Intentional Consumerism is, first and foremost, about expressing consumer preferences that are informed by the behaviors of those with whom we do business. It is how we vote every day with every dollar we spend. It is how we move towards a promising future, with each and every transaction. It emphasizes free trade together with fair trade. It illustrates the power of a more proactive variation with respect to the doctrine Buyer Beware.
There is real potential in such an exercise of ethical consumerism, sometimes called consumer sovereignty; from the super-charged data driven boycott, to the casual expression of preferences. Intentional Consumerism is, to some extent, rooted in the indignation of thinking men and women.
How long have you been on hold? Does the company that wants your business pay its CEO what a thousand customer service workers make? Is the company providing your mobile phone service an enemy of net-neutrality and thereby the First Amendment? Is the nearby store limiting employee compensation to poverty wages? Does a politician, taking campaign contributions from big finance, have your best interests at heart? Should the person behind a corporate policy, that could be foreseen as having the effect of injuring or killing people, be immune from criminal liability?
Just because an integrity challenged government doesn’t enforce anti-trust regulations doesn’t mean that consumers should patronize those businesses that cheated by ignoring these same guidelines, skirted the regs, flaunted such lawlessness. To what extent does a business, vying for your patronage, offload expenses and potential liabilities to the taxpayer and future generations? Rather than letting bad actors calibrate our thinking through relentless messaging, you, as an educated consumer, are certainly under no obligation to support such unconscionable practices. In fact, you shouldn’t.
When a company is creating conditions of peonage for its employees, when it’s not making any significant contribution to the public treasury, when it is actively distorting our constitutionally grounded democratic republic, it is correctly perceived as malevolent, even parasitic. One highly attractive alternative is the Employee Owned Benefit Corporation or EOBC.
What if the consent of the governed were expressed through our preferences within the open arenas of commerce? What if the authoritarian powerhouses had no place to peddle their wares thus breaking the stranglehold the oligarchy has on our country?
We can make it happen. It will take concerted effort, alternative networks, and skillful coordination. It will take Intentional Consumerism.