Given that Christmas in this day and age is primarily driven by capitalist consumerism, can this festive season still be enjoyed in an ethical manner?
By: Ringo Bones
If ever the famed American social justice crusader Michael Moore tries his hand at making a Christmas special, he might focus on the topic of ethically produced products / goods and services as the main talking point. And very topically relevant too, given that Christmas this day and age is primarily driven by capitalist consumerism. But given that materialistic concerns will not be relinquishing its stranglehold on the Yuletide Season anytime soon, can we – the capitalist consumers / Christmas Shoppers – still have the power to do good during this festive season?
Probably since the time Rock Star turned famed humanitarian Sir Bob Geldof managed to safe millions of starving Africans via the capitalist consumer’s own game, the ethical outlook of Generation-Xers had been radically changed (is it?) in comparison to their parent’s generation. The concept of “What your parents didn’t tell you.” - i.e. how the spending patterns of us capitalist consumers could to the world a whole lot of good. Unfortunately, still not everyone knows how.
Every time we step up to a cash register – or click an item on the web, or have our credit card scanned for our preferred purchase – we vote. If you want your purchases – like I hope you honestly do – reflect your principles, you should know by now on how to shop for a better world. Or had read about “Shopping for a Better World” – a publication of the Council on Economic Priorities that rates 186 companies that make 2,400 brand name products on 10 social issues; Which can be used by all of us to help us select products made by companies whose policies and products we support - like the Free Tibet movement.
So the next time we’re checking out a product for quality and price – especially this Christmas Season where we do the bulk of our materialistic gift-giving shopping – why not also check out the social performance of the company behind the product. Like on issues of corporate social responsibility, ethical business governance, child labor use, and environmental concerns; or maybe buying only products from companies who made sure that their factory workers are provided with full healthcare coverage and matching 401K plans or equivalent. Armed with this information, we can easily turn our Christmas Shopping cart or trolley into a vehicle for social change, thus allowing everyone to enjoy a very ethical and merry Christmas. Unless of course you are planning to unleash the wrath of those three Christmas spirits that used to haunt Mr. Scrooge.