by Don Boudreaux on July 20, 2011

in Food and Drink, Hubris and humility, Man of System

Here’s a letter to an angry e-mail correspondent:

Dear Mr. E__________:

I normally ignore people who describe me (as you so charmingly do) as “a sh**eating lackey for the Koch brothers.”  But the confused thinking running throughout your e-mail is so interesting that I’ll break my rule.

You wonder how I can “sleep nights carrying water for Corporate America.”  Why do I not, you ask, spend my energies “for example exposing McDonald’s greedy refusal to stop serving nasty killer foods”?  In your very next sentence you ask how I “can stand by idly while corporations manipulate customers needs and demands with advertising and marketing budgets bigger than [presumably the government budgets of] most African countries.”

Question: if corporations can so easily “manipulate customers needs and demands with advertising and marketing,” why doesn’t McDonald’s simply serve raw celery?  Celery being much less costly for McDonald’s to buy than ground beef and chicken patties, a raw-celery-only menu at McDonald’s would slash that company’s costs.  And with its nefarious facility at using “advertising and marketing” to hypnotize consumers into buying whatever it peddles (even “nasty killer foods”!), that fast-food behemoth will keep consumers spending as much on McCelery stalks as consumers now spend on Happy Meals and Egg McMuffins.  McDonald’s profits will zoom upward!

Because you’re correct that, like all private corporations, McDonald’s is “never satisfied with lower profits when [it] can snatch higher profits,” I do wonder why the raw-celery-only menu option has never occurred to the moguls at McDonald’s.  Perhaps you can help me figure out why.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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