Principles of Sociology/The Economy
This American Life presents... "The Fix is In"... Yes, airline prices are always the same no matter which airline you call; in Presidential elections you always feel like you're choosing between the lesser of two evils; and it doesn't really make your hair any cleaner if do the "repeat" part of the instructions "shampoo, rinse, repeat." There are all sorts of situations in which we suspect the fix is in, but we almost never find out for certain. On today's show, for once, we find out. The whole program is devoted to one story, in which we go inside the back rooms of one multinational corporation and hear the intricate workings recorded on tape of how they put the fix in. We hear from Kurt Eichenwald, whose book The Informant is about the price fixing conspiracy at the food company Archer Daniels Midland, and the executive who cooperated with the FBI in recording over 250 hours of secret video and audio tapes, probably the most remarkable videotapes ever made of an American company in the middle of a criminal act. Prologue. Ira speaks with two people who believe they've uncovered behind- the-scenes conspiracies but can't be sure. Attorney Andy Hail has sued the two biggest supermarkets in Chicago (Dominick's and Jewel) because they charge a dollar more for milk than stores around the country, and because their prices seem to change simultaneously, as if orchestrated. Cindi Canary from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform tells the story of an Illinois law that seems to mostly benefit one man--the man who made sure it made it though the legislature. Act One. We hear the first part of our story about Archer Daniels Midland and FBI informant Mark Whitacre. In this half, Whitacre inadvertantly ends up a cooperating witness, and turns himself into one of the best cooperating witnesses in the history of U.S. law enforcement, gathering evidence with an adeptness few have matched. (25 minutes) Act Two. Our story about ADM and Mark Whitacre continues. The FBI finds out that their star cooperating witness Mark Whitacre has been lying to them for three years about some rather serious matters.