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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 163 of Thomas J. Schlereth’s useful 1991 book, Victorian America (footnote deleted):

Food and beverages became highly advertised products only in the 1880s.  The concept of the convenient, sanitary, novel, “package” – tin can, glass bottle, sealed cardboard box – transformed marketing strategies by proving that raw goods could be profitably turned into standardized products with national brand names.  Canned or packaged food had a threefold impact: They introduced hitherto unknown foods (or foods eaten only by the wealthy) to a wide American market; they provided easier access to diverse food in isolated regions; and they enabled middle- and working-class women to escape some of the time-consuming work of daily food preparation.

Although today we take for granted the ready availability of inexpensive, convenient, sanitary, and novel packaged foods and beverages – these items just seem miraculously to appear regularly at supermarkets and even at rural truck stops – they are in fact a marvelous testimony to capitalist innovation and its resulting greater equalization of consumption opportunities.  These items are, in short, proof against the nonsensical claims issued by “Progressives” such as Douglas Rushkoff that industrial capitalism fuels economic growth only for “the rich.”