We all have enough strength to endure the misfortunes of others.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Why we should care about the consequences of our actions? Why should we control our consumption so others can enjoy more things? Are we obliged to do charity? Shall we just give away our fortunes because people abroad are affected by our consumption?
While I think the majority of people will find a place in his conscience to at least feel sorry for the people working in sweatshops abroad so we can sport the latest Nike sneaker, the reality is that no many persons are willing to give up their level of consumption, comfort, or perceived wealth just because some guy in Nicaragua is having a hard time.
I don’t pretend they do.
The same way some people will feel sympathy for the third world countries (or the dwellers of the inner cities in the first world) they are few who will give up their comfort. The reason the new socialist need to find to care for each other is not coming from the heart –nothing wrong with that- but from the brain.
Marie Sherlock already taught us how to live simple with our children in a consumerist environment that is too eager to fleece us up. Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin showed how to keep out of the circle of expense-debt so characteristic of Anglo America. A simple stakeholder analysis on Gap, Wal-Mart, Starbucks –with all his Fair Trade paraphernalia- will show us that, by allowing companies to exploit human, social, natural resources abroad we are setting the scene for a big backslash against out societies.
If we, as Anglo Americans, are using 25% of the resources in the world, while being just 5.5% of the human population, we are setting ourselves in the middle of the target to be hatred, blamed for all the injustice and regarded as the new Empire. The direct consequence is terrorism and insecurity while traveling (why do you thing citizens from USA travel with Canadian flags?)
Another direct consequence is illegal immigration, with the sequel of poverty and wear out of our social security system. If abroad we are regarded as filthy wealthy, people will come we want them or not. Those who will come illegally will be an economic and social burden –they give a lot to the economy, but, as their activity is unregulated, the benefits are hard to measure-
Environmental damage will be another consequence that will reach the first work sooner than later. For those empty heads happy for global warming and not suffering those harsh winters, wait to see the invoice in the degradation of soil and agricultural products soon.
If you don’t buy any of the aforementioned arguments, just think on how bad is over consumption for your wallet. Think how many hours do you put at to keep up with the Joneses, and have a good look at you home and look how many trash that you really don’t need is laying around.
If you thing that we are profiting on the low-wages paid abroad, wait until your pink slip issitting in your desk, because your blue collar job has move to China or your shinny high tech position has been relocated to India. All the abuse on the planet, its economy and resources will hunt us down sooner or latter.
That is why we should care now.