Ethical Consumerism

Good Essays
We see it everyday: our favorite caffeinated drinks are back in season, hip and trendy outfits flaunted in display windows, aesthetically pleasing advertisements for the newest smartphone. Naturally, we want it all. In today’s society, we are taught that it is okay to spend and purchase to our heart’s desire. We reap what we sow, but did we really sow it? In the recent years, many people began to see that our everyday commodities have a dark side—they are made through the suffering of others. Be it the people’s welfare or the environment’s health, something has to be diminished or sacrificed before reaching to our hands as luxury. “Consumerism, it seems, is the root cause of much of the world’s problems” (Laver). Of course, it only makes sense…show more content…
Rarely, but effectively, it can result in a temporary stop in production. It would often be seen as a successful liberation, but what we do not know is that the line between exploitation and opportunity blurs among common laborers. “Our needs create opportunity for factory workers and farmers abroad” (Timmerman), and by boycotting their products they will lose their only jobs. Even if it is close to no wage, they are stripped of the only job they have. It is hard to imagine, but most of these people would rather work in substandard conditions for a couple cents per hour than to have no employment at all. We have a case of a Catch-22—consumerism traps them in a destitute life, anti-consumerism strips their only means of feeding their family. When weighing the pros and cons of each ideology, ethical consumption seems like the better option. However, is it the best option? Will there be detriments in the global society if consumerism was eradicated? Or should it even be eradicated at all? In order to answer these questions, I need a better understanding of the two ideologies. I, too, am part of this system, therefore it is imperative that I explore the line between opportunity and exploitation, apply what I know, and gain additional insights from experts and…show more content…
However I never actually set out and do a comprehensive, unbiased research on the topic. For 18 years, I shut myself from the complicated, perplexing talks of politics and economics. Consequentially, my knowledge is very poor and limited in these two realms. It is sad to say that I still do not know what exactly capitalism, socialism, progressivism, conservatism, and all the other “-isms” are. No doubt I am naive towards all of these issues, which might hinder my understanding in global consumerism. In order to get my mindset on track, the first step in the research plan will be to educate myself on economic theories and political ideologies relating to consumerism. By accomplishing, hopefully I can better understand of (1) the pros and cons of consumerism and (2) the pros and cons of anti-consumerism. To deepen my perception, I would love to get inputs by meeting people in person, asking them their take on the situation. Additionally, I would like to ask my mother about her work experience in a factory here in the United States, and whether if it could be a positive model for foreign manufacturers to
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