From fashion to lifestyle: do you take them into account?
“Ethical choices shouldn’t be left to us! Ethics shouldn’t fall on us!” Remarked a friend when he felt obliged to purchase products at a low price to stay within the family budget. We know that if the price is too low, someone pays. Usually, the cost falls on people and the planet: see modern-day slavery, pollution and climate change.
The low-price pattern applies not only to the fashion system but to any industry. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we want to feel good about our choices and their impact on the world. Of course, it’s unfair to put the burden of ethical choices solely on consumers.
However, brands, corporations, and governments ignore the matter. Well, they say they care, and talk about ethical fashion. Also, they support workers. But they do not do the one thing that would allow people a decent lifestyle: paying proper wages. Why? Because enslaving people through the manufacturing chains maximizes profits, which is the only thing that counts for them.
On the hunt for low prices
So, forget ethics for brands and corporations. The ethical choice is up to the end consumers. We can divide them into two groups:
The biggest group are workers who struggle to make ends meet. Although some care about ethics, they cannot afford better choices. So they feel forced to purchase products coming from unfair conditions.
In a smaller group, we find rich people who are happy to close their eyes in the face of ethics, modern-day slavery or climate change. Actually, they don’t care! Exploiting people is okay with their worldview as long as they can keep purchasing cheap products.
What’s your counterargument? Are ethical products too expensive? People from the second group label products of a certain cost as unethical. We’ve heard this plenty of times! But they consider okay cheap stuff made by slaves. Weird reasoning! Isn’t it?
Solutions to ethical choices
Solutions such as government regulations and corporate social responsibility are essential. In fact, the burden of ethical choices must shift from consumers to governments and corporations. They must hold themselves accountable as they are in charge of the economy.
Downward price logic is the expression of a rotten society which exploits people and the planet. But in this race to the bottom, how many slaves does the economy need in the future? And do they have a planet B?