Yesterday in class, I and my fellow classmates participated in a semi-formal debate about the ethics of purchasing phones and other cheap technology when their cheapness is enabled by exploitation of slave labor. The resolution we were arguing was something to this liking, “We should stop buying phones and other electronics that are made by slaves.” I was on the opposing side. One point my side made was that to simply stop buying these electronics would do no good and would, in fact, do harm: it would harm our economy in a major way if people were to redirect their “buying power”, as the other side called it, from certain companies, those companies would not adapt as the other side suggested they would, but rather they would fail due to the sudden lack of inflow of cash and put their employees out of a job. These companies have many employees. However, this assumes that enough people would stop buying their products for it to make an impact. The other side relied on people following a moral obligation; our side pointed out that while some people may feel that moral obligation, not everyone has the same morals and not everyone has very strong morals. My side’s solution was to begin to implement new practices and laws and to find and use safer, more eco-friendly materials and slowly ween not just electronics companies, but also clothes companies, toy companies, etc. off of the systematic use of slavery. It may be a slow road, but it is also one that is more likely to have an actual, visible impact.
My views align pretty soundly with what my side presented in our argument, especially our solution.
Ta-ta for now!