Feb132012

Responsible buying

You may be asking what prompted me to write about anything other than code (disregarding the fact that my last post was written quite a while ago.) Let me tell you. I often debate general issues on my twitter account (sometimes in english, sometimes in my mother tongue, spanish.) Some of these debates end up being quite productive, prompting me to further think about the discussion at hand, or to even change some of my behaviors.

This time is the latter. I was, as it is not uncommon in me, tweeting about how questionable Apple policies are when it comes to the work environment in their factories, when Felix, a person who I have the strongest respect for, tweeted something that got my attention:

by that logic, you are responsible or every action taken by every company you purchase from

My quick response to him is a thought I wish to ellaborate:

and you are. thats the point im making. we should do our best to avoid supporting companies that WE KNOW are being evil

If one would boycott all companies that are, at one level or another, doing evil, one would probably have to live alone, in the middle of the desert, consuming nothing but vegetables. I know that’s not practical. However, we have to draw the line somewhere, right? And don’t you think that a company that supports, by action or inaction, job environments that are universally accepted as inhuman is somewhere near the line? To give you a bit of background, look at this interview Bill Maher did shortly ago with Mike Daisey (it’s less than 8 minutes long, you have the time):

I’m sure I am backing other companies that may be acting immorally somewhere around the globe, but if I know they are, I will do my best to avoid giving them business, and so should you. If I knowingly give them business I am partly responsible for their wrong doings. I know that’s not something you’d like to hear, but that’s a fact.

There will be times where it feels almost impossible to take your business elsewhere. Apple lovers will tell me (and they would mostly be right) that there is no better phone than the iPhone. That the iPad is miles ahead of any other tablet. I know, I get it. They build nice products. But at what cost? Would you rather buy the nice cars that come out of a factory in Nazy germany, or would you like to help Germany (and the rest of the world) free itself from the Nazi horror? I prefer to do the later. Now, please, don’t panic, I am NOT saying Apple is pro-Nazi (that’s a comparison that has been largely misused), that’s just an extreme example to make a point. I am saying that we all know that they are doing something that’s quite wrong, so we should do our best to stop supporting them.

So even when I always thought I should be a responsible buyer, I am now making an extra effort: I will try to inform myself, to the best of my abilities, about what lies behind the product I’m buying. If it is a sweat shop in Asia, I’m out. If it’s cheap because it’s based on child labor, I’m out. I am morally responsible for my purchases, so I will act accordingly. I may sometimes, inadvertently, support evil companies. If so, I wish to have the capacity to find out about it, and stop supporting those companies.

Let us do this together, shall we?



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1 Comment to "Responsible buying"

  1. Feb132012 at 8:29 pm

    Mariano Aguero wrote:

    Amazing post! Greetings from santa fe!

 
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