CONSUMER ETHICS was created to help us understand how our purchasing power can help or harm the world around us.

Members: 63
Latest Activity: Dec 18, 2014



Anyone who pays attention at all should not be surprised to learn that how we spend our money can profoundly influence social and economic justice, environmental preservation or degradation, animal welfare, and democratic freedoms—especially in third-world countries.

Of course, it is difficult to always be 100% ethical in everything we do. No one lives a blameless life, and in our capitalist culture it is very difficult to monitor and be aware of every injustice that occurs for the sake of profit. Clearly, most economic or consumer injustices take place out of sight – and therefore out of mind for most of us.

Add to that the sheer burden of just getting through the day: working, commuting, doing chores, meeting our obligations and responsibilities, etc., that it seems damn near impossible to be mindful of how, what, and even whom we consume day after day. But doesn’t mean that we can’t try to make better consumer choices as much as possible.

The Consumer Ethics group will allow us to share information that will help us understand and address the above issues and become conscientious consumers by:

  • Identifying unscrupulous corporations that exploit people or animals; or maintain and increase social poverty, inequality, and deprivation
  • Allowing us to share information on fair trade products or services
  • Exposing workplace injustices, sweatshops, and child labor violations
  • Identifying companies that value their employees and customers, that promote living wages and equality and fairness in the workplace, provide safe and healthy working environments, and maintain sustainable business and environmental practices
  • Finding products that are safe to use or healthy to consume
  • Recognizing consumer addiction and consumer propaganda
  • Understanding and voting against economic legislation that is unfair or predatory

We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered. A nation can flounder as readily in the face of moral and spiritual bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy. -- Dr. Martin Luther King, April, 1967

Discussion Forum

Bangladesh's deadly building collapse: Are cheap clothes to blame?

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by A Former Member May 5, 2013. 2 Replies

What Isn’t for Sale?

Started by A Former Member Apr 29, 2013. 0 Replies

The Corporation with Ethos-a time for change films to see

Started by michele ricketts. Last reply by michele ricketts Apr 29, 2013. 2 Replies

The Center for a New American Dream

Started by A Former Member Apr 29, 2013. 0 Replies

The Consumer Ethics Book List

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by A Former Member Apr 29, 2013. 1 Reply

The true cost of Mother's Day flowers

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Steph S. Apr 25, 2013. 1 Reply

Ethical Consumer Buyer Guides

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Joan Denoo May 30, 2012. 1 Reply

Politics of the Plate: The Price of Tomatoes

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Joan Denoo May 30, 2012. 1 Reply

Ford, Starbucks Among ‘Most Ethical Companies’

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Steph S. May 4, 2012. 1 Reply

A One-for-One Revolution

Started by A Former Member Nov 16, 2011. 0 Replies

We-First Capitalism

Started by A Former Member Sep 24, 2011. 0 Replies

What’s yours is mine

Started by A Former Member. Last reply by Richard C Brown Jul 25, 2011. 1 Reply

The Cigarette Century and Beyond

Started by A Former Member Dec 30, 2010. 0 Replies

The Idea of a Local Economy

Started by A Former Member Dec 29, 2010. 0 Replies

Amazon Kindle: Now you read it, now you don't

Started by Фелч Гроган. Last reply by Daniel W Aug 31, 2010. 2 Replies

The Ethical Consumer

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Comment Wall


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Comment by A Former Member on April 21, 2011 at 4:51pm

Download Green America's free Guide to Fair Trade publication here, and here also is their Guide to Ending Sweatshops.

Comment by A Former Member on April 15, 2011 at 7:09pm
Comment by A Former Member on November 29, 2010 at 2:29pm
I have not read this, so I can't give a thumbs up or thumbs down. I'm just passing on the info. - DG

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture

Atlantic correspondent Shell (The Hungry Gene) tackles more than just discount culture in this wide-ranging book that argues that the American drive toward bargain-hunting and low-price goods has a hidden cost in lower wages for workers and reduced quality of goods for consumers. After a dry examination of the history of the American retail industry, the author examines the current industrial and political forces shaping how and what we buy. In the book's most involving passages, Shell deftly analyzes the psychology of pricing and demonstrates how retailers manipulate subconscious bargain triggers that affect even the most knowing consumers. The author urges shoppers to consider spending more and buying locally, but acknowledges the inevitability of globalization and the continuation of trends toward efficient, cost-effective production. The optimistic call to action that concludes the book feels hollow, given the evidence that precedes it. If Shell illuminates with sharp intelligence and a colloquial style the downside of buying Chinese garlic or farm-raised shrimp, nothing demonstrates how consumers, on a mass scale, could seek out an alternative or why they would choose to do so. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Buying In: What We Buy and Who We Are

Walker takes a close look at past and present consumerism in the United States, positing that older forms of advertising are no longer successful. In their place, the trend has shifted to what the author calls "murketing," a mix of "murky" and "marketing." He argues that instead of being manipulated by marketing, consumers are using it to their advantage; and instead of being shaped by products, consumers are using them to express individual identity and social outlook. Told from the perspectives of both consumers and marketers, the book entwines historical fact, commentary from experts in the field, and pop-culture examples drawn from brand names such as Timberland, Sanrio, Apple, and Nike. It also incorporates conversations with CEOs of companies like American Apparel as well as start-up projects from the skateboarding and music industries. Walker examines all aspects of "murketing," including ethics, emerging technology, and commercialization versus underground movements. This book is both accessible and relevant to teens, with many of the examples being pulled from Generations Y and Z. It will be useful to those interested in business, advertising, or social trends.—Kelliann Bogan, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Comment by Hobo Sarah on November 26, 2010 at 6:54pm
With today being Black Friday and one of the worst shopping days of the year I thought this would be a good day to remind people to either NOT shop or make sure you vote with your dollars. I for one will not be buying anything until after the New Year. I doubt that will make much difference as I do not buy much anyway and when I do I am very particular about it but I try. :D
Comment by A Former Member on August 31, 2010 at 12:29pm
Take Action to End Slavery in Corporate Supply Chains

Millions of men, women, and children are enslaved around the world, producing the raw materials that create products we use every day. Slaves pick the cotton that ends up in our t-shirts, mine the tungsten that makes our laptops run, and harvest the cocoa we find so delicious. But two pieces of pending legislation in California could help end the use of slavery in major corporations' supply chains. Will you help make them law?
Comment by Daniel W on August 31, 2010 at 12:42am
Thought I'd hang out here for a while. This topic is important to me and I don't have many places to discuss it. For example, I've been doing house renovation for almost a decade. Whenever possible, I recycle materials, repurpose, reuse, and try to use things that last. It's not all virtuous choices, but it's on my mind a lot. I quit going to Target, even though I know they won't care if I go there, due to Target's involvement in labor and sexual politics that I disagree with. Well, anyway I'm interested in what is said here.
Comment by A Former Member on July 20, 2010 at 6:54pm

In this short RSA Animate, radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism, towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that could be responsible, just and humane. View his full lecture at the RSA.
Comment by A Former Member on July 4, 2010 at 4:20pm
Please see Felch's post on Goldman Sahcs in Ethics & Morals.
Comment by A Former Member on June 24, 2010 at 5:46pm
I don't know Forrest. I think it is just a joke, but I can't be sure. Google it and see if you can uncover anything. If you do, be sure to post it. Thanks.
Comment by Forrest on June 24, 2010 at 1:32am
I like that pic about the Iphone, where are some sources that go into detail about that?

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