Saturday, July 18, 2015

Whole Foods exploits prison workers

See this article for conscious capitalism at work. I'm sure WF rationalizes that they're doing the prisoners a favor. Elevating them by giving them productive work. Teaching them the value of  a dollar. Yadda yadda. Some excerpts:

"Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, whose net worth exceeds $100 million, is a fervent proselytizer on behalf of “conscious capitalism.” A self-described libertarian, Mackey believes the solution to all of the world’s problems is letting corporations run amok, without regulation. He believes this so fervently, in fact, he wrote an entire book extolling the magnanimous virtue of the free market.

"At the same time, while preaching the supposedly beneficent gospel of the 'conscious capitalism,' Mackey’s company Whole Foods, which has a $13 billion and growing annual revenue, sells overpriced fish, milk, and gourmet cheeses cultivated by inmates in US prisons. The renowned 'green capitalist' organic supermarket chain pays what are effectively indentured servants in the Colorado prison system a mere $1.50 per hour to farm organic tilapia. Colorado prisons already grow 1.2 million pounds of tilapia a year, and government officials and their corporate companions are chomping at the bit to expand production.

"That’s not all. Whole Foods also buys artisinal cheeses and milk cultivated by prisoners. The prison corporation Colorado Correctional Industries has created what Fortune describes as 'a burgeoning $65 million business that employs 2,000 convicts at 17 facilities.' The base pay of these prison workers is 60¢ per day. Whole Foods purchases cheeses from these prisons, which literally pay prison laborers mere pennies an hour, and subsequently marks up the price drastically."

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