Apart from providing invaluable, presumably at least partly unintended assistance to the overclass by helping legitimize the catastrophic “vocabulary of consumption” as the prevailing way of describing issues of product design and product use, Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, has a long history of getting weaker and worse at pursuing its own mission. The accommodationist process is approaching its logical end. Having long ago chosen to refrain from investigating and reporting on issues of political economy and product policy, Consumer Reports now faces competition from other mere product review enterprises. In reply, what is Consumers Union doing? Why, capitulating further, of course. It has just now created the first-ever marketing campaign on behalf of the “Consumer Reports” brand name.
Big Brother was a rookie.
Consumers Union is certainly an admirable and important group. It is also an unfortunate one. Not only does it legitimize the slave-word “consumer,” but it has also declined into a mere shopper’s watchdog that has nothing to say about corporate capitalism and its radical incompatibility with a decent human future.
Seems that CU has now picked up the website called The Consumerist. The site, cited with affection by sources like Advertising Age, redoubles and hipsterizes all the present flaws of CU.
Better shopping is not going to get the job done, folks. However many issues we face at the micro level of what to buy, our make-it-or-break-it century’s pressing problems all have to do with the lack of democratic control over macro-level policies. You’d never know that, however, by consulting Consumer Reports or The Consumerist, which, as is probably well understood by their corporate partners, divert potentially radical attention from the political to the merely personal level.