Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Ben & Jerry's : Just Another Capitalist Like the Rest of Them
Opinion Journal ^ | 10/20/2005 | Stephen Moore

Posted on 10/20/2005 10:06:42 AM PDT by SirLinksalot

When will trial lawyers dip their scoops into Ben & Jerry's?

STEPHEN MOORE

I've always prided myself on conscientiously avoiding funding anti-free-market liberal causes in America, so you won't ever catch me pouring Newman's Own oil-and-vinegar dressing on my salad. But I confess to an addiction to Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey and the greatest flavor ever invented in ice-creamdom, Coffee Heath Bar Crunch.

So this weekend, while in Vermont to speak at the Freedom Fest sponsored by the Ethan Allen Institute, a conservative state think tank, I paid a visit to the world-famous Ben & Jerry's ice-cream factory.

To be in Vermont and not visit this landmark would be as unforgivable as visiting Rome and not going to the Colosseum. So I slapped down three bucks and waited in the gift shop where a pint of ice cream costs $3.99--which to me borders on price-gouging. (One of the supreme ironies of this socially conscious firm is that it is one of the best capitalists you'll ever come across.)

The tour itself is a 30-minute propaganda campaign explaining why the company's founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for their unwavering commitment to the environment and economic justice.

Meanwhile, their factory is a monument to the efficiencies of capitalism and technological progress: Several dozen giant computer-operated machines churn out hundreds of thousands of cartons a day. I half expect the massive energy-gulping freezers to be solar-paneled or powered by green-friendly windmills, but no, they use lots and lots of conventional electricity. It turns out that if you want really good ice cream, you just have to tolerate a little more global warming. That's a trade-off that I personally am willing to make.

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: ben; benandjerrys; capitalist; jerrys; leftists; stephenmoore
Well what do you know ? When it comes to making money, you can't help being a capitalist pig.
1 posted on 10/20/2005 10:06:45 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
Shocked to learn that leftists can be elitist hypocrites.
2 posted on 10/20/2005 10:10:59 AM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ncountylee

The following paragraphs made me chuckle non-stop :




Our guide is almost apologetic when he tells us that back in 2000 our lovable heroes got filthy rich by selling out to corporate food giant Unilever. But never fear: In the tour video, the new, aptly named CEO, Walt Freese, assures us that "our commitment to social and economic justice and the environment is as important to us as profitability. It's our heritage." I nearly have to wipe away tears streaming down my cheeks.

It is fortuitous that I am here the very week Ben & Jerry's announced that, for the first time in 10 years, it will get back to "leading with its values" by spending $5 million on a social awareness TV ad campaign. More than one analyst has wondered aloud whether this is just a slick Madison Avenue advertising gimmick to hike profits. After all, corporate responsibility has become the chic new marketing theme for Fortune 500 companies like British Petroleum, Starbucks and even GE. But Mr. Freese assures us that "this isn't a short-term strategy to drive up sales. These are issues that are important for our society to address."

And just what are those issues? Here our earnest tour guide raises his chin a bit and proudly declares that the first ads are dedicated to saving the family farm. When I burst out laughing, 22 sets of angry eyes glared at me. For the past 100 years, as the productivity of the American farmer has surged to unprecedented heights, the number of Americans working in agriculture to feed the world has fallen from 35 workers per 100 to two.

This is called progress. What is Ben & Jerry's proposed solution, anyway? To turn back the clock and abolish the tractor? Many Americans seem to be under the illusion that the small family farmer has lived a carefree idyllic lifestyle. In truth, this livelihood has traditionally involved backbreaking toil, work-days that last from sun-up to sundown, and monotony--which is why sons and daughters have been fleeing the farm for five generations. The only people who actually want to save small farms are people who've never worked on a farm.

The Ben & Jerry's ads moan that the corporatization of farming is a horrid trend. I couldn't help asking our tour guide during the Q-&-A why, if corporatization of farming is such a bad thing, that isn't also true of the corporatization of ice cream. Those same 22 pairs of eyes glare back at me.


3 posted on 10/20/2005 10:13:45 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
(One of the supreme ironies of this socially conscious firm is that it is one of the best capitalists you'll ever come across.)

That's not irony, it's hypocrisy, and it's straight out of the Leftist Playbook. (How can you get to write for the Wall Street Journal and not know that?)

4 posted on 10/20/2005 10:14:14 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (denial is the opiate of the masses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

Hmm, a socialist practicing capitalism. Who would have thought. Wonder if the thought has ever crossed their minds about how much money from there business would actually make it into their own pockets in a socialist nation.


