Dawn Allen

Dawn Allen is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about sustainability, political economy, gardening, traditional craftwork, and simple living. She and her husband are currently renovating a rural homestead in southeastern Michigan.

Hunting and Gathering Poverty Food

Maverick libertarian economist and author Tyler Cowen argues in his book Average is Over that in the coming years, American society will deeply bifurcate into Haves and Have-Nots. The lucky Haves will become (or remain) quite wealthy by developing tech-based skills that allow them to partner with intelligent computers. This will enable them to work

Is it time for a Universal Basic Income?

It’s no secret that work has been going away. Depending upon your perspective, this is something to longingly anticipate, or for most of us, to fear. Those who look forward to the glorious future of hamburger kiosks and self-driving cars seem to be happy at the prospect of paying less and not having to deal

A Peek Behind Whole Foods’ Green Veneer

Ah, Whole Foods! The retailer that greets you with a bounty of flowers and fresh produce when you walk through their doors, inviting you to pile your cart high with their cornucopia of organic products, fair trade coffees, and healthful hot meals and bulk medicinal herbs. The retailer that posts their Core Values right on the wall for all to see, like “We Practice and Advance Environmental Stewardship” and “We Satisfy, Delight and Nourish Our Customers.” One could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled into an ecotopia of conscious capitalism, or at least a place where the products and practices that the shopper votes for with their dollars are less guilty than other, more sullied retail grocery stores.

Outsourcing Continues To Turn the Screw

The industrial paradigm is built on the attempt to get something for (almost) nothing. Of course, it’s not the first system to take a stab at accomplishing this feat, it’s merely one more step along the path of refining the process. Around the time that we decided to work full time at this “growing our

Arbitrage: An Answer and an Absurdity

A story I heard on NPR recently highlighted the income potential of retail arbitrage. Fred Ruckel and his wife Natasha make a particularly effective cat toy, and Fred and sold it in his Amazon shop for US$40. Eventually he discovered that scalpers were flipping the toys on eBay for $20 more. It gets worse: when

UPDATE: Trumping the Safety of our Food

Remember that time when Stewart Parnell, who ran the Peanut Corporation of America, knew about the salmonella bacteria contaminating his filthy factory’s peanut butter and covered it up, telling his workers to “just ship it” anyway? The infected peanut butter, prosecutors alleged, killed nine people and sickened thousands. As a result, Parnell is now in

Just one word: Microplastics

The study results released last week which revealed that 29 major tributary rivers leading to the Great Lakes all contained measurable concentrations of microplastics is but the most recent facepalm in the history of plastic. Humans have been making plastic-like materials, such as natural rubber, since ancient times, but starting in the mid-1800s, chemists began trying

No Longer Sweet on the Sugar Industry

When the revelation of a long-buried conspiracy by the sugar industry to blame fat for sugar-related health problems came to light last week, many heads nodded knowingly. There have been whispers for years about the topsy-turvy health advice handed down by the mainstream media and health establishment, recommending low-fat diets for people who wanted to live

The Decay of our Dental Care System

In 2007, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver died from a preventable brain infection. The Maryland youth suffered from a tooth infection that spread to his brain after his family, who had difficulty finding a dentist who would take Medicaid before their coverage lapsed, was unable to afford dental care. After Deamonte’s death, then-Maryland governor Martin O’Malley introduced

The Multiple Meanings of Fair

What is fairness? We all know it when we see it, right? Yet somehow, we keep disagreeing with each other about what is fair, especially when we feel like we’re the ones getting shafted in any given situation. I submit to you that the problem lies in the multiple competing definitions of “fairness” that vary