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May 7, 1976 C. 13 GNti …. At Gldq, Pee* “Bergman Yes, Reynolds No” and “Academic Freedom Now.” A Lariat reporter announced solemnly that “this is the biggest thing that’s happened on campus since the war protests a couple of years ago.” Most students cared little for the fray. Snorting his disgust, one Baylor student said of the picketers, “If they don’t like it here, why don’t they go somewhere else? Nobody asked them to come here.” The protest didn’t last long. After a brief meeting with a Baylor dean, their complaints softened. The dean urged the protesters to make an appointment with McCall. A few days later, they still had not done so. By Martha M. Hamilton Washington, D.C. Jim Hightower, former director of the Agribusiness Accountability Project, has written a paradoxically entertaining book about the dangers of unrestrained competition in the food industry. The book, Eat Your Heart Out: How Food Profiteers Victimize the Consumer, is an account of how major food corporations, operating ruthlessly and with enormous economic power, have been able to reshape a vital part of our lives and leave us financially, socially, and gustatorily poorer for it. He attacks the central myththat the changes in our food system are the result of a benign force called competition. Competition, the agribusiness boys insist, will deliver the best, cheapest, most efficient food system. Accustomed to think of economic competition as good, we sit still and tongue-tied while businessmen piously destroy competition in its own name. Less competition means more profits, so the ultimate goal of all competition is a non-competitive situation. Hightower quotes University of Missouri economist James Rhodes on the point. “One of the paradoxes of markets is that when competition drives out too many competitors then competition destroys itself.” Economic competition is too important to be trusted to the competitors. Once competition is destroyed, agribusiness corporations are in a position to deliver us anything they want and make us pay for it-7-Elevens, Pringles, Tony the Tiger, tasteless vegetables from California to replace the fresh ones once sold locally in season, and all the other staples of the American diet. It’s not better, cheaper or more nutritious; it is more profitable for Hamilton is a reporter for The Washington Post, a former co-director of the Agribusiness Accountability Project, and author of The Great American Grain Robbery. But some students will remember the incident. “I really wanted to see that movie” explained a drama student from Dallas. “If we can see ‘Patton’ and `Joe’ and all the violent movies, why couldn’t we see the Bergman movie?” Perhaps the best comment on the episode came from three law students who wrote a letter to The Lariat. “In a famous declaration on obscenity in speech and press, Potter Stewart, who is merely a justice of the Supreme Court, has stated that he knows it when he sees it. But Baylor is blessed with one of even greater presence, for he knows it whether he sees it or not.” the food firms. Take the mom&pop stores, most of which have been wiped out in the name of greater efficiency. In their place we have supermarkets with “margins equal to or higher than those of the small competitors they displaced,” according to Hightower. Not satisfied to leave it there, the food industry which manufactures ersatz eggs, cheese, whipped cream, and fruit juice has also created 7-Elevens, ersatz mom&pop stores. “In 1960, there were only 2,500 convenience stores in the country. By 1970, their numbers were over 13,000 and increasing steadily,” writes Hightower. He quotes the Department of Agriculture describing the appeal of stores such as 7-Elevens as “convenience of location, quick service, and long hours” although pointing out that they have higher prices, less brand selection, and higher profit margins. “Read that description again. What they have described is the mom&pop store! We have not done away with the mom&pop store at have only done away with mom & pop,” Hightower fumes. By all the “bigger is better” arguments, huge convenience store chains like Southland Corp., which owns 7-Eleven, should be delivering cheaper food. “In fact, their prices frequently are higher than those in the few real remaining mom&pop stores, and they have not lowered their marginsSouthland’s profit rates generally run 50 percent to 100 percent greater than those of supermarkets,” according to Hightower. “It makes sense for genuine mom&pop stores, with their low volume, to ha v e a bit higher margins than chain stores, but 7-Eleven is a chain, with $1.4 billion in sales a year. That makes it the tenth largest grocery retailer in the countrynot exactly a low-volume corner store.” What you’re paying for in the 7-Eleven is not as much convenience as market dominance, and you pay with more than spare change. “Real mom&pop stores were flexible enough to obtain products that fit the we print with the union label Also: Multi-copy service Lecture notes Collegiate Advertising 901 W. 24th St., Austin YaWD To day! 477-3641 The Outpost Austin’s Best Barbecue 11:00-7:30 Monday-Saturday Closed Sunday David and Marion Moss 345-9045 Highway 183 North Printers Stationers Mailers Typesetters High Speed Web Offset Publication Press Complete Computer Data Processing Services Counseling Designing Copy Writing Editing Journals Magazines Newspapers Books The Only 100% Union Shop in Texas! FUTURA 512 / 442-7836 Box 3485 1714 S. Congress Austin, Tx 78764 HAIAF PlUCE RECORDS MAGAZINE 4 AUSTIA 1514 LAVACA. WDALLMACCII 25: :5435Cric e4 101″176NINTYANt 1405 r.Livi saici SLtL BIG 205 S. ZANG . PRICES. Food and money 15