24 January, 2009

Not meaning to be difficult...but...

I just read through the blog post from Rob below and I agree with 98% of it. In fact, I argue the same point a lot of the time! But reading it through it made me consider the point that has been raised somewhere on this blog before (I think around this time last year?)

The blog asks us to consider the following questions before making a purchase..."Do I really need it? Or can I do without? If I really need it, then...Can I avoid buying a new one? Can I borrow, share, swap, grow, make, or find it secondhand?"

These questions create an economic dilemma. If we exit the market (rather than just switching to a fairly traded company) then we could do massive damage to damaged people. If we don't spend our money on areas that require our investment, we will continue to be fine, but those poor among us will be left without a market. For example, do I need fair trade chocolate? No, of course not. But by buying it, I support an industry that supports poor people. Do I need this Thai bracelet? No, of course not, but it helped some poor widow scratching a basic living.

Anyway, I am not trying to stir the pot or disagree. I totally think we should be reducing our excess. BUT the savings we make from the reduction of frivolous spending must then be transferred into mission spending or targeted market spending. Our economy is delicate, and as we see in this current economic crisis, when the bubble bursts, a lot of disadvantaged people get hurt. So by all means, do your best to reduce your spending, but lets be careful not to hoard our wealth and our goods sharing amongst our wealthy neighbours.

Hope that is helpful!



Rob Reardon said...

Good points, Gen. But, the piece says nothing about exiting the market. It is an encouragement to switch to fair trade. Having said that, there's validity to the need for a reduction in consumption in the Western world.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Gen said, as those same thoughts crossed my mind too. Although nothing specific was stated re exiting the market, if you take it to the logical consequence then this is what can be inferred. I also agree with the need to ask those questions each time we shop ( or refrain from shopping!)
We do have responsibilities to help the whole world through this growing crisis...


armybarmy said...

this line of conversation is interesting because I've found that shopping fairtrade actually does lower my consumption... it's a combo of it being better quality and more expensive... that combo (although initially a very hard jump because of my addiction to CHEAP) is a great one for realizing when enough is enough... it's been a great learning curve in both areas.
Perhaps another reason to go fairtrade and consume less!!!