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From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs (Columbia Studies in the History of U.S Capitalism)


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English | August 8th, 2017 | ASIN: B0741CVYZ1, ISBN: 0231171587 | 326 Pages | EPUB | 46.65 MB

In the 1960s and '70s, a diverse range of storefronts-including head shops, African American bookstores, feminist businesses, and organic grocers-countered corporate power by bringing the work of political movements (the New Left, Black Power, feminism, environmentalism, and more) into the marketplace.

Through shared ownership, limited growth, and workplace democracy, these "activist entrepreneurs" offered alternatives to conventional profit-driven business models. By the middle of the 1970s, thousands of these businesses operated across the United States-but only a handful survive today, and some, like Whole Foods Market, have abandoned their quest for collective political change in favor of the pursuit of profits.

Vividly portraying the struggles, successes, and sacrifices made by these activist business owners, From Head Shops to Whole Foods writes a new history of social movements and capitalism by showing how activists embraced small businesses in a way few historians have considered. The book rethinks the widespread idea that the work of social movements and political dissent is by definition antithetical to business and market activity. Joshua Clark Davis uncovers the historical roots of contemporary interest in ethical consumption, social enterprise, mission-driven businesses, and buying local while also showing how current companies, both big and small, have adopted the language-but rarely the mission-of liberation and social change.
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