A Simple Guide to Ethical Consumerism

Imagine a world in which every person spent their money ethically.  That is a world without poverty-a cleaner, better, more positive world. The truth is that in these fast immediate times we often don’t think of how our buying habits really affect the way the world works. When you purchase a good or service, you are rewarding the way that a company does business. So, it’s not just a thing you’re buying when you spend your money. You’re also buying into the system which supports providing that good or service… like it or not.

In the end the biggest reason to begin spending your money ethically isn’t because it’s the moral thing to do. The biggest reason to spend your money ethi

cally is prudent self-interest.

Let us explain… prudent self-interest is different than immediate self-interest. Buying something cheaply made in China at Wal-Mart supports immediate self-interest, but you’re also buying with that product a world which is less bright for you and your children. When you spend your money ethically, you are buying into a better world for yourself and your children and that is prudent self-interest.

Here are the four steps to spending your money ethically:

  • 1. Buy American

Why? Because by buying American you are supporting your country’s economy and creating an environment for a more prosperous and secure nation.

  • 2. Buy Union

Why? Because union jobs consistently make more money and provide safer workplaces for employees. By supporting union jobs you are supporting a healthy middle class which is not only culturally important, but also provides greater stimulus for the overall economy.

  • 3. Buy Local

Why?  Because money spent on locally-based companies is retained in your community longer, thereby improving the local economy, creating more jobs, and enhancing the overall quality of life for the people who live there.

  • 4. Buy Green

Why?  Because products and services that save energy and/or protect the environment are healthier, improve quality of life and save money over the long-term (in terms of health care and energy costs).

We know it is not always possible to spend one’s money completely ethically, but one should at least consistently try to do so. Whenever you purchase a good or service, ask yourself, “Is this American? Is this union? Is this local? Is this green?” These factors need to be just as important as cost and convenience in your buying equation.

Sometimes it’s difficult to know the answer to all four of these questions–we’re working on that-but in the meantime, do what you can, after all it is in your self-interest to do so.

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