them from white customers. [*31] Federated Department Stores has store aisles that are 17 inches wide, disallowing customers with wheelchairs. [*32] In 1999, Toys 'R' Us was employing over 300 employees aged 14 and 15, at 19 stores, working longer hours and late in the night, violating labor law. [*33] In 2002, Amazon.com used spyware to steal personal information about its customers. [*34] Bank One settled a class action case for issuing improper late fees and interest rate increases, as well as lying about its financial status to investors. [*35] Ford Motors knew of at least 35 deaths and 130 injuries relating to its tires without taking any action. [*36] Kmart in 2000 decided to eliminate the sale of mouth toys containing phthalates ("Some phthalates cause liver cancer, kidney damage and reproductive system impairment in animals."), but no other dangerous chemicals. [*37] In early 2000, Rite Aid did not allow their ATM machines accessible to disable customers. [*38] Toys R Us promised that it could deliver toys by Christmas in 2000, but knew it could not deliver its promises. [*39] Tyson Fresh Meats was found guilty of stealing C&F Packing Company's secret process for making pre-cooked Italian sausage pizza topping, and then undercut C&F's prices. [*40] In February of 2000, Black & Decker failed to inform the public about potential fire hazards from one of its toaster models. [*41]

         In March of 2000, the presence of lead was found in Johnson & Johnson baby powders. Lead is capable of causing psychological problems. [*42] In March of 2000, KBToys refused to take checks from African-Americans. [*43] Sanyo Electric Co. released over 10,000 solar cell systems that were faulty and inefficient. [*44] Wyeth Corporation recently was prosecuted by many of its customers for the diet drug fen-phen, which caused destroyed heart valves and strokes. [*45] In May of 2000, Continental Airlines hiked up its fares during a time of record profits. [*46] Northwest Airlines shipped a container of compressed hydrogen, which could have destroyed the plane and its private passengers. [*47] In 2000 of June, American Airlines failed to make fulfill security regulations. [*48] The US FDA seized syringes by Abbott Laboratories for failing to meet up production standards. [*49] MCI Worldcom in June of 2000 changed their customer's long-distance plans without their permission. [*50] In June of 2000, Sprint misled customers about fine-print restrictions and add-costs. [*51] In July of 2000, Qwest Communications paid $1.5 million for changing their customers long distance service without their permission. [*52] 21 reported traffic deaths in August of 2000 were linked to the Ford Motor tires. [*53] Alltel has overcharged customers between $130 million and $140 million since 1996. [*54] Amazon.com uses a strategy called "dynamic pricing," where they "gauges a shopper's desire, measures his or her means, and charges that shopper accordingly." [*55] Amazon.com stated that it considers customer information an asset, and that it may potentially be sold. [*56] In September of 2000, CVS shared the information of a Maryland couple and violated confidentiality laws. [*57] Ford Motor's engineers, safety officials, and board were aware of the faultiness of its ignition system that caused cars to shut down -- resulting in deadly and other serious accidents. [*58] MBNA Corp. placed misleading ads, saying that there was a charge of 6.9 percent for new credit card customers, whereas it was mostly 17.9 percent on new purchases. [*59] PG&E passed $4.63 billion in profits to its parent company, but filed for bankruptcy, losing its investors all their money. [*60]

