Talk:Ethical consumerism

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Removing "Anti-consumerism" box ??!![edit]

I wondered if we could remove this box. There should certainly be a link to anti-consumerism, but ethical consumerism is not the same as anti-consumerism (note that ethical consumerism still includes the word consumerism). In the UK the difference between ethical consumerism and anti-consumerism is especially apparent, "organic" is a bit of a life-style, and green barnding is used as a way of creating a unique selling point... not attacking consumerism. If anything ethical consumerism reinforces consumerism in that it does not critically engage with the quantity of consumption, but rather provides a more ethical way of consumerism. Any thoughts..? --SasiSasi (talk) 22:18, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. Consumerism/capitalism is all about market forces. Perceived ethics of the provider of a product or service fits squarely in as one of the factors that influence consumer decision making. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:30, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Links deleted[edit]

This section was a linkfarm. Deleted some spammish links. ~SeventhHaido 07:46, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Shopping vs. Voting[edit]

"Many think shopping is more important than voting" I think this needs citation 20:37, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Not a citation (unless it's reworded to tell who thinks this way), so much as avoiding weasel words according to wikipedia's policies (see Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:37, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Kosher is a moral choice?[edit]

I thought kosher and Halaal were for religious reasons, not for ethical ones. Why does the article include them in:

There are other such uses of labels to reassure buyers by indicating when goods are "organic", "kosher", "halaal", "vegan", "free-range", contain recycled materials or otherwise morally desirable.

Gront 21:11, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Strictly speaking, you are right, but I think there are enough similarities to warrant including them in the list. Common Man 22:52, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

neutrality tags[edit]

Time to remove the neutrality tags? The articlce does need expansion, however. --Newdawnfades 02:46, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

Minor text edit[edit]

In the 2nd paragraph it mentions "businesses practices". Methinks we should reword to read either "business practices" or "business' practices". I'd vote for business practices. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

more democratic capitalism[edit]

...consumers seek to collectively influence and thus make more democratic the direction of standards of world capitalism.

This statement doesn't make sense. Capitalism is the most democractic economic system in existence, as each consumer votes with their hard earned money (which represents the means of production). This isn't a method to throw away all votes that the proponents of "ethical consumerism" view, in their minds, as unethical, is it? If so, that's a dictatorship, not a democracy. Its very fishy that this movement is assaulting economic democracy in the name of democracy. MSTCrow 21:52, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)

ethical shopping[edit]

Someone requested a new page for ethical shopping on Wikipedia:Requested articles/Social Sciences and Philosophy , and I created a redirect to this page. But is this really the same thing? This page is defined as "the practice of boycotting products ...", which seems more narrow to me than ethical shopping. Are these really two different things or can they be discussed on the same page?
Sebastian 11:33, 2005 Mar 11 (UTC)

something on the current boycott of coca-cola in colleges and trades unions maybe?


There's no criticism in the article; I'll try and write something.

Human beings tend to behave in ways that are surprising and contradictory. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:29, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Not everything needs criticism, and not all criticisms are warranted. Like this.

The criticisms now as they are in the article is "it doesn't work, so don't try to be a decent person" and "the intent of their actions are selfish, so they should stop, positive outcome or not."

-G — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:49, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Fair trade?[edit]

Is this necessarily synonymous to "fair trade"? Le Anh-Huy 16:24, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Why does the article give you the impression that it is synonymous? Common Man 19:44, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


Consumarchy (talk · contribs) is pushing this term:

A theory of CONSUMARCHY is being developed, which may well guide Adam Smith's invisible hand on the path to consumarcho-capitalism?
for an overview of the envisioned 'realistic utopia'
the consumarchist -

While the word is nice, it is hardly used (136 occurrences in Google, many of them refer to Wikipedia pages - including Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Consumarchy). I toned down the excessive mention in the intro, and moved his/her chapter to the bottom, but I'm not sure if it should even be included. Common Man 19:44, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Deleted text[edit]

I deleted the following because it doesn't make sense as it stands. Maybe it fits better into business ethics, because it doesn't mention any consumer behavior, Common Man 20:59, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Moralism or lacking ability to judge the morality is often based on lacking insight into processes and benefits. For example the transport of beans from Egypt to Europe by airplane may be criticized [1], as well as the transport of potatoes over the alps - simply to wash them.

