The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Is Conscious Consumerism Just a Huge Farce? August 5, 2010

Filed under: activism — Alden @ 7:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

This thickly accented speaker, Slavoj Zizek, makes a long, convoluted argument that buying Toms, buying Fair Trade Coffee, buying organic is really just hypocrisy. We are “helping with the one hand what we ruined with the left hand.” In short, whenever we buy something that donates to a cause, we are still supporting the economic structures which gave rise to poverty, bad working conditions, and ecological degradation.

My response is two-fold: Yes, I agree that you can’t buy your way out of the mess we are in. Going out and shopping all the time for organic, fair-trade clothing that you don’t need is not the answer to poverty, environmental degradation, and disease. But if you need shoes, why not buy from Toms? If you must get a new, clean t-shirt, why not make it organic?

Anyway, take a look, and tell me what you think:


One Response to “Is Conscious Consumerism Just a Huge Farce?”

  1. Hi Alden,
    At Fair Indigo we struggled with this very question. The hard solution is of course that everyone needs to simply have less stuff and to think that is a good thing. We felt that the potential for success with that solution was pretty tough. So what we did is say, look, here are some product categories that are big business. How can we look at each one and make it in a better way than the average (eco-friendly, people-friendly), thereby moving the needle incrementally. We thought we’d have much better potential for success with this goal.

    I could not point to any one of our products and say it’s perfect (though we try harder each season). But I can proudly say that I am confident every one of our products moves the needle to some degree.

    Thank you for a very though-provoking video!

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