Businesses must operate within the law and within ethical principles. Ironically that is what the law states yet in the sordid grapple for money, status and power sometime things go awry. Motor manufacturers meddle with their emission figures to make their cars look better, online taxi firms undermine the working conditions of their employees to capture market share and those that set out to do no evil avoid paying the taxes that are needed to run the countries in which they operate.
People are people and we all tick in different ways. We know that these companies are doing wrong yet we put it out of our minds. We look the other way and pretend it has nothing to do with us yet we are part of the system that not only allows such practices but encourages them.
Why do we keep buying from those companies? It is not that we don’t have a choice. In most markets there is an alternative. If there is not then we should question if it is a product that we actually need.
The truth is that we will get the businesses that we choose. It is our continued business with organizations that keeps them afloat and it is our complicit agreement with their operations that allow them to get away with such bad practices.
As consumers we have the power to make organizations more ethical, we have the financial muscle to make them mend their ways yet it will take effort. This is a luxury that the west can afford. Most of us are well up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and so we can take the time to spend our money wisely, in ways that do not destroy the environment or lead to a breakdown in society.
Trade, whether financial or not, is an essential part of human existence. It allows skills and talents to be redistributed. It should be built upon an understanding of fairness and honesty. When we see unethical trading we should hit these companies where it hurts. We should vote with our wallets.