Informed consumption and other answers to playful mockery

Posted: April 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

A functioning market requires informed consumers using their purchasing power to shape it, just as a functioning democracy requires informed voters to see through the bullshit and use their vote to ensure core issues rather than hollow rhetoric and personality win elections.

You’d have to either be a deluded zealot or part of the elite to suggest that either of these is true, yet very few seem to contemplate how their everyday choices conspire to make the country worse for everyone.

Our collective love of supermarkets (for their ‘convenience’, ironically) has meant that small towns and villages which used to have off-licences, bakeries and newsagents where you could pick up essentials, before going into the large town or city for the rest at the weekends, now have no such facilities, meaning you now have to inconveniently drive to the supermarket for everything. Still, at least you can get baby formula at 1am, even if the meat is not what you think it is.

A good friend of mine playfully mocked my aversion to Tesco a few days ago. I don’t position myself as some kind of ‘holier-than-thou’ crusader for social justice, I just think that when you are made aware of an organisation fucking you and the community (or country) over, you should not then hand over your hard-earned money to keep them taking the piss. One person will not bring down Monsanto, and that’s not the point. The point is that if you catch your best friend in bed with your wife, you most likely do not associate with them again.

If Sports Direct want to treat their staff like criminals and pay them like slaves because it keeps Mike Ashley in luxury, then our legal system allows them to. But I’m not going to condone that by buying anything in his stores. Just as I won’t condone Tesco decimating High Streets and suppliers by giving them a penny of my money.

At this point, I’m sure the argument will be raised that I’m some kind of hypocrite if I ever buy anything that’s been imported from China. You would have a point, though I would argue that our current system makes it almost impossible to live without imported goods. I know some who suggest if you don’t like the current capitalist model, you should go and live in a tent and live off the land. Except the system would not allow that. Not since the enclosures, as far as I remember. I’m also hugely opposed to the principle of Buy-To-Let mortgages, but I understand that the current economic model encourages and promotes it as a perfectly practical method of income. Neoliberalism encourages and promotes rentierism, cartels and exploitative monopolies, and crushes dissent and alternative models’ access to resources.

So I have no illusions of a few individuals’ choices bringing the system crashing down. The elites are doing that job well enough anyway. I just think, when made aware of people taking the piss, you should reject it rather than mindlessly enabling it.

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