         In October of 2000, Humana (an HMO) offered its doctors incentives to steer patients away from using treatments. [*61] MCI WorldCom has ripped off 5 million customers with surcharges of up to $88 million. [*62] Owens-Corning filed bankruptcy because its asbestos-containing products damaged enough people, with a liability as high as $7 billion. [*63] In 2000 of October, a woman died after a Rite Aid pharmacist erroneously doubled her prescription. [*64] In that same month, Rite Aid overcharged 29,000 uninsured customers of up to $500,000. [*65] Wyeth Corporation had repeatedly violated manufacturing standards at two of its drug factories. [*66] Wyeth Corporation, in that same month, had to pay $4.7 billion to consumers for the fen-phen drug combination, which resulted in fatal heart valve damage and pulmonary hypertension. [*67] In November of 2000, Abbott Laboratories failed to meet quality standards of hundreds of medical testing kits. [*68] 6,500 trust account beneficiaries were cheated out of refunds owed to them by Bank of America, amounting to $35 million. [*69] CIGNA and ACE breached their insurance contracts of up to $27 million in insurance premiums. [*70] Goodyear Tire & Rubber knew about the failure of Firestone tires for over four years. [*71] In November of 2000, Goodyear was linked to 15 deaths in accidents with their tires. [*72] Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter mislead its investors into losing $65 million. [*73] Three directors at Priceline.com used inside information to sell stock of the company, profiting up to $247 million. [*74] Tens of thousands of Californian customers were billed by Qwest Communications for services they never ordered, or had their long-distance service switched without their permission. [*75] Rite Aid sells prescription drugs at a lower cost to those who have insurance. [*76] Also in November of 2000, Rite Aid released misleading information that artificially inflated the company's stock price, causing damages up to $200 million. [*77]

         In December of 2000, Gateway Inc. has misled investors about financial statements. [*78] Rite Aid pharmacies offered discounts on cash-only prescriptions, but had added hidden charges. [*79] In 2001, two ConAgra plants were halted because of health violations. Another ConAgra facility had the highest rate of salmonella of all turkey processors tested during 2001. [*80] In 2001, Enron "cheating millions of investors out of billions of dollars." [*81] In 2001, a severed rat's head in a McDonald's hamburger was partially ingested by a nine-year old girl. [*82] Mellon Financial Corp. was contracted by the IRS to do tax returns, but ended up destroying up to 71,257 tax returns, worth $1.2 billion. [*83] In fall of 2000, Priceline.com and its key officers and directors omitted material information and disseminated false and misleading statements concerning the company's financial condition. [*84] Reebok uses PVC in its shoes, which can cause toxic dioxins. [*85] Schering-Plough failed to tell its customers that its drug Claritin is only effective for about half of its users. [*86] In January of 2001, Allstate discouraged people from hiring attorneys, violating consumer-protection law. [*87] Disneyland was found at fault for an accident where a four-year-old boy was brain damaged by one of the rides. [*88] Federated Department Stores had two of its black customers arrested for using a stolen credit card, though no evidence existed to prove this besides a $1,000 purchase. [*89] International Forest Products Limited managed to use deceptive contract tactics to sidestep the government's fees by $224 million. [*90] Time Warner Inc. has sent magazines, books, CDs, etc., to hundreds of Florida consumers who never ordered them and then charged them for it. [*91]

         In February of 2001, lawsuits were filed against Aetna, CIGNA Corporation, and four other major HMOs, claiming that the company delayed payments, affecting healthcare of patients. [*92] Bausch & Lomb conspired with American Optometric Association to force customers into buying replacement contact lenses, in 32 states. [*93] One customer at Kmart was arguing about a rebate with a salesman when a security guard tackled him, and then beat him into unconsciousness. The security guard was promoted, even though he had attacked other customers. [*94] Nike executives sold stock just before announcing poor earnings, resulting in the stock plunging. [*95] PG&E executives sold stock before the company issued a bankruptcy warning that sent stocks into a decline. [*96] Pharmacia Corporation in February of 2001 misled its customers about Celebrex, minimizing crucial risk information about the drug. [*97] Clothing sold by Wal-Mart has shown a tendency to easily catch on fire; during a trial concerning this, the judge found the company "repeatedly concealed documents and witnesses." [*98] Wyeth Corporation has been using blood, fetal calf serum, and meat broth (high potential of mad cow disease) from cattle for over eight years, stopping in 2001. [*99] In March of 2001, Chrysler bought back defective vehicles from customers, only to resell them. [*100] Kmart sold a faulty pellet gun to a teenager, whose was brain damaged after he was accidentally shot in the head with it. [*101] Schering-Plough is under investigation for causing an inflation in government reimbursed drugs, as well as shorting Medicaid payments. [*102]

