The Administration: Guardian of the Gullible

The U.S. is, in Adam Smith's phrase, "a people of customers." And in the affluent 1960's the voice of the customer is increasingly being heard and heeded. It is a predominantly feminine voice, since American women buy an estimated 75% of all goods and services. Thus it was a characteristically canny decision on Lyndon Johnson's part not only to decree the new post of Special Presidential Assistant on Consumer Affairs in January 1964 but also to appoint a woman as the first holder of that office. Her name is Mrs. Esther Peterson, and if gimmickry, guff and guile...