So we’ve voted as a nation and elected our new president. Now how do you vote with your money?
This is something that I’ve struggled with for over a year now because deciding to act on this information is very difficult but I believe my faith calls me to action, especially in financial areas of my life no matter how uncomfortable. Essentially it boils down to this, the money you spend goes back to corporations and supports whatever practices they’re employing – thus your dollars ‘vote’ for those conditions to continue. This includes sweat shop labor, inhumane conditions, child labor, etc. I personally believe that I should not put my dollars towards companies that are mistreating people just to expand their bottom line. I am not ok with that.
I feel like Americans (and I’m sure other developed countries), just gloss over the working conditions in which that trendy item of clothing was created in because materialism is king here. The bottom line is more important than human lives. People will buy anything just because it is cheap without questioning WHY it is cheap. Why is it that you can buy a shirt for $0.99? Who made it? How? And in what conditions?
I want the money that I’m spending to bless someone, not empower mistreatment. I am willing to spend more money, less times, to make sure that I am not buying an item made by a child or a worker in poor conditions. This is difficult to know when the majority of items available to me are marked ‘Made in China/Bangladesh/Indonesia/Pakistan/[inset other country name here]’. I am hugely at fault in purchasing items without thinking about where they came from, because I ‘need’ those new pants/top/dress/skirt. I own tons of Gap Inc. products, Target products, etc, and those corporations don’t have the best track record with child labor and fair working conditions. I have read that Gap Inc. and Nike are both looking to change and have begun taking steps to do so. . . hopefully they will set a new standard in the industry.
This is a difficult thing to consider. There is no clear and easy answer. Many of these cheap products help provide for those that don’t make a lot of money. What do you do if you can’t afford to not buy an item and spend a bit more on ‘fair trade’ items?
I think the answer is to prayerfully consider the items you want to buy and do your research. To consider where your money is going and who it is supporting and whether you agree with those practices. I think you buy less and pay more to support businesses you agree with. Or you buy reused products. Then you are no longer supporting the initial business that provide the poor working conditions.
I think Green Daily’s advice is worth repeating to as far as purchases go (yes, because these concepts of voting with your money are also very green): Buy less, reduce, reuse, recycle, precycle, create a plan for high-spending times like the holidays and take a breather (sleep on it for as long as you can) before making purchases.
If you’re interested in doing some more research on your favorite companies and how they rank in social justice issues, check out these two website for more information:
I would love to know if any of you have thought about this before and if it has changed your spending habits. Thoughts?
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