Tag Archives: Economics

Ethical chic : the inside story of the companies we think we love / Fran Hawthorne

Call number: HD2785 .H37 2012

Consumers are told that when they put on an American Apparel t-shirt, leggings, jeans, gold bra, or other item, they look hot. Not only do they look good, but they can also feel good because they are helping US workers earn a decent wage (never mind that some of those female workers have accused their boss of sexual harassment). And when shoppers put on a pair of Timberlands, they feel fashionable and as green as the pine forest they might trek through—that is, until they’re reminded that this green company is in the business of killing cows. But surely even the pickiest, most organic, most politically correct buyers can feel virtuous about purchasing a tube of Tom’s toothpaste, right? After all, with its natural ingredients that have never been tested on animals, this company has a forty-year history of being run by a nice couple from Maine . . . well, ahem, until it was recently bought out by Colgate. It’s difficult to define what makes a company hip and also ethical, but some companies seem to have hit that magic bull’s-eye. In this age of consumer activism, pinpoint marketing, and immediate information, consumers demand everything from the coffee, computer, or toothpaste they buy. They want an affordable, reliable product manufactured by a company that doesn’t pollute, saves energy, treats its workers well, and doesn’t hurt animals—oh, and that makes them feel cool when they use it.
Companies would love to have that kind of reputation, and a handful seem to have achieved it. But do they deserve their haloes? Can a company make a profit doing so? And how can consumers avoid being tricked by phony marketing? In Ethical Chic, award-winning author Fran Hawthorne uses her business-investigative skills to analyze six favorites: Apple, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, American Apparel, Timberland, and Tom’s of Maine. She attends a Macworld conference and walks on the factory floors of American Apparel. She visits the wooded headquarters of Timberland, speaks to consumers who drive thirty miles to get their pretzels and plantains from Trader Joe’s, and confronts the founders of Tom’s of Maine. More than a how-to guide for daily dilemmas and ethical business practices, Ethical Chic is a blinders-off and nuanced look at the mixed bag of values on sale at companies that project a seemingly progressive image.

Globalization : a basic text / George Ritzer

Call number: JZ1318 .R577 2010

The first full-scale textbook of its kind, Globalization: A Basic Text provides a balanced introduction to the major topics in globalization studies. Written in a highly accessible style, and drawing on sources both academic and popular, the book adopts a definition of globalization that emphasizes transplanetary flows and the structures that both expedite and impede those flows. Driven by a range of theories from imperialism and Americanization (and anti-Americanism), to neo-liberalism and the neo-Marxian alternatives, as well the major types of cultural theory, the book examines the key events in the history of globalization, and the principle flows and structures produced in the course of that history. Among the major topics covered are the economy, culture, technology, media and the Internet, migration, the environment, global inequalities, and the future of globalization. Making extensive use of maps and with a glossary of key terms, this book offers the reader not only a descriptive, but also a critical, analysis of globalization. (From Google Books)

Buyographics : how demographic and economic changes will reinvent the way marketers reach consumers / Matt Carmichael

Call number: HF5415.32 .C37 2013

Author Matt Carmichael has been tracking demographic shifts for years, and provides a data-rich look at the changing American consumer. This book follows ten families in ten representative counties to examine their lives and how the decisions they make impact consumer behavior. This is not just a data book, because in the end each of those numbers—in datasets big and small—is a person. As you read those stories, the trends come to life and give you a greater understanding of how to reach your target—whether it’s a baby boomer farmer in Teton, Montana or a set of working parents in one of the most affluent counties in the US. Carmichael focuses on the top ten trends that are reshaping the consumer landscape and impacting buying behavior and the economic outlook of the world’s most important market. For each trend he provides ethnographic research from the families, stats from the leading consumer data sources, and exclusive interviews and examples from marketers, agencies, and media executives. These trends show how America is aging, growing more diverse ethnically, and becoming more polarized economically. Buyographics is a smart, engaging read that will be important for every marketer to consider before creating a successful campaign.  (From Google Books)

To sell is human : the surprising truth about moving others / Daniel Pink

Call number: BF774 .P56 2012

From the bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind comes an exploration of the power of selling, which each of us does every day–whether we know it or not. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans works in sales. More than fifteen million people earn their keep by convincing someone else to make a purchase. But dig deeper and a startling truth emerges: Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales–but so do the other eight out of nine. Whether we’re entrepreneurs persuading funders, employees pitching colleagues, or parents and teachers cajoling kids, we spend our days trying to move others. Today, like it or not, we’re all in sales. Or as Daniel H. Pink puts it, everyone is in the “moving business.” In this provocative book, Pink offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. He shows that sales, whether pushing a product or peddling an idea, isn’t what it used to be. Because of powerful economic changes, the glad-handing, truth-bending form of sales is a relic. In its place is a new approach to moving people that involves three very human qualities and four surprising skills. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Pink lays out the science for his counterintuitive insights, offers vivid examples and stories, and provides readers with tools to put the ideas into action. Smart yet accessible, bold yet well argued, this is the first book on sales for people who’ve never read a book about sales. It will change how you see your world and transform what you do at work, at school, and at home. (From Google Books)

American Winter DVD

Call number: HC110.P6 A44 2013

Produced and directed by Emmy award-winning filmmakers, Joe and Harry Gantz, American Winter is a documentary feature film that follows the personal stories of families struggling in the aftermath of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Years after the recession began, millions of families are struggling to meet their basic needs, and many formerly middle class families are finding themselves in financial crisis, and needing assistance for the first time in their lives. Meanwhile, the social safety net that was created to help people in difficult times has been weakened by massive budget cuts, creating a perfect storm of greater need and fewer resources to help families in trouble. Filmed over the course of one winter in Portland, Oregon, American Winter presents an intimate and emotionally evocative snapshot of the state of our economy as it is playing out in many American families.

The Foreclosure Survival Guide: Keep Your House or Walk Away With Money in Your Pocket / Stephen Elias Attorney

Call number: KF697 .F6 E43 2013

Bankruptcy attorney Elias targets the estimated two million American homeowners who are currently in default on their mortgages. Elias explains how foreclosure works, what options there may be for keeping a home when in default, and what to do when that is not possible. He includes instruction on negotiating a workout with a lender as well as chapters on how to use bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure. Elias’s section on fighting foreclosure in the courts helps readers understand the circumstances in which they may be able to delay or stop a foreclosure action. The appendixes provide summaries of each state’s foreclosure laws, a glossary, and information on finding and working with lawyers and bankruptcy petition preparers. Straightforward and timely, this is recommended for most public libraries. ( Library Journal )

Ninety percent of everything : inside shipping, the invisible industry that puts clothes on your back, gas in your car, and food on your plate / Rose George

Call number: HE571 .G465 2013

On ship-tracking websites, the waters are black with dots. Each dot is a ship; each ship is laden with boxes; each box is laden with goods. In postindustrial economies, we no longer produce but buy. We buy, so we must ship. Without shipping there would be no clothes, food, paper, or fuel. Without all those dots, the world would not work.
Freight shipping has been no less revolutionary than the printing press or the Internet, yet it is all but invisible. Away from public scrutiny, shipping revels in suspect practices, dubious operators, and a shady system of “flags of convenience.” Infesting our waters, poisoning our air, and a prime culprit of acoustic pollution, shipping is environmentally indefensible. And then there are the pirates.
Rose George, acclaimed chronicler of what we would rather ignore, sails from Rotterdam to Suez to Singapore on ships the length of football fields and the height of Niagara Falls; she patrols the Indian Ocean with an anti-piracy task force; she joins seafaring chaplains, and investigates the harm that ships inflict on endangered whales.
Sharply informative and entertaining, Ninety Percent of Everything reveals the workings and perils of an unseen world that holds the key to our economy, our environment, and our very civilization. (From Google Books)