Why there is no “ethical consumption” under capitalism
In the 1990’s, stories emerged of billion dollar corporations like Nike, Apple, Nestle and Wal-Mart forcing workers to manufacture their products in sweatshops, terrifying consumers who hitherto had no knowledge of working conditions in the so-called “Third world.” Additionally, information began to circulate on the truth about factory pollution and human-caused climate change, which for the first time made it a concern of those other than just scientists. The working class produces enough food for two worlds, but there are still millions of children who die of malnutrition every year. Workers spend more, the ruling class rakes in the profits, and global pollution rises as before because corporate and industrial pollution continues as before. Not only will it never be possible for everyone to make “Environmentally friendly” choices due to systemic economic and social inequality, under capitalism the desire to do so by many working class people has been made into a commodity for the capitalists to profit from. As long as the majority of wealth and resources are owned and controlled by a minority exploiting class, producing for profit instead of human need, workers’ rights and environmental sustainability will always suffer. The major flaw in “Ethical consumption” is the illusion that there is a more ethical option under capitalism, i.e. the idea that if we pay a few dollars more at Whole Foods, we can achieve a more compassionate capitalism; a capitalism where what is the most profitable is also the most moral. “Ethical consumption” suggests that production for profit is acceptable, as long as it comes from a more kind and gentle version of capitalism which treats its workers nicely and cares about the environment. The idea of ethical profit is an oxymoron, considering that all profit is the unpaid wages of the working class, privately appropriated and hoarded by the ruling capitalist class. The logic of production for profit and competition on the market means the capitalists must always try and lower their costs of production by squeezing more out of the workers and cutting corners on workplace safety and environmental sustainability. Ethical consumerism ends up dividing the working class by implying that those who purchase “Ethically” are more moral than those who do not, regardless of their means of doing so. The answer to this question is not to be found in the individualistic approach of ethical consumption, but rather through organizing all layers of the working class in a united struggle against capitalism, which is the root of all modern exploitation and misery. Rather than feeding the greed of a parasitic minority, a socialist system run by and for the working class will prioritize the needs of society and the planet, allowing the immense resources on planet earth to be utilized sustainably in the interests of the majority and future generations.
Marxism, Human Nature, and Society
The individual is a profoundly social being, whose needs cannot be fully satisfied without human community and interaction;- Communist society is a society “In which the full and free development of every individual forms the ruling principle.”11We also find the following argument:Since human nature is the true community of men, by manifesting their nature men create, produce, the human community, the social entity, which is no abstract universal power opposed to the single individual, but is the essential 9. In the practice of the Left, many Marxists have tended to assume that the abolition of private property alone will bring about the emancipation of women and have treated so-called women’s issues as secondary to the “prior” struggle of the working class in the economic sphere. Some aspects of the oppression of women predate capitalism, continue to exist in the so-called existing socialist countries, and within socialist movements; and originate in the reproductive function of women and in sexual politics. Bourgeois feminism does not trace the source of women’s oppression in the work place or home to structural, economic causes, or to the inherent patriarchy of social institutions, but to “attitudes” which “discriminate” against women gaining entry to certain positions. Radical feminists tend to trace the sources of women’s oppression to a sexual power struggle between men and women. The mode of struggle typical of radical feminists is to organize women separately and to define their concerns as “women’s issues. In my view, it is not possible to be a Marxist without being a feminist; that is, without acknowledging the unique oppression suffered by women historically and under capitalism, and without making the sexual emancipation of women a crucial part of our definition of socialism. Caring for children is a social responsibility; the right of the man to a nurturing role is a social issue; relationships based on equality and reciprocity are an essential need of both women and men.17. Marxism, Human Nature, and Society 7- capital and the state have collaborated in controlling the fertility of women in accordance with the demands of the labour market through access to daycare, Iiberalization or restriction of contraceptive use, abortion, and child bonuses. Marxists have tended to focus organizing efforts on women in the work place, rather than supporting autonomous, interclass women’s organizations. Women working in left organizations developed a critique of the practice of their male colleagues, which had far-reaching consequences The women argued that. In some cases the internal conflict contributed to the break-up of organizations; certainly many women left their former political “Homes” and transferred their energies to the “Women’s movement.” To some extent, radical feminism is a legacy of this experience of women with left parties and groupings.