5 posted on 10/20/2005 10:16:24 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Government is running amuck)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
Ben & Jerry's exposed itself as a total fraud about 10-15 years ago when it decided to get involved in a major hot-button political issue in Vermont at the time. A developer was proposing to build a retail center that included the first Wal-Mart store in the state of Vermont, and Ben & Jerry's became a high-profile supporter of a citizens' crusade against the "big box" store. The company made all kinds of heartfelt, sanctimonious pleas to "preserve our small-state way of life," "keep out greedy giant corporations," etc.

The only problem was that someone did a little research and found out that Ben & Jerry's had already signed an agreement with Wal-Mart to open an ice cream concession inside the store.

Nothing wrong with hedging you bets by hitching your wagon to a "greedy giant corporation" that's looking to "destroy your small-state way of life," I guess.

6 posted on 10/20/2005 10:17:07 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I ain't got a dime, but what I got is mine. I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
Ben and Jerry no longer own the company.

It was purchased by the Dutch conglomerate Unilever a few years back after the incompetent CEO Ben and Jerry hired to succeed them ran the company into the ground.

7 posted on 10/20/2005 10:17:23 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
I couldn't help asking our tour guide during the Q-&-A why, if corporatization of farming is such a bad thing, that isn't also true of the corporatization of ice cream.

I love confronting and confounding liberals with logic. Doubtless, though, the guide answered, "I don't know, I just work here."

8 posted on 10/20/2005 10:21:35 AM PDT by Sensei Ern (Now, IB4Z! Can I put my blog address as my tag? http://trss.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
From 2000 Reflections:

Chunky Commie Ice Cream-- In April, America bid a fond adieux to Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. $326 million million capitalist dollars was the bloody ransom paid for the greatest social experiment since Twentieth Century Motor. This funky ice cream brand now sits in the Unilever portfolio, alongside Skippy Peanut Butter, Helmans Mayonnaise, and Pepsodent Toothpaste. And with the Ben and Jerry's deal, Unilever also acquired Slimfast, to insure they have you as a customer, both coming and going.

Unintentionally, founders Ben and Jerry Cohen had stumbled into the greatest marketing scheme of the eighties. Their ice cream is nothing more than a frozen one pound candy bar. Flavors like "Chubby Hubby" mock how truly decadent their confection is. This would normally cause your average liberal to shiver with guilt, adding lipids to their already excessive form, while societies are starving in Africa.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream was the biggest vendor of guilt relief in the modern world. Health consciousness had forbidden the kind of fat laden, cholesterol rich delight that lives in those recycled paper tubs. But who can resist? Instead of relieving your guilt by promising 100% of your daily vitamin requirements, Ben & Jerry offer something a little more substantial, Social Nutrition. Sure your clogging your arteries and gaining weight, but never mind, We’ll help save the earth with every mouthful. Yum, was that a saturated fat filled nut I just sank my tooth into? Yes but don’t worry, It was a brazil nut from the South American rain forest, every one you eat saves a little bit of forest. Sure that was a mouthful of rich Swiss Chocolate, but it came from a chocolate company that never starved infants. Yes our cream is 100% milk fat, but that milk fat came from family farmers, and was blended with 100% pure cane sugar in a plant where everybody makes almost the same wage.

The company also became an unintentional experiment in the nature of the CEO. Marxists like Michael Moore find humor in the fact that the CEO of IBM cannot reconfigure a hard drive. The assumption of course is that anybody can be a CEO. Women and minorities constantly decry the "Glass Ceiling" that prevents their ascending to the top floor offices, held back solely by their gender or race. When Ben & Jerry decided to retire (wealthy), they went in search of a Socially responsible CEO. Certainly a woman or minority would be preferred. but because they organize their corporate structure in a socially equitable pattern, the highest paid employee could only make five times the pay of the lowest. The company was flooded with applications for the 60K/year position, but not one was qualified.

To great fanfare they announced in February of 1994 they had succeeded in their search for a qualified CEO. Robert Holland, an African American, took the helm of the company for a much greater salary than the 60K advertised. The truth is that Qualified Women and Minority CEOs can pretty much write their own ticket, as their demand for diversity in the boardroom is actually quite high. Mr Holland was forced to resign two years later amidst rapidly plummeting stock prices.

Ben and Jerry, obviously consumed with greed then hired a white male executive from a gun manufacturer to replace him at a substantially higher salary. Apparently social justice only is important when your stock price is up Ben and Jerry, now very well educated in the truth about capitalism decided to take the money and run. God speed blessed comrades, god speed.

