The Ethical Consumer

by Clara ~ May 28th, 2014. Filed under: Peace Building Blog.

As consumers living in a democratic capitalist country we are inevitably torn between two contrasting sets of ideals. We are led to believe that we have complete control over our choices; That the way in which we spend our money is our absolute decision.

Every day we all choose where our money is spent. We can choose to buy our trousers from the corporate chain, where the money will ascend into the hands of the CEO’s and kept away from the underpaid masses who manufactured them, or one could enter a charity shop and revive their wardrobe with a piece of clothing that will be given new life with that money going into the bigger pot of charity donations.

The capacity to have freedom to be ethical consumers should be implemented into all facets of our life. Understandably this can be a naive statement because the more money we make the more economic freedom we have and therefore the further our pound can stretch to ensure that one is committed to spending in the most ethical way.

We, in a perfect world, have the power to use our consumerism to bolster our democratic beliefs. Yet, the fundamental building block of democratic representation, taxation, does not follow the same credo. Our taxes should be a reflection of what we care about. Our taxes should mirror our political, moral, and ethical beliefs just as our purchases have the power to do so.

It is morally reprehensible for UK taxes to go towards war efforts when non-military peacebuilding has proved time and time again to be more efficient in reaching an end to conflict. If you were planning on buying a gallon of milk from the farmer’s market but on your way a government official stopped you and forced you to buy the milk from a grocery store chain in order to push his own agenda, clearly one would be baffled and furious. It’s unethical that the money that the UK population tirelessly works for is taken from us in order to perpetuate killings, invasions, and assaults against the rest of the world.

We should not be seen as pawns whose earnings have no more value than to add to the military’s brute power. Conscience campaigns towards a future in which government taxation does not equate to lost lives, demolished villages, and dislocated families.

Conscience is not ignorant to the necessity of national security. But there are many non-military ways to go about keeping our nation secure. Conscience advocates for non-military solutions, such as peacebuilding talks and conflict prevention methods, that are more effective and more ethical. Help us rally for the cause of non-military peacebuilding by visiting our website and learning how you can make a lasting difference and help build a more peaceful world.

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