         In April of 2001, CompUSA promoted product rebates without stating up front that customers had to sign up for three years of internet service. [*103] Security guards who work for Dillard's have routinely harassed and beaten black customers, leaving one person dead. News stations that carried the stories, such as CBS, had advertising funds pulled -- while ABC and NBC didn't cover the report and continued with Dillard's advertising. [*104] In April of 2001, a black woman was denied a free cologne sample from Dillard's. [*105] Federated Department Stores sold flammable children's pajamas and robes. [*106] Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay a settlement of $860 million, because the instructions on its contact lenses was to throw them away after one day, when they can be worn for two weeks. [*107] In April of 2001, security guards for Rite Aid killed a woman who was trying to shoplift. [*108] Wells Fargo & Co. realty website would only link shoppers to neighborhoods with the same income and racial makeup of the shopper's current neighborhood. [*109] Abbott Laboratories hiked up its prices and bribed doctors to prescribe Lupron Depot. [*110] AstraZeneca cooperated with other companies to maintain unreasonably high prices for the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen. [*111] Dillard's was involved in the death of one man at its stores; the store claimed the man was psychotic, police came and handcuffed the man, and then witnesses claim to have seen the officers beat the handcuffed man who died two days later. [*112] In May of 2001, Dillard's was ordered to pay more than one million dollars by the courts, for detaining two minority women and accusing them of shoplifting. [*113] Dow Chemical sold Dursban for home and garden use, when it was a proven hazardous substance. [*114] In May 2001, a California state appeals court upheld the $26 million verdict against Ford Motor, whose Bronco II sport utility model has caused one man to become quadriplegic and unable to breathe without a ventilator. [*115] In May of 2001, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt, Marriot International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and one other corporation added energy surcharges onto guests bills that weren't apparent until guests were checking out. [*116]

         Cardura, a drug sold by Pfizer, has been linked to increased heart failure, but the company has issued no safety warning yet. [*117] A 10 year-old boy died after taking Dimetapp. Wyeth Corporation failed to provide a warning that a key ingredient could be dangerous for children. [*118] Abbott Laboratories had a patient undergo chemotherapy, a hysterectomy, and a partial lung removal after being diagnosed with cancer that she never had. "The doctors did not follow proper medical practice. A simple urine test would have prevented this tragedy," said an Abbott spokeswoman. [*119] In June of 2001, American Airlines was found in 197 instances that violated regulations for batteries and battery charger maintenance, for its emergency floor lights. [*120] Circuit City refused to take rainchecks to customers for out-of-stock sale items that were advertised, violating a state consumer protection law. [*121] In June of 2001, Eli Lilly sent out an e-mail message to 600 people, reminding them to take their dose of Prozac -- each person received everyone else's e-mail address, violating privacy. [*122] In June of 2001, Mattel Inc. was fined for failing to report defects in its Power Wheels line of toys, causing fires and electrical failures. [*123] Sara Lee Corp. plead guilty in June of 2001 to selling contaminated hot dugs and meats in 1998 -- causing 100 illnesses, six miscarriages, and 15 deaths. [*124] SBC Communications failed to meet standards in wholesale service to its rivals. [*125] SBC Communications had to yank adds criticizing a rivals' cable modem operations for slow service during peak hours, when its own service was equally susceptible to slowdowns. [*126] Sony created a phony film critic to invent quotations to provide positive reviews for its Sony films. So-called moviegoers praising Son films in promotion ads were actually employees of Sony. [*127] In June of 2001, Viacom made customers pay inflated fees for overdue rentals between 1992 and 2001. [*128]