I think 'lacking insight' and 'ability to judge' are both about the consumers behaviour. -- E (talk) 04:28, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Drug Links to terrorism[edit]

I feel the claim that terrorists are funding their activities through the sale of drugs is quite unfounded, I think without a good citation, it really needs to be reviewed. p.s. first post on wikipedia, hope I got the syntax correct 09:09, 10 December 2006 (UTC)


"The collective choice will not simply deprive consumers of particular choices or make them cost less for less ethical people, but will actually alter the market composition so that the choices offered become generally better (from this ethical view) over time." I'm not sure this really is a universal assumption. Many people, probably most vegetarians for example, make some purchase decisions simply because they do not want to partake of products they view as unethical. That is, they voluntarily deprive themselves of particular choices. Similarly, in boycott situations, the goal is sometimes to simply remove a product from the market, not to improve it. Thoughts? Envirocorrector 10:50, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Thinking a bit more about this, it seems that one goal of ethical purchasing is actually to reduce demand for a product, thereby reducing its supply. Again, sometimes we want to improve a good (say, growing coffee in the shade) but sometimes we want less of a bad good produced (say, fewer cars of any kind coming off the production line).Envirocorrector 10:29, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
Deleted the entire assumptions section for two reasons. First, these assumptions don't cover some of the most important reasons for ethical consumerism (such as shirking markets). Second, the final paragraph of this section ("These assumptions have been challenged...") served only to extend the criticisms section of the article to other sections. Envirocorrector 16:38, 30 July 2007 (UTC)


Is it just me, or does the entire final paragraph of the criticism section essentially say "some people are nihilists"? Envirocorrector 10:32, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

The whole criticism section is confusing. "Critics also argu that ethical consumerism is fundamentally anti-democratic. In their view, the act of buying is considered a vote, with unequal distribution of wealth causing an unequal distribution of votes." This makes no sense. If the act of buying is considered a vote, doesn't that constitute an argument that ethical consumerism is fundamentally _pro-democratic_? This isn't a critique of ethical capitalism, it's a critique of uneven wealth distribution. In fact, I've just talked myself into removing it. (talk) 20:35, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I think this should be edited and put back because it is relevant and contributes to a rich overview of the topic, just that it is confusingly worded. -E- (talk) 04:31, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
actually, the entire criticism section has absolutely no references, hence it should be removed if no references are found. No original research or opinion, remember.--SasiSasi (talk) 10:44, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Democracy is one vote per person not one vote per dollar. If it was one vote per dollar- then the rich would be the ruling class since the richest control a disproportionate amount of money thus an oligarchy not democracy. Zeppelin55 (talk) 01:44, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
You're not thinking things through...
I'm a millionaire, I'm a multi-millionaire. I'm filthy rich. You know why I'm a multi-millionaire? 'Cause multi-millions like what I do. That's pretty good, isn't it? - Michael Moore
Wal-Mart can’t charge more; if it does, its customers will go elsewhere. The same is true of Target and Costco. In a sense, Wal-Mart is the elected representative of tens of millions of hard-bargaining shoppers, and, like any representative, it serves only at their pleasure. - James Surowiecki, The Customer is King
You might say, “That’s okay, Williams, if you have enough dollar votes. But what about poor people?” Poor people are far better served in the market arena than the political arena. Check this out. If you visit a poor neighborhood, you will see some nice clothing, some nice cars, some nice food, and maybe even some nice homes—no nice schools. Why not at least some nice schools? The explanation is simple. Clothing, cars, food, and houses are allocated through the market mechanism. Schools are allocated through the political mechanism. - Walter E. Williams, Where Does Your Vote Really Count?
--Xerographica (talk) 20:50, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I certainly agree that this article ought to present more perspectives but it is difficult to implement this. One route by means of which this could be done is improving individual presentations of perspectives, then listing them. Another way is identifying a scholarly source which gives an overview of multiple perspectives, then summarizing that scholar's overview. I would like for the article to be able to convey the information quoted above, and I understand the meaning of these quotations, but these quotations would not be comprehensible to someone from outside this the cultural tradition of consumerist philosophy. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:54, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Just to make sure that we're on the same page...the point of the passages that I shared was to emphasize our own responsibility as consumers in making people wealthy. For example, Jeff Bezos isn't wealthy because he inherited a lot of money...he's not wealthy because he won the lottery...he's wealthy because millions and millions of us find it extremely convenient to shop on Amazon. In other words...he's wealthy because he made life easier/better for us and we were able and willing to prove it by putting our money where our mouths are. That's why the occupy movement's message of the 1% vs the 99% is so nonsensical. There's no point in blaming or attacking the 1% when the distribution of resources is determined by the 99%. As Mises put it, "The capitalist society is a democracy in which every penny represents a ballot paper." In terms of this article and's always easier said than done. One thing I would recommend though would be to move the criticism section to the end of the article...right before the see also section. --Xerographica (talk) 19:44, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I am glad that you are thinking this way and I encourage you to keep doing what you are doing, but Wikipedia works because Wikipedia is not a forum for the discussion of the subject of articles. What you posted above is partially commentary unrelated to the development of this article. Feel free to move the criticism section. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:49, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
The development of the article depends on editors understanding the topic. What's the point of Wikipedia if we're merely copying and pasting without any regard for whether or not we're truly helping our readers actually learn and understand a concept. --Xerographica (talk) 23:00, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Fairtrade.png[edit]

