Friday, August 9, 2019
Shopping and Human Rights
Many are those nowadays who refuse to buy a product, a certain brand, or buy what will harm the environment because of some negative attributes that are connected with the product. We can also refuse to travel to another country and refuse to buy their imports because of their behavior. It is expressing disapproval or forcing the acceptance of certain conditions. A university professor in the field of consumerism gives the readers some ideas on this attitude held by some in society.
This refusal to buy comes from the name Charles Cunningham Boycott, an Englishman who exploited the Irish tenants. When the famine got worse and the lives of the Irish farmers became very difficult, he forced the collection of rents; angry farmers united and confronted the landowner by not giving food to the caretakers and not working. They did win.
It is an effective way for consumers as a group, to refuse to open their wallets in order to change or eradicate an immoral corporation or organization. True, especially in markets where there are many alternative options. In 1996, Nike, a global company, was the object of the refusal to buy because of the controversy surrounding child labor in Pakistan. This movement quickly spread around the globe. Nike sales dropped by 50%. Nike eventually banned child labor in factories around the world and started to improve the working environment. Amazon has recently had the same difficulty in the UK, criticized for avoiding taxes.
There are two main results from this refusal to buy. One is a short-term decline in sales. The other is tarnishing the image of a company or brand. The proliferation of these movements rarely leads to a decline in sales, as most companies have some form of countermeasures. However, once damaged, images and reputations are difficult to overcome. This is why most companies actively confront these movements to lessen some of the losses envisioned.
The most important thing in these movements is to collect a large number of supporters who sympathize with the reasons. It is difficult to obtain a large number of supporters if the cause is unclear because these movements restrict consumers' freedom of choice and may cause economic loss to the participants. Consequently, without moral justification, it is difficult to gather supporters.
It would be better if you buy goods at one of the competitors at the same time. The situation by which companies lose their reputation due to certain problems is a good opportunity to help other better companies with their products.
Many of these movements often end with no apparent reason. First of all, it is difficult for consumers to have the same understanding and involvement because of different interests. It is also difficult to expect achievements dealing with a monopoly situation where there are no other good alternatives. This is why it is difficult for these movements to succeed in high technology and energy industries.
Refusing to open your wallet is a good way to show the power of consumers who are voters in the market. Consumers' buying can save or ruin markets or businesses. However, to vote correctly in the market is as difficult as voting in politics.