In a consumerist paradise, everything is compromised.
This morning I had to buy myself a new ipod charger so I took a stroll along Church St past all the little shopfronts that sell knock-off versions of products. Eventually I found one selling the charger I needed for $10. Deal! I took it home, plugged it in and it worked perfectly. A real Apple charger would have cost me twice the price at least.
After my ipod was charged up I started looking at this thing and I immediately felt bad that I had bought a knocked off version. Who knows who made this thing and what kind of conditions they had to work under. Also, who knows where the money goes? Criminal gangs? Religious nutters? It could only be bad.
But then I started thinking about Foxconn, the Chinese company who manufacture Apple products among other things. This is the REAL product. The one with the logo on the side of it and people are still dying to get it to your big box store shelf.
Which one is worse? I can't decide. Sure the criminal gangs who are probably running the knock-offs have other horrible things going on, prostitution, human trafficking and general religious fucknuttery. Sounds bad right?
It does, but when you start looking at these people from a moral standpoint and you realize that they have no morals, then you feel you should contrast it with a company that is supposed to provide decent working conditions, a living wage and working hours that won't make you jump out the fucking window.
The company is supposed to have morals. They have to be held to a different standard than a criminal gang. It's the same way governments and the rule of law are supposed to be held to a different standard than terrorists - Governments don't kill civilians on purpose, terrorists do.
Companies unfortunately use the same excuse that governments do when it comes to this sort of stuff. We didn't know, it was our contractor, we'll get them to end the offensive practices immediately, etc, etc. It applies to Foxconn as it applies to Blackwater and the CEO or President doesn't know anything about it.
It's all rubbish of course.
So as a consumer how do you live with yourself when you start thinking about this stuff? I do try to consume as little as possible but admittedly I do own branded products and I do like some branded products over others (Apple - insert free Ipad 2 here). I just don't like my products to have blood on them.