November 29, 2005

The issue of unethical companies – are we being hypocritical???

Quite a few people get the impression I am a socialist, just because I don't like things such as unethical companies. I mean lets face it, quite a few companies have appaling records. I have lived in jakarta and have personally seen advertisements on smoking targeting children (by putting posters near schools.) In fact a majority of middle-school male children in Jakarta smoke, the government needs the money so it rarely objects.
I don't like companies like Nestle getting away with the promotion of milk powder, or companies testing on animals or companies hiding information and the list goes on…...

At the end of the day however, if it weren't for companies, I would not be here, my father works for an MNC, everyday I buy goods produced by them and technological advances are pioneered by them. So is it hypocritical for me to be against those corporations? I mean we all have McDonalds sometimes, we all have kitkat produced by Nestle…..

I can't decide…...I hate the fact that companies can get away with murder just because of money. I consciously avoid eating at KFC, buying products from BAT or ESSO or most companies that seem to be doing something nasty. But at the end of the day, almost all companies have bad traits to them, i can't avoid every one of them….

So yea thts it….basically

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Iain G

    I wholey disagree. We do not all have McDonalds and we do not all have a Kitkat now and then. I am a vegan, non-petrochemically transported ethically bound "consumer" for whom life is comparatively restricted in choice, but then that is the point. I choose not to perpetuate those things that I feel are unethical. It can be difficult at times, but there are more and more aides like the Animal Free Shopper from the vegan society. A pocket book reference of most major branded goods that are made without any animal intervention in their manufacture.
    And the bumper to bumper state of the roads for those in cars is a great aide to the choice of riding a bycycle, never mind the environmental implications of petrol and diesel propulsion.
    So what about your point about needing MNCs for you to have come into existence? I engineer hardware to get installed into pipelines for liquified natural gas transport, handling and refining. The point here is that if I do not do the job, then someone else will. The way to change this situation is to take control of our own compliance with producing the demand that ensures the supply. I do not buy any of their products or derivatives (where it is possible to know) and if more people took such a viewpoint, then eventually their products would change to suit the demand. Many people pulling in the same direction can have a great effect, so please don't be disheartened at the apparent lack of consequence of you ideals. You can be an example for your friends who can be an example for their friends and so on.
    The system is run by people who do not have our interests at heart and as such, to think that we can change things by lobbying such companies as Nestlé is just foolish. Our vote in this "democracy" is in our wallet and we can change much by choosing wisely where to spend our hard earned cash and in a world where money only exerts power over us because of our own reverence of it be prepared to spend a little more in a local economy and avoid those supermarkets that whisk your cash out of your local economy faster than you can say kerching.
    In this way we can all have a massive effect. Good luck :-)

    24 Dec 2005, 01:35

  2. Toby

    How about the components of your monitor? Or motherboard? Chances are, they were mined in the Congo, by indentured workers.
    The fuel you heat your home with? Or that provides you with electricity? or the taxes we pay to governments who bomb innocents?

    The greatest sin is to delude ourselves into thinking we are acting moraly and ethically.

    And the "if I do not do the job, then someone else will" is an incredably weak self-delusion.

    26 Jan 2006, 23:36

  3. A

    I have never eaten at MuckDonalds. I never eat KitKat, or knowingly purchase any Nestlé product.
    In a consumerist society, one of the few powers the ordinary citizen has is that of refusal.

    17 Apr 2006, 12:05

  4. Unfortunately the people that refuse are in the Minority. Every company has some issues that are unethical – Unilever has animal testing as does P&G and I am sure you might have used some soap/shampoo/skincare/personal care products from these companies.
    Its hard to avoid but I guess it unfortunately boils down to who the bigger sinner is…..Its not easy to discriminate

    17 Apr 2006, 23:54

  5. nat

    I heartily agree with your sentiment, and i think it is the sentement of the well adjusted. I wish i, as you say didnt: “have McDonalds sometimes”, and “have kitkat produced by Nestle”, but to deny that i do would be lying. I do generally avoid Mcdonalds, and i would say that on average i visit a resteraunt run by them once a year. I agree in part to both Ian and Toby, and i think what we can draw the conclusion that we have some choice. In the UK, where i live, a new nuclear power station is being discussed, and i will have no choice as to whether it will or will not be built. I cannot continue in a reasonable state of living without electricity, and even greenpeace will not be able to make a decision on this.

    You can chose whether to buy a product from nestle, mcdonalds, tesco….

    This is only because there is an ethical alternitive available. There is no ethical alternitive in electronics, services, long distance travel, bank accounts etc etc…

    The world is starting to change, but it is a slow process. Do what you can, but accept that there are some things that you cannot chose….


    22 Nov 2007, 01:22

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