“Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” Immanuel Kant

“Even though most people are both consumers and producers, in Richland, they are taught to think of themselves primarily as consumers. In their minds, their multiple woes as producers are carefully disassociated from the scale of their expectations as consumers.”  http://www.thebookoflife.org/how-to-make-a-country-rich/

The next time you go to a restaurant, notice how many of the servers were working their the last time you visited. If you don’t recognize anyone and you go often, leave and don’t come back. The next time you stop off for a coffee, see if your barista is the same person. If not, move on to the next coffee shop.

If the teachers at your school change from year to year, if they always look tired and frazzled or shellshocked, first make sure that your child is not the problem. Next, volunteer at the school to get a look at what goes on. If you could not imagine yourself dealing with the level of stress your child’s teacher deals with, remove your child from the school.

I have worked in many places with a “high turnover rate.” This is fancy HR talk for: “People get fired or quit frequently.” I have never worked at a place that had a high turnover rate because it demanded a high (but possible) level of excellence and couldn’t find employees willing to meet that level. What is more likely is that there’s a disconnect between the level of performance required by the organization and the level of support/compensation offered to its employees. Or the organization demands more of its employees than is reasonable for a human to perform.

If you work in such a place, don’t you secretly wish that all of your customers would abandon it so that you could move on? Don’t you wish that they’d get your morse code blinked message: “Help me! He’s cut out our lunch break. I have to work every Saturday to make our sales quota. Every week we have a meeting and we all get shouted down for poor performance. Please let me hide in the back of your minivan. I’ll get out once we reach the next town.”

I encourage you to make boycotting a way of life. Look at each individual business you use. Examine how it treats its employees. If more people did this, then fewer cruel organizations could thrive.

We find out about Gap sweatshops, or Nike, or Apple or Walmart. Name the company. If the products they provide are cheap or popular, somewhere on the supply chain, you’ll eventually find some form of abuse. Social Justice Warriors of the past have attempted to shine lights on these situations and we laud them for doing so. What we don’t do is change our consuming habits.

If we were really against child labor or near-slave labor in places like China or Indonesia, we would simply have to change our consumption habits. If our conscience was attached firmly to our wallet, we might have less clothes, less fresh fruits–maybe we wouldn’t upgrade our iPod every year–but the kinder world we would create (all through Capitalist means) would trickle up to us.

 

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