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The Ethical Consumer website Ethiscore seems to contain gross inaccuracies which may need to be noted in this article. For example, the page on the Tetly Tea company claims that the company is an military vehicle manufacturer. There may be some facts that I am ignorant of, but I am not aware of any such activities by said tea company. Additionally, no evidence is provided to support claims without a fee. Scaylos (talk) 20:20, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Tetley is owned by Tata Group, an Indian conglomerate. At least one of their many ventures is manufacturing military vehicles. "On February 18, 2008 Israel Aerospace Industries, and the Tata Group signed a corporate agreement with Israel Aerospace to cooperate and jointly develop military hardware and products through a memorandum of understanding. ... The Tata Group and its companies also have corporate agreements with Boeing, Sikorsky Aircraft, and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), ..." (talk) 21:41, 6 February 2012 (UTC)


Including PullApart in ethical consumerism seems applicable to me. Its uniquely positioned in the UK and perhaps beyond, by scoring, grading products packaging according to their local recyclability and simplicity of kerbside recycling. It combines both local environmental and consumer care. I'm considering placing it within “Related Concepts” and perhaps, adding to “Boycott”/“Research”. Is this acceptable, does anybody here have objections? Any ideas as to where you might positioned this?AnthonyPA (talk) 14:52, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Dollar voting and tax choice[edit]

I just added dollar voting and tax choice to the see also section. Dollar voting should probably be included as a link in the intro and perhaps a new section should be created for tax choice. Thoughts? --Xerographica (talk) 20:51, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

It seems like a good idea. Do it and I will review and comment. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:50, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
It's done...but I'm sure it could be done better. --Xerographica (talk) 20:23, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
I like what you did with the lede but in this edit you added completely unsourced content which seems to be original research presenting a particular point of view. You seem to be an experienced Wikipedian. Why do you feel that this content stands without sourcing? Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:51, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
It stands without sourcing because I fail to see how the statements could be disproved.
A. Tax choice is the concept that taxpayers should be given the option to choose which government organizations they give their taxes to. (True/False)
B. Having this option would give taxpayers the opportunity to shop for themselves in the public sector. (True/False)
C. Creating a market for public goods would allow them to practice ethical consumerism. (True/False)
D. If a taxpayer believed that a government organization was engaging in unethical behavior then he would be able to withhold his own taxes from that government organization and redirect his taxes to more ethical government organizations. (True/False)
E. For example, pacifists would have the opportunity to boycott the military by giving their taxes to the Environmental Protection Agency. (True/False)
I'm simply describing the tax choice concept and explaining how it relates to ethical consumerism. Everything logically follows from the straightforward premise. If you feel like I'm distorting the truth all means...please feel free to specify exactly where the problem is. --Xerographica (talk) 22:47, 20 November 2012 (UTC)