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On Consumer Greed

Industrialization not only standardizes products and production methods, but in so doing changes the nature of the products and of the labor that produces them, while rendering us insensitive to such distinctions. Both trade laws and consumer attitudes look upon commercial products independently of their history, means of production, or genetic composition. After all, a rose is a rose is a rose. A tuna is a tuna, regardless of how it was caught, and a tomato is a tomato whether organic or genetically-modified. A pair of running shoes is just a pair of running shoes, no matter it was made with slave labor. (By such black-market logic, a stolen Rolex is simply a bargain!) In addition to the coercions of language, this kind of thought is a measure of how much the modern mind has brainwashed itself through greed, where the only consideration is the bottom line. Saving a buck by buying the cheapest goods from the cheapest source is the passive consumer counterpart of the profit motive, complementing the corporate drive to demand the highest price and pay the lowest wages, regardless of context or human or ecological cost.

RELATED TAGS: [consumer greed, willful ignorance, GMO, free trade zone, off-shore labor, sweat shop]

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