9 posted on 10/20/2005 10:22:11 AM PDT by Yo-Yo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
More "do as I say, not do as I do" crap.

Like Bozo, Bono, whatever the hell his name is, "I represent the poorest of the poor". Right, then give all your money to them.
10 posted on 10/20/2005 10:22:34 AM PDT by ryan71
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wideawake

"It is fortuitous that I am here the very week Ben & Jerry's announced that, for the first time in 10 years, it will get back to "leading with its values" by spending $5 million on a social awareness TV ad campaign."

More crap from Bum & Jerky (yet their product is made by a multinational conglomerate)..the signing Blue Bell cow ads will beat the stuffing out of the B/J ads!


11 posted on 10/20/2005 10:23:14 AM PDT by kaktuskid
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand
(How can you get to write for the Wall Street Journal and not know that?)

Stephen Moore does not work for the WSJ. He is, however, a great supply-sider (yippee!).

That said, I truly do see irony in the behavior of the leftists and the corporations that serve them. Companies like Ben and Jerry's act in their own best interest. They have concluded it is in their best interest to appeal to the lefties. Therefore, they adopt a "socially conscious" culture to appeal to the lefties. The "socially conscious" culture is adopted to further the corporate interests. No hypocrisy there. The leftists admire the "socially conscious" culture. No hyporisy there, either, but certainly irony because the culture they admire was created to further the corporation's own self-interest.

12 posted on 10/20/2005 10:26:32 AM PDT by SolidSupplySide
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: wideawake

"It was purchased by the Dutch conglomerate Unilever a few years back after the incompetent CEO Ben and Jerry hired to succeed them ran the company into the ground."

Wasn't that guy an affirmative action pick? It's hard to feel sorry for a pair of G-damn hippies.


13 posted on 10/20/2005 10:29:10 AM PDT by BadAndy (Back off man, I'm a scientist.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: ncountylee

I find it very funny how so many "intellectuals" and rich kids turn socialist. It's such a great and wonderful theory isn't it. Yet, I'd like to see one of these spoiled rich kids actually sell all their wealth and give it to the poor. You never see that happen, do you? They rather loot from members of the middle class and give what their socialist cohorts don't squander to less industrious members of the middle class.


14 posted on 10/20/2005 10:33:06 AM PDT by Sam Gamgee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
The only people who actually want to save small farms are people who've never worked on a farm.

Man, ain't that the truth.

15 posted on 10/20/2005 10:38:21 AM PDT by Obadiah (Support Harriet Miers!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
And just what are those issues? Here our earnest tour guide raises his chin a bit and proudly declares that the first ads are dedicated to saving the family farm. When I burst out laughing, 22 sets of angry eyes glared at me. For the past 100 years, as the productivity of the American farmer has surged to unprecedented heights, the number of Americans working in agriculture to feed the world has fallen from 35 workers per 100 to two.

This is called progress. What is Ben & Jerry's proposed solution, anyway? To turn back the clock and abolish the tractor? Many Americans seem to be under the illusion that the small family farmer has lived a carefree idyllic lifestyle. In truth, this livelihood has traditionally involved backbreaking toil, work-days that last from sun-up to sundown, and monotony--which is why sons and daughters have been fleeing the farm for five generations. The only people who actually want to save small farms are people who've never worked on a farm.

The Ben & Jerry's ads moan that the corporatization of farming is a horrid trend. I couldn't help asking our tour guide during the Q-&-A why, if corporatization of farming is such a bad thing, that isn't also true of the corporatization of ice cream. Those same 22 pairs of eyes glare back at me.

LOL! Read the whole article - well worth it. I prefer Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch myself!

16 posted on 10/20/2005 10:39:28 AM PDT by Rummyfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

The author is wrong....Marsha Marsha Marshmallow is the best flavor.


17 posted on 10/20/2005 10:40:35 AM PDT by GSWarrior
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Yo-Yo
America bid a fond adieux to Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. $326 million million capitalist dollars was the bloody ransom paid for the greatest social experiment since Twentieth Century Motor.

Ayn Rand ping?

18 posted on 10/20/2005 10:45:36 AM PDT by Freedom_Fighter_2001 (When money is no object - it's your money they're talking about)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Yo-Yo
Ben and Jerry, obviously consumed with greed then hired a white male executive from a gun manufacturer to replace him at a substantially higher salary. Apparently social justice only is important when your stock price is up Ben and Jerry, now very well educated in the truth about capitalism decided to take the money and run. God speed blessed comrades, god speed.

