Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life is a new book by Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under Clinton. If you listen to NPR’s Morning Edition or American Public Media’s Marketplace, you’ve probably heard one of his commentaries.
The book delves into the development of US economy during the last century, mostly since the 1950s. His central argument is that the power and influence of capitalism has risen while the power of democracy has declined. We’ve now reached a point where most laws and regulations are passed due to corporate lobbying. Our power as citizens now lies mostly in our ability to make decisions as consumers. He also argues that our never-ending search for a better deal or a lower price forces producers to cut costs, which usually means cutting wages. We’ve created an endless circuit where our search for deals results in the decline of our own wages.
He offers two solutions to the problem:
Become aware of your choices as a consumer and consider paying more to support a company that supports your values. For example, saying you want corporations to help the planet, and then buying an SUV rather than a hybrid undermines your statement of your values and encourages corporations to continue supporting the SUV lifestyle.
Realize that corporations are not people, and therefore should not have the same rights or responsibilities as people. They should also not be expected to act in ways that are “socially responsible.” Corporations are solely charged with producing profits for shareholders. They will only act in the public good when it benefits the bottom line. Pretending anything else is foolhardy. He argues that corporations should not pay tax, but they also shouldn’t have the right to sue to block legislation or be able to donate money to political parties or candidates.
With these concepts in mind, we turn to the articles in the Festival of Frugality. True, we’re all still interested in the deal, but most frugal people understand that being frugal sometimes means spending more to get a better value for a better product or to achieve the kind of world you want to live in.
Money Blue Book manages to find the upside to higher gas prices – less traffic and more use of public transportation.
Mrs. Nespy’s World runs down the job benefits that can be a deciding factor for prospective employees. It pays to treat employees well.
Cheap Healthy Good explains why diet foods are actually not good for your weight or health and suggests ways to eat more healthfully instead.
Frugal Homemaker Plus discusses the importance of teaching children about frugal values early.
Just Shoot Me Now shows you how to outwit the stores by always checking the unit price. Bigger isn’t always cheaper.
Credit Addict explains how to combine the stimulus checks, grocery gift cards, and rebate credit cards to save loads on groceries.
The Digerati Life shares 25 tips for saving money with grocery coupons.
Save and Conquer explains how home health remedies can save you lots of money.
FIRE Finance shares the top five freebie websites.
Funny about Money shares his cost-effective home renovation strategies.
I Create for Less shares her tips for saving money on framing art.
Home Life Weekly explains how to make dishwasher detergent.
Monroe on a Budget shares how she learned to love iced tea, the money-saving alternative to soda.
On Financial Success shares his astounding $92 savings on a $122 grocery bill.
Gagazine offers helpful tips for saving money on baby items.
I Want Better Gas Mileage argues that premium gasoline isn’t always worth the cost.
Free Money Finance shares more ways to save money on wedding costs.
Be Thrifty Like Us explains how to make a $19 swingset.
Finally Frugal switched from rice to Top Ramen to save money.
My Daily Dollars explains how to make homemade crackers.
Buxr explains what refurbished really means, and how to buy refurbished items.
The Financial Engineer discovered a way to stop roots from clogging his pipes – thus avoiding a costly plumber.
Lazy Man and Money explains how members of the military can take nearly free vacations.
Wealth Junkies shares her strategies for saving money with coupons.
Stop the Ride offers a simple tip for making your own plastic scrubber.
Living the Cheap Life provides a tip for earning money without doing anything.
Smart Easy Money shares her love of thrift-store shopping.
Hustler Money Blog offers 10 quick ways to save money.
Finance Gets Personal argues that you can save money by planning ahead and shopping less.
Blueprint for Financial Prosperity lists sales tax holidays for various states. Plan to shop then so you can save money on sales tax.
Money Ning discusses occasions when saving money shouldn’t be your goal.
Dough Roller offers 25 ways to save money on gas.
The Wealth Accumulator compares consumerism and thrift, and shares tips for becoming more thrifty.
My Family’s Money presents five deceptively simple ways to change your saving habits.
Saving Advice wonders why more faith communities don’t promote simple living.
FinancialZip suggests four ways to make more intelligent spending choices.
Tight Fisted Miser explains that tracking every penny is his way of budgeting and controlling spending.
Moolanomy shares his top 5 budget busters.
Frugal Fabulous proves that it is possible to entertain friends on a budget.
Five Cent Nickel continues the ongoing debate about frugal vs. cheap.
My Small Cents demonstrates that being organized can save money.
Cash Money Life tells you how to extend the life of your computer.
You Might As Well Burn $5 suggests ways to create your own financial windfall.
Freezing in NH discovered the joys of making and freezing her own toaster waffles.
Gardeners Tips brings us money saving advice from the garden. Growing your own food is a surefire way to ease the impact on your wallet while also helping create a more sustainable world.
Oh My Aching Debts shares tips for saving money with alternative forms of energy.
The Q Family Adventure shares her tips for saving cash and the planet.
Not the Plan offers more tips for saving money while going green.
Green Pastures wonders how long you could go without buying something new and offers strategies for buying less and reusing more.
Paid Twice also makes the argument for reusing perfectly good items.
Paying Off My Future found new uses for junk mail envelopes.
Money Crashers offers ten inexpensive ways to live a greener life.
Frugal Babe shares her success with homemade diapers.
Hunting Happiness explores the new all-electric Chevy Volt and whether it can save money.
Phil for Humanity argues that not planning ahead is stupid, and explains why. Robert Reich would agree.
The Personal Financier teaches us how to enjoy budgeting and saving.
Chief Family Officer explains how to choose a college by comparing the costs.
Uncommon Cents offers another take on managing college costs.
Christian Personal Finances teaches us the simplest way to make a budget.
Financial Learn walks you through the process of setting up a budget.
KC Lau reviews a book on insurance for Malaysians, but he also includes a few tips that are helpful for everyone.
WenchyPoo argues that shortages and inflation are stealth tax increases. Robert Reich would agree.
Forex Trading Strategies shares strategies for knowing when it’s time to get out of a stock.
My Dollar Plan shares her found money success - an unclaimed bank account.
Saving to Invest presents the hard numbers about the rise in food costs.
Squawkfox offers several strategies for improving your education for less.