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Consumers Moral Obligation to Boycott Products

CONSUMERS MORAL OBLIGATION TO BOYCOTT PRODUCTS - There is never a day that goes by without someone or some group calling on the public to boycott a certain product or indeed a range of products produced by a certain country.

We humans like to think of ourselves as moral and that sense of morality will enrage us to such a point where we will take action against those we deem immoral, but how true is this and how effective is our boycotting actions?

How many times have you heard an organisation call for to boycott products? To boycott products means that we have to put our moral obligations before our own greed. Can it really be done?

I can tell you right off the bat that most people’s morals will be set firmly aside if it affects our income or indeed the prices that we pay for our goods.  I am afraid that for most of us we couldn’t care less if a five year old child was living in appalling conditions, barely able to afford food and working 15 hours a day in a sweat shop, providing the shirt that child produced could cover our backs at a cheap price.

Seriously, when was the last time you checked the label on anything your bought to see where it was made, by whom and in what conditions?  Of course you don’t care because it’s cheap and providing you don’t see it then your moral voice won’t be sitting on your shoulder telling you what a despicable human being you are.

It wasn’t that long ago that Apple Inc. came under fire for the manufacturing processes of its iPhone and iPad.  The reports, at the time, depicted images of hundreds of Chinese workers, in almost slave like conditions, sweating over the production of these products for just a few dollars a day.  What was the reaction of the public?  Well this was predictable with the usual calls for a product boycott and even went further to ask why Apple Inc., wasn’t producing its products at home.

The truth of the matter is actually quite complex, so let me break it down so that it’s easy to understand why Apple Inc., and many other companies produce your goods abroad:

For starters Apple Inc. is fully aware that manufacturing is much cheaper, and a lot easier, in China than it is in the U.S.  Just look at the simple facts that China doesn’t have the stringent laws, or at least doesn’t enforce them, on employers as we do in the West.  The ability to cut out the Unions and Government red tape saves Apple Inc., and all the other manufacturers, millions of dollars every year, which is designed to reap greater dividends for shareholders and provide you with a much cheaper product.

Thanks to your own greed, and that of any other consumer, you have basically destroyed your own manufacturing base, and this is not just a trait attributed to the U.S, this problem has spread like a disease across the western world, due to our selfish need to obtain the goods, we want, at the lowest possible price.

When you look at large companies, such as Apple Inc., doing business in China also has a number of very other lucrative benefits, and none are more prevalent than having access to a potential customer base of over 1.3 billion people.  Do you honestly think that China would allow Apple products on the shelves if it wasn’t employing Chinese workers to produce them, regardless of the conditions in which they are produced?

Just remember this… next time you have a bitch and a moan about China and how it is now ruling the world and the problems the Chinese Government are causing Western Governments, find yourself a mirror and give yourself a nice pat on the back because your greed and interference in how companies are run, generally through the mouthpiece of the unions, is directly responsible for the destruction of western industry. Well done!

By now I’m guessing many people reading this will have closed the page, because the truth about their own morality is a little hard to swallow.  For those of you with real mortal fortitude there is more to come.

Tourism – this is where we really fail and all morals are put aside, not necessarily in the pursuit of saving money, but more in the pursuit of enjoying ourselves and making ourselves feel good.

It was over a year ago and I was having a conversation about visiting Thailand.  One of the groups has recently returned home after 6 years of living there. After listening to over 3 hours of all the horror stories I was completely flabbergasted as to why anyone would want to visit Thailand as a tourist destination.

For some of course the lure of its world class sex tourism is just too much an opportunity to pass up and this is in a country where prostitution is outlawed under the Thai Governments Morality Laws.  Well I can tell you that the Thai Government doesn’t have any morals, in fact I suspect you would be hard pressed to find a minister who could spell the word.

Again, Thailand’s morals are set aside due to the vast sums of money that is made annually from tourism.  It is inconsequential if a 5 year old girl is roaming around the sex bars at 2 am trying to sell flowers to foreign men for the prostitutes they are engaging with at the time – this child, as far as the authorities are concerned is getting money off the western tourists and that is the entire goal of Thai Tourism.

One of the stories, that I am unable to confirm, but certainly doesn’t surprise me after all the research I have done on Thailand’s Tourist Industry, is that of 5 Bangkok Police Officer who were caught running a Child Slave Ring.  The torment these children, ranging from 3 to 9 years of age were simply horrific.

According to the story, these 5 Bangkok Police Officers, all fairly high ranking officers, would smuggle children across the border from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  Those who were pretty enough went straight into prostitution while the others were put on the streets to beg from the tourists.  For some of the unfortunate souls if they didn’t make sufficient money each day for their owners they would get a severe beating and in many cases have a hand or a foot cut off in order to gain even more sympathy from passing tourists.

The case did go to court, as I am told, where each of the Police Officers were found not guilty and released to continue their illegal trade.  Why with such overwhelming evidence were they found not guilty?  The simple truth is that in a country as corrupt as Thailand is it impossible for anyone to point the finger at anyone else without being implicated directly or indirectly to another incident and so, the wheels of corruption turn and providing the money rolls in then morality is firmly set aside.

So whose fault is it that these children suffer?  Well it’s the fault of any tourist visiting Thailand.  Without your desire to have a good time by visiting, Thailand wouldn’t be able to have access to your money, therefore negating the need or benefit from putting these children at risk.  So you can see, simply by booking your trip to Thailand you are responsible for fueling this type of behaviour just to satisfy the greed of others.

Recently and again attributed directly to Thailand, there was a call by a number of consumer groups to boycott the purchasing of ‘Red Bull’.  The call came after the heir, to the Red Bull fortune, killed a police officer on the streets of Bangkok while driving his Ferrari at over 200 kph while high on cocaine and alcohol.

In typical Thai fashion he didn’t stop but fled home where he, and his parents, devised a plan to pin this one of the household staff – who through servitude agreed to such a plot.  It all came out in the end and as usual the Thai Authorities were adamant that he would be brought to justice.  The end result, a 3 million Thai Baht (US$97,000) payment to the family of the police officer and the whole thing went away.  Money and greed once again side stepped any moral fortitude anyone might have had.  As for the boycott of Red Bull… nope I still see many of us drinking the brand.

It would be interesting to see how many of you who have read this will think twice about buying an Apple produce, Red Bull or booking your next vacation to Thailand.  I would strongly suspect that if it allows you to communicate effectively at the right price, quenches your thirst at the right price and you can have a good time at the right price then your morals will also be set aside just so that you alone are satisfied regardless to the consequences to others.

We do have the power to make a difference to other lives but only if we are able to put aside our own greed and needs and just stop to think of the consequences of our actions.  Remember next time you read an article that fuels your sense of morality try and do something constructive with it.  If you do know of a particular case or cause then feel free to write about it and publish it on Meebal.com.

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