         In July of 2001, American Airlines changed the rules to its frequent flier program once customers signed up by limiting seats. [*129] A three-months pregnant woman shopping at Dillard's was detained and strip-searched. No stolen items were found. [*130] Interstate Bakeries produces bread made with bromate, a chemical that causes cancer in rats. [*131] Microsoft Corporation's Passport identification system allows the company to become a storehouse of personal data, being ripe for abuse. [*132] Frito-Lay Inc. is trying to permanently seal records that show its snack foods were contaminated with toxic solvents. [*133] In August of 2001, Aetna, Cigna, Emipire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Excellus, Oxford, and United Health Care were being sued for engaging in illegal practices and routinely breaching the terms of contracts with physicians. [*134] Limited Brands imported and sold flammable children's sleepwear, having to recall 390,000 pajamas and 17,600 robes. [*135] May Department Stores did not comply with American Disabilities Act. [*136] A report obtained through the Freedom of Information Act revealed that Sara Lee knew it was shipping tainted hot dogs and deli meats. They were aware of increased levels of listeria before the listeriosis outbreak that killed 15. [*137] United Airlines uses pesticides in the cabins of its planes, where some attendants developed rashes, and customers were potentially harmed. [*138] In September of 2001, AstraZeneca was found to be pricing medications above the allowed maximum. [*139] Merck advertised its drug Vioxx saying the company minimized potential risks, when a preliminary study indicated the drug caused an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. [*140] Shortly after the Sept 11th terrorist attacks, Northwest Airlines forced four Arab-American men to leave a plane. [*141] Verizon knowingly marked cell phones that exposed users to radiation. [*142]

    Section II: Conclusion

         What is the essential and most basic understanding that we learn by reading this? Quite clearly, that Capitalists are holding true to their nature: they are reasonably responding their desires. Fifteen million pounds of tainted meat makes more money when sold rather than being dumped. The fact that it may or may not harm consumers was not taken in to consideration, because the Capitalist has one goal in mind: profit. Some may be expected to read these things, but when they were common only one or two hundred years ago, why should we be expected to see them in even more prevalent cases now?



