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Our ‘ethical’ shopping habit

“It’s easy to poke fun at the obviously useless, because not even people who buy such things believe they’re really useful. Motorised ice-cream cones and USB chameleons are simply meant to be fun, and if we think the worst excesses of modern capitalism are to create cheap sources of entertainment, then we are very sad puritans indeed. More interesting is how the cunning machinations of capitalism create products that people believe are useful, virtuous and ethical, but which are really useless, wasteful and even morally questionable. And I think I can find many such products simply by walking into my local health-food shop.”

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