Viewpoint: Ethical consumption is almost non-existent in today’s society
It is way too difficult nowadays to be an ethical consumer.
It seems as if each week, news comes out about how a company is screwing over a small business or exploiting its workers. It’s far too prevalent. Amazon, Walmart and Nike immediately come to mind. These three companies are known for how unethical they are.
Amazon, for example, has become the poster child for overworking employees. There have been reports of its drivers peeing in bottles because of tight deadlines and little to no breaks. It’s also known for stomping small businesses.
There’s a story that always comes to mind when I think about the things Amazon has done.
There used to be a website called diapers.com. It was one of the cheapest ways for parents to buy diapers for their babies. Amazon decided to compete with the website’s pricing, so they made buying diapers on its site cheaper. In doing so, diapers.com went out of business. Amazon raised its diaper prices shortly after.
The news of the corporation’s abuse isn’t hidden. It’s quite widespread, yet it makes billions of dollars of revenue a year. That’s because it is difficult and expensive to be an ethical consumer.
The convenience Amazon provides can’t be beaten. Its prices are extremely competitive. A small business selling handmade bags can not realistically charge a couple of dollars for it like Amazon since it can mass manufacture items while a local business has nowhere near the resources to do so.
Of course, a small business absolutely should charge a higher price because it most likely put a lot of effort into making the item, but it’s not surprising that a consumer would choose the cheaper option. Not everyone has the funds available to spend more on an item they can get way cheaper at a larger shop.
It’s a similar story with places like Walmart. Many know about how awful it treats its employees, but it’s a privilege to be able to shop at a place that isn’t as terrible. It’s interesting that just a couple of months ago, these same employees were touted as heroes and described as essential yet these large corporations refuse to treat them as such.
I wish there was a positive ending, but I don’t see one. These major companies are going to get bigger and bigger, killing more small, local businesses. Something consumers can do, however, is look up whether or not a company is ethical. If not, and you have the resources to do so, buy from another place. One that cares about the environment, labor laws and, most of all, its employees.
A site that’s worth checking out is “Good On You.” It gives you an idea of the negative actions a company has done and whether or not they’re scummy.
Money is the best way to show companies how much we care.