    1. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    2. The Cincinnati Enquirer
    3. Public Campaign (http://www.publicampaign.org/)
    4. The Car Connection (http://www.thecarconnection.com/)
    5. The New York Times, Dec 24, 2000
    6. Multinational Monitor, July/ August 1999
    7. The Kansas City Star, March 1, 2002
    8. Los Angeles Times, October 1, 1999
    9. Los Angeles Times, October 1, 1999
    10. The Dallas Morning News, July 24, 1997
    11. Associated Press, Sept. 26, 2001
    12. PR Newswire, November 27, 2000
    13. Ethical Investing (http://www.ethicalinvesting.com/)
    14. Canadian Newswire, December 15, 1998
    15. The Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Oct 31, 2000
    16. Associated Press, Sept. 26, 2001
    17. Mother Jones, July/August 1998
    18. The New York Times, October 25, 1998
    19. The New York Times, November 26, 1998
    20. The New York Times, November 12, 2000
    21. Associated Press, January 22, 2001/ Aug. 6, 2003
    22. The Arizona Republic, January 23, 1999
    23. The Associated Press, January 10, 2001
    24. Mother Jones Magazine, June 14, 1999
    25. PR Newswire, December 1, 1999
    26. The Nikkei Weekly, July 19, 1999
    27. Associated Press, Sept. 26, 2001
    28. Business Wire, April 28, 2000
    29. Public Citizen, October 27, 1999
    30. Providence Journal-Bulletin, October 21, 1999
    31. The AP State & Local Wire, March 7, 2000
    32. AP Online, December 23, 1999
    33. The Associated Press, December 1, 1999
    34. ZDNet
    35. The Chicago Tribune, April 6, 2001
    36. Mother Jones, January 3, 2001
    37. Greenpeace
    38. ATM & Debit News, November 16, 2000
    39. PC Week, January 31, 2000
    40. The AP State & Local Wire, March 12, 1999
    41. Consumer Product Litigation Reporter, Feb. 2000
    42. emagazine.com, march-april 2000
    43. U.S. Newswire, March 6, 2000
    44. Asian Economic News, January 1, 2001
    45. The AP State & Local Wire, April 20, 2000
    46. The Corporation Hall of Shame Report, May 16, 2000
    47. Reuters, May 1, 2000
    48. Associated Press, Sept. 26, 2001
    49. Lycos WebMD
    50. tele.com, July 31, 2000
    51. tele.com, July 31, 2000
    52. tele.com, July 31, 2000
    53. Associated Press, August 2, 2000
    54. The AP State & Local Wire, September 19, 2000S
    55. The Washington Post, September 27, 2000
    56. The AP State and Local Wire, September 13, 2000
    57. The AP State & Local Wire, September 17, 2000
    58. New York Times, September 12, 2000
    59. The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 26, 2000
    60. DailyNews.com
    61. Miami Daily Business Review, October 25, 2000
    62. San Francisco Chronicle, January 14, 2001
    63. Engineering News Record
    64. Las Vegas Review-Journal, October 26, 2000
    65. The New York Times, September 26, 1999
    66. New York Times, October 4, 2000
    67. Abilene Reporter-News, April 5, 2001
    68. New York Times, November 3, 1999
    69. The San Francisco Examiner November 4, 2000
    70. Workers' Compensation Monitor, November 1, 2000
    71. The AP State & Local Wire, November 7, 2000
    72. The Associated Press, November 21, 2000
    73. The New York Times, November 21, 2000
    74. The Guardian (London), November 3, 2000
    75. Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2000
    76. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Nov.11, 2000
    77. South Bend Tribune, November 10, 2000
    78. The AP State & Local Wire, December 10, 2000
    79. Associated Press, December 4, 2000
    80. The New York Times, July 20, 2002
    81. Multinational Monitor
    82. Chicago Business
    83. San Francisco Chronicle, December 8, 2001
    84. PR Newswire, November, 2000
    85. Greenpeace USA
    86. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Aug 10, 2001
    87. The AP State & Local Wire, January 25, 2001
    88. San Francisco Gate, January 13, 2001
    89. The Boston Herald, January 26, 2001
    90. Canadian Dimension, March 1, 2001
    91. The Associated Press, January 28, 2001
    92. The Hartford Courant
    93. The New York Times, February 21, 2001
    94. The San Francisco Chronicle
    95. The Associated Press, April 5, 2001
    96. The Associated Press, February 2, 2001
    97. The Tampa Tribune
    98. The AP State & Local Wire, February 14, 2001
    99. The New York Times, February 8, 2001
    100. The Indianapolis Star
    101. UPI, March 17, 2001
    102. The Associated Press, March 14, 2001
    103. The Associated Press, April 16, 2001
    104. The Associated Press, April 11, 2001
    105. Associated Press, April 25, 2001
    106. The Boston Globe, April 12, 2001
    107. The Tampa Tribune, April 18, 2001
    108. The Michigan Daily, April 10, 2001
    109. Star Tribune
    110. The Boston Globe, May 28, 2001
    111. The Chicago Tribune, July 2, 2002
    112. The Houston Chronicle, April 12, 2001
    113. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 25, 2001
    114. Bloomberg News, May 22, 2001
    115. Reuters May 31, 2001
    116. The San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2001
    117. Associated Press, May 24, 2001
    118. Associated Press
    119. Reuters, June 30, 2001
    120. The Charleston Gazette, June 22, 2001
    121. ChainStore.com
    122. Reuters, July 3, 2001
    123. The New York Times, June 7, 2001
    124. New York Times, June 23, 2001
    125. Chicago Tribune, June 21, 2001
    126. The San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 1, 2001
    127. CNN, June 15, 2001
    128. Associated Press, June 5, 2001
    129. The Chicago Tribune, July 4, 2001
    130. Winston-Salem Journal, July 7, 2001
    131. The Washington Post, July 2001
    132. The New York Times, July 25, 2001
    133. The Seattle Post Intelligencer, July 17, 2001
    134. Richmond County Medical Society, August,2002
    135. Associated Press, Aug. 17, 2001
    136. Associated Press, Aug. 21, 2001
    137. Knight-Ridder/Tribune, Aug 30, 2001
    138. The Associated Press, August 1, 2001
    139. O Globo via Fin.Times World Media, Sept. 12, 2001
    140. New York Times, Sept. 26, 2001
    141. The Seattle Times, Sept. 22, 2001
    142. The San Diego Union-Tribune, September 21, 2001

    join the punkerslut.com
    mailing list!

    copyleft notice and
    responsibility disclaimer