From a gun manufacturer? The horror! LOL!

19 posted on 10/20/2005 10:47:19 AM PDT by Rummyfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

Weren't Ben and Jerry involved in trying to prevent unions from forming in the company some years ago?


20 posted on 10/20/2005 10:53:20 AM PDT by Lizavetta
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

Sorry Steve.


All Ben and Jerry's Blows.

The Worlds Best Ice Cream, and none of the Hypocrisy.

http://www.2dips.com/ice-cream-reviews.php?id=30


21 posted on 10/20/2005 10:54:29 AM PDT by hobbes1 (Hobbes1TheOmniscient® "I know everything so you dont have to...." ;)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rummyfan
My wife and I took the tour a few weeks ago on our vacation. The tour guide mentioned that one of the benefits of the Unilever buyout was that Ben & Jerry's could work from the inside to turn Unilever into a more socially-conscious corporation. A few seconds later, she mentioned that Ben and Jerry don't have anything to do with the company anymore. I guess that experiment didn't fare too well.

BTW, in terms of best flavor, I got two words - Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz
22 posted on 10/20/2005 10:56:12 AM PDT by Guvmint_Cheese (Beware of virgin porcupines bearing antichrists...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

I've tried B&J's ice cream twice and it's no better than Pet, Mayfield, or Bryers. When you consider the price, it boarders on nasty.


23 posted on 10/20/2005 10:59:00 AM PDT by Niteranger68 ("Spare the rod, spoil the liberal.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Guvmint_Cheese

Nah, the best flavor is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Not only does it help support the small dairy farmer, but also the small chocolate chip manufacturer.


24 posted on 10/20/2005 11:02:08 AM PDT by Sensei Ern (Now, IB4Z! Can I put my blog address as my tag? http://trss.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Sensei Ern

Have you tried "Fossil Fuel"? It has little chocolate dinosaurs in it. YUM!


25 posted on 10/20/2005 11:20:34 AM PDT by ladyesk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: SolidSupplySide
Companies like Ben and Jerry's act in their own best interest.

Very true. In case you missed it, there was a brilliant discussion of just this topic in Reason recently with the always entertaining T.J. Rodgers weighing in.

26 posted on 10/20/2005 11:21:08 AM PDT by atomic_dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

I don't like ben and jerry's ice cream; I don't like the names of their ice cream and I don't like them or the company they founded.

Well, that about says it all.


27 posted on 10/20/2005 11:42:43 AM PDT by freekitty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot

My wife and I visited the same place last month. I had the same reaction as the columnist. These guys sold out to Unilever!! This is capitalism built on cows -- where are the animal-rights activists when you really need them?


28 posted on 10/20/2005 1:05:37 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats (Lashed to the USS George W. Bush: "Damn the Torpedos, Full Miers Ahead!!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BadAndy
It's hard to feel sorry for a pair of G-damn hippies.

Feel sorry for them? They sold out to Unilever and made a fortune! Going through the factory tour last month I got the sneaking suspicion that these two guys used the hippie act as a way to get people to buy their overpriced product! And yet they are still heroes, after selling out!!

29 posted on 10/20/2005 1:16:19 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats (Lashed to the USS George W. Bush: "Damn the Torpedos, Full Miers Ahead!!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: You Dirty Rats

We went on the tour last spring. The kids had a great time and my husband and I just rolled our eyes.
The samples were quite tasty though.....


30 posted on 10/20/2005 1:19:20 PM PDT by ladyesk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
The elites in socialist societies are allowed to be wealthy. They know what's best for us peasants. Thems the rules.
31 posted on 10/20/2005 5:30:40 PM PDT by satchmodog9 (Free choice is not what it seems)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hobbes1

Oh, no, no....Godiva Belgian Dark Chocolate!!!


32 posted on 10/20/2005 5:36:15 PM PDT by Sisku Hanne (Deprogramming the left, one truth at a time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: SolidSupplySide
irony is a euphemism in this case for hypocrisy.

It might be an irony if it wasn't a matter of conscious policy on the part of the left to use any means necessary, including capitalism, to subjugate the masses.

the term irony imparts a dignity to left wing tactics that it doesn't deserve and paints the user of the term as naive.

33 posted on 10/20/2005 5:50:32 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (denial is the opiate of the masses.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: SirLinksalot
Thank goodness for Blue Bell! Natural Vanilla Bean on a slice of hot blackberry cobbler.......sorry I digress!
34 posted on 10/20/2005 5:56:22 PM PDT by makoman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson