This is a blog about consumption. And morals. It’s a blog about the ethics of shopping, about the global implications of our everyday purchases.
As an economic sociology researcher, I spend a lot of time thinking about the consumer culture in which our society is engrossed. We emulate the latest trends. We upgrade our iPhones with each new release. We even go shopping for fun. We consume all the time without thinking about it – every time we use a paper towel, pop in a stick of gum, or fill up our gas tanks. And there’s a whole other side of this process: production. The laptops we use, the shoes we wear, and the food we buy all have to be made. By people.
Sure, most manufacturing is far less labor-intensive than it once was, but robots haven’t replaced humans just yet. Farmers have to harvest not only the food that we eat, but also the cotton we wear. Workers in sweatshops craft the shirts on our backs, and underpaid assembly-line workers cobble together our electronics. People a million miles away, who we will never meet, make our stuff.
And we buy a lot of stuff.
I don’t need to reiterate the perils of globalization or describe seedy underbelly of capitalism. By now, most people know about the environmental and social implications of voracious consumerism. And yet, despite our knowledge, the cycle of overconsumption continues to spiral out of control. This is the world we live in, and most of us rarely take a step back to think about the implications of our lifestyle.
That’s why I’m creating this space. This blog will be an invitation to step back. To think critically. To explore alternatives. To allow our morals to enter the marketplace.