The Overloaded Liberal: Shopping, Investing, Parenting, and Other Daily Dilemmas in an Age of Political Activism

The Overloaded Liberal: Shopping, Investing, Parenting, and Other Daily Dilemmas in an Age of Political Activism

by Fran Hawthorne




A veteran journalist and levelheaded mom tackles the ethics of everyday life
Today’s shoppers don’t just consume; we investigate and categorize the impact of our decisions on climate change, animals, our health, our political views, geopolitical relationships, working conditions, and more. Yet when we actually try to live according to our principles, it can be so overwhelming, contradictory, and demanding that we want to scream. Do I buy imported organic or local nonorganic? Is it terrible if my child wants watermelon out of season? Veteran journalist and levelheaded mom Fran Hawthorne sets out to answer these questions—and spark more. En route, she interviews activists and ordinary consumers alike, including officials from PETA, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, an organization of “EcoMoms,” and the rabbinical group that has redefined kosher. She learns from ethicists, psychologists, Wall Street analysts, child-rearing experts, and policy wonks, while examining everything from Barack Obama’s union-made inaugural ball tuxedo to the conundrum of how electric cars might obtain their electricity. And she delves into socially responsible investing at a moment when the wheels have come off the economy. Her odyssey will be all too familiar and often funny for consumers who have thrown up their hands and wondered, “What’s a good liberal to do?”

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807001295
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 03/15/2011
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Award-winning journalist Fran Hawthorne has been a writer or editor at Fortune, BusinessWeek, Institutional Investor, and other publications. She is the author of three books on health care and investing, including Inside the FDA and Pension Dumping. She lives with her family in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 Juggling Lessons 1

Chapter 2 Morals at the Mall 21

Chapter 3 Can an Ethical Liberal Eat Meat? (and Other Food-Related Quandaries) 54

Chapter 4 Enough Green, Already! 91

Chapter 5 Beyond Apartheid and Tobacco: Redefining Social Investing 121

Chapter 6 The People Who Make Our Stuff 139

Chapter 7 The Price of Purity 157

Chapter 8 How the Experts Set Their Priorities 174

Chapter 9 My Choices 197

Acknowledgments 215

Notes 217

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