Is There Really an Affect?
Does the price on an object determine the value? Does the price on the item determine our morals? Consumer spending is a major role in today’s society. Whether it is buying food, clothes, toys, cars, computers, and so on, Consumers still tend to spend money regardless of how much we really want to save. Consumer spending is determined by what is needed or what is wanted. Moral values are the principles and standards which determine whether an action is right or wrong. The Golden Rule is an example of a moral value which tells people to treat others as they would like others to treat them. There are many moral values, but values are personal to each and every person. Every person determines their own moral values. When shopping, consumers do not consider their moral value which has no effect on consumer spending. Shopping at companies that have child labor does not define a shopper’s morals. Child labor is work that harms children or keeps them from attending school. Examples of child labor are bad working conditions, long hours, and very minimum pay. Around the world, outside the United States, the difference between rich and poor has forced many young children out of school and into working in any job that they can find to support themselves and their families. There are more and more children everyday who start working at a very young age.
The children work at very low wages and work under conditions that are bad for their health and illegal in the United States. In the United States, child labor is illegal because the government wants to protect children from unhealthy work conditions and hazardous jobs. Unfortunately, in third world countries, this is not the case. Children are forced to work and to put up with these bad conditions. Although the United States does not allow child labor is their country, companies are allowed to pay third world countries to make the products needed to be sold in the United States. Many of the children at factories or at big corporations such as Victoria Secret, Nike, and Hershey’s have been known and accused of having children make or produce their products. There have been people who have tried to make the world know about the immoral things that have been going on in these companies, but unfortunately nothing has changed. Consumers have become aware of many of the companies that have children making their products. Even though people have been protesting or trying to start campaigns or passing out flyers, people still decide to shop at certain stores regardless of child labor or not. The proof is that the companies are still up and running making millions of dollars everyday. When people shop at the stores, they are not supporting child labor laws and many might find that it is immoral for companies to be having children make the products, but they ultimately want to buy the products. The products may be a want or a necessity but it’s a product that the person will end up buying regardless of the immoral process to get the product in the store.
Moral values are important but people still buy the products and child labor has no effect on consumer spending. The working conditions are also immoral at certain companies but consumers still seem to spend there money at these stores. Workers have complained at companies such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds. At Wal-Mart, it has been said that the employees have been mistreated and they have to work very long hours with minimum wage pay. They have also complained that the workers do not receive any benefits even if they have been working there for awhile. Mcdonalds has received complaints about similar reasons. The employees are not satisfied at many of these corporations because they feel they are mistreated or are not paid well for what they do. These major companies have their top employees receive paychecks with a huge amount of money, but the actual workers only get paid minimum wage. Employees have also protested these bad conditions but the big corporations have not made a change. Consumers have become aware about the complaints about the employees through media such as the news and internet but still choose to shop at stores such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds. Shoppers also may not agree with the working conditions, but since the economy is declining, prices on many items are increasing. Places and stores such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds have low prices that are affordable for many families. Prices blind people from seeing what is truly going on behind the scenes.
The consumers who shop tend to forget about the immoral justices such as working conditions and shop for items with low prices, which lead to money still money left over. It may be immorally wrong how the employees are being treated or how they should deserve more pay, but consumers need certain items. If they need certain items, they will get these items from any place that is affordable regardless of the immoral justices. In Michael J. Sandal’s article What Isn’t for Sale he states that “citizens leave their moral and spiritual values when they enter the public square” (Sandel, 150). In his argument he is talking about how the economy has changed into a market society from a market economy. The reasons for the change is because consumers shop and pay for everything regardless of the meaning or value behind it. When he states this, he is proving that consumers moral value does not come into affect when shopping for certain items. When consumers shop, they shop to spend money or because it’s a necessity, not based on moral values. Consumers do not have the choice to not spend money at all because in today’s society, everything is for sale. It is really rare when you see something that is for free or on sale because of how much prices went up and most items are vital and necessities. Prices increase and people spend more money because the products are needed.
As a consumer as well, I spend money on literally everything. It may be by choice sometimes, but majority of the time, it is forced upon. Consumers, such as myself, do not have the choice to debate moral values at the moment of buying the products. The reason is because when shopping the questions that usually come to mind are: what do I need, what items are for sale, how much is the price, is it worth getting, and the ultimate decision: should I get it or not. The thought process of where the item came from or how the item came to the store rarely crosses the mind of the consumers. Consumers may have a positive affect on companies because they are buying the company’s products, but they have a negative affect on society. Consumers buying products from Nike, Victoria Secret, Hershey’s, Wal-Mart, and Mcdonalds created a positive affect because it allows the companies to prosper and make money. When consumers buy the products, as well, they are creating a negative effect because consumers have a demand for the products sold. Products sold lead to more work which leads to low paying jobs and child labor. It is unfortunate, but consumers do not spend time analyzing the immoral justices in every single item they buy, they literally just buy it.
Although I mentioned that many consumers do not shop based on moral values, there is a handful that do. To these shoppers, moral values and being fair actually matters. These consumers will not shop at certain places because they have investigated and have taken the times to realize and learn about the immoral actions that are going on. These consumers are “shifting away from higher corporate profits and toward better wages” for the employees as James Livingston mentions in his article Americans, Thou Shalt Shop and Spend for the Planet. They will campaign and pass out flyers trying to convince shoppers to stop shopping at these certain places. Even though they do this, it has not been very successful.
The campaigns have taken place; the stores still have people coming in and out. Other examples are: Nike, Victoria Secret, and Hershey’s. these are major corporations that are still up and running even though the immoral justices have been proven to the world. Moral values, such as child labor or low wages for employees, do not have an affect on consumer shopping because many companies are still selling their products and have made millions of dollars. Consumers have a negative affect to society because their shopping leads to more demand of the products which leads to child labor and bad working conditions. Now that you know that moral values do no affect shopping, does this make you want to have a positive or negative impact on the world?