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Is There Ethical Consumption?

I have a feeling this will get erased, but for the sake of lively conversation on a Wednesday morning....

Is there such a thing as Ethical Consumption under the current system we live in? Discussssss

- I'm the best at being me when I'm outside
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
14 Replies

It all depends on what that consumption is.  If its food from a garden we grew using organic practices, then I'd say eating that food is ethical.  But with the number of people living on the planet, and that number growing rapidly every second, then I'm not sure about any of it.  According to what I've read in the literature, about 1950 we went through the sustainable human population.  If we ditched the internal combustion engine, all lived in small apartments in highly energy efficient cities, and recycled/reused everything, then maybe yes, there would be ethical consumption.  But the way things currently are, I'm afraid the answer is no.  Boy, now I'm really depressed.

Come to peace, Luv. Get outside again. You'll find your way, and maybe your "Why".

Yep, going to Shawnee in 2 weeks and Grand Canyon in 4.  Some much needed time in the woods and the great outdoors! 

Shawnee? Maybe there's more than one, but Shawnee Nat'l Forest is my stomping grounds.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

If you were truly acting ethically by deeply following your values, how could your consumption not to be ethical? Do what you got to do. Stop the self-flagilization.

True Joy comes from living life according to your values. You can seek guidance from how other people live their lives but trying to live according to their values will not bring you Joy.

Too glib, SolaceEasy. You haven't thought this through.

I'm not really sure what the OP meant by "ethical consumption," it seems rather broad, but your simple formula for ethics and true joy could lead - and has lead - to a lot of what many would consider unethical behavior. Some of the worst crimes against humanity were based on "values."

Things don't become ethical simply because they spontaneously sprout from the values of an individual.


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Do I detect lack of joy?

Disappointed your values include making assumptions. Personal smears as well.

Didn't notice an argument in rebuttal. Seems like "Whataboutism".

Who isn't thinking things through? Perhaps a review of this forum's guidelines are in order. 


For sure it brings me no joy to upset anyone. And if I assumed anything it was only that you were too good natured to have intended the direction your advice could possibly wind up. Internet communiques make the expression or perception of tone difficult, but if you would, imagine my voice to be a mild one, making an appeal to your sense of reason; not an angry or edgy one, intended to provoke you to anger.

Not sure what you meant by your third sentence, so I'll leave that for now. But the man who contests you may not be your enemy.

And if you are implying that I didn't think through my response you're wrong. I hesitated to pull the trigger on that one, I realized it could be taken ill by you, but the implications were too much for me. For what it's worth, here's an example:

I know a man who has been a user of illegal drugs for decades. He claims that his habit hurts no one and makes him feel good. Meanwhile, he gets his substances from the street, part of the labyrinth which leads to big cartels, organized crime. Some of my students have fled situations where their families have been threatened by these cartels. So, back to my acquaintance and my point: he tells me he follows his values (hurt no one, feel good), even though I have pointed out the destructive path that his consumables have taken to get to his hands. 

And even an investigation of food production can reveal some troubling practices (to put it mildly).

A discussion of ethics is always difficult. It should not be waived off with a simple reply. It is a search for something more-or-less universal, as opposed to individual.

And frankly, it's probably too much to hash out on an on-line forum.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Piled Higher and Deeper. And still the superior tone.

An attack on encouragement for others to live life according to values seems without merit.