I was listening to NPR the other day, and they had a piece on the proliferation of caffeine drinks (like Red Bull) and their counterparts (such as Mary Jane’s Soda).  We have unfettered access to drinks that provide us with a boost of energy (uppers) and, if things are too stressful or we just need to chill, there are drinks to calm our nerves (downers, or soma as I’d call it).  It seems to me that this can only be playing havoc on our bodies and metabolisms.

Hopefully I’m not the only one to see a problem with this legal, mass-infusion of chemical substances (i.e. drugs) into our society.  Whatever happened to proper diet and exercise to maintain our levels of energy?

We seem to be undergoing a slow and insidious lifestyle change that involves reliance on technology, attention spans dwindling to the length of a tweet (and its accompanying text speak), and dependence on fad food items to adjust our energy or weight.  And all of these are brought to us by corporations, 95% of which do not have their consumers’ best interest as their number one priority (IMHO).

No, I’m not proposing that there’s a corporate cabal secretly trying to control every aspect of our life (it’s not that secret).  However, I do have concerns about massive corporate conglomerates (public and private) that have worrisome levels of commercial and political power resulting from their billions in revenue.  (Again, the top companies don’t even pay much—if any—taxes).

Sure, the free market can be a good thing as it fosters competition, innovation, and allows entrepreneurs to write a success story.  But oversight is needed to prevent that market from creating a veritable army of Frankenstein’s monsters (albeit monsters with a slick advertising campaign).

Of course, I would also argue that consumers need to make critical, informed choices about the products they buy.  With the proliferation of information and easy access (brought to us by some of those same tech corporations), we are able to do just that.  But it still takes effort (and in some cases sacrifices) to live a more unfettered life—if you want to.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Supernatural (CW -> Time Warner) while eating my Half-Baked Fro Yo (Ben & Jerry’s -> Heartbrand -> Unilever).

Advertisements