PC Culture

Animal-Crackers Box Criticized for Not Dismantling Capitalism

(Grocery store: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
The obvious question is: Why would anyone want to dismantle capitalism in the first place?

According to a new piece in Vox, Nabisco’s just-redesigned animal-crackers box deserves criticism because it does nothing to “dismantle” capitalism.

In case you missed the (very important) news, Nabisco listened to pressure from PETA last week and removed the cage from the design on the box of its animal crackers. It was truly a giant step for humanity. I’ve been eating and sleeping better just knowing that these imaginary animals have been freed from their imaginary captivity.

In all seriousness, though, this was a politically correct PR stunt aimed at pleasing a politically correct crowd. It did absolutely nothing to help anything or anyone, because the animals in question don’t even exist. But as ridiculously PC as it was, it still wasn’t good enough for one writer at Vox . . . because it did nothing to “dismantle” capitalism.

“The symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment,” Daisy Alioto writes in the piece.

“When art in advertising bears the burden for corporate malpractice, the people involved in these changes get to feel good, but other mechanisms continue to thrive under the surface.”

Alioto goes on to note that the CEO of Mondelez, Nabisco’s parent company, “was making 402 times more than the company’s median worker” before stepping down last year. “This level of corporate greed cannot be fixed with a new box design,” she concludes.

On one point, Alioto is right: It would actually be impossible to stamp out capitalism with a single box design. This, however, is exactly why her complaining about the animal-crackers box is ridiculous.

To be fair, Alioto’s piece contains other gripes about the new design. For example: She admits that the old design had some sentimental and personal value for her, since her own great-granduncle designed it, and she doesn’t think it should have been changed since it’s not going to change anything about the world anyway.

On that point, I can sort of agree. The designs on an animal box are not going to actually change anything, so it seems a little nonsensical for them to have been changed. Where I strongly disagree, however, is with her idea that it’s a bad thing that this box design is not going to dismantle capitalism. Why? Because capitalism is awesome. We should count ourselves lucky that our system is one with incentives for innovation and efficiency, one where both consumers and businesses have more choice and freedom than in any other economic system.

If you’re upset about your family’s legacy being destroyed by the new design, then fine. But if you’re upset because the new design doesn’t destroy capitalism? Well, then I think you need to educate yourself a bit more and be careful what you wish for.

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