Late Capitalism

Let’s check in on some of the brands increasingly running your life.

Consumerism drives climate changesorry! — and there have been plenty of developments in the weird, dark world of retail this week. Let’s go:

  1. Brands are yelling at Trump: Outdoor retailer and newly, weirdly posh brand Patagonia has declared outright war on the Trump administration. “The President Stole Your Land,” the banner on Patagonia’s homepage read as of Monday, after the administration passed two orders cutting massive chunks out of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Those formerly protected public lands are now open to private interests (read: fossil fuel extraction).
  2. Brands are profiting from rural poverty: Dollar General, the super-discount chain, has grown in sales and profits over the past seven years by expanding into increasingly poverty-stricken rural areas devoid of economic opportunity. “The economy is continuing to create more of our core customer,” Chief Executive Todd Vasos told the Wall Street Journal.
  3. Brands are expanding their empires: Carbon secret-keeper/urban development scourge Amazon dot com surprise-opened its Australian site on Tuesday. Amazon, however, is waiting to trot out the free express shipping option for Aussies until after the New Year. That little feature is both one of the company’s more significant competitive advantages and one of its biggest environmental offenses.