ContradictionarySee all questions about commodity
My name is Jenny and I am a Commodity Consultant for MOCC.
This is a really interesting question.
In essence, I cannot see anyone knowingly buying something that would not be contingent with their world views, as they may begin to resent the item for it's production or for the things it represents. However, a lot of the things that we buy, we may not think about whether or not we extensively agree with their production and whether or not they reflect our world views. For example, toothbrushes. There may well be one, but I have never seen a marketplace for 'ethical toothbrushes', where they may use less toxifying plastics and have a lower carbon footprint per item produced, but as there is no apparent market for it, we are unlikely to question it, and unlikely to use that item and contemplate it's relation to our world views.
In a religious sense, a basic example would be how many Jewish people may not buy or eat pork, as this is not contingent with their religious beliefs.
However, with some items, it is easier to reflect on the ethics we consume alongside the product. One example is breadsticks; one thing we may concern ourselves with about breadsticks is whether the flour comes from our chosen country of production, whether it was organically farmed, or who was involved in the process and whether their working conditions and wages are ethical. In this way, we may only chose to buy and consume items which we know are produced organically and ethically, to prevent us from feeling guilty about it's production.
For other items, it is a lot more obvious. With commodities we use to express our self and worldly views, such as clothes, makeup and jewellery, and even household display items, it is usually a lot more important that these reflect who we are and how we view the world. For example, I am a strong believer in promoting small, local businesses, so for me; I love the uniqueness of hand-crafted items, shown by the many trinkets I have around my room. However, I do still buy mass produced goods, too. But just because I buy these, it does not mean that I am contradicting myself. Of course, I would rather all of my items came from local businesses, but where I live and with my frequent urgent need for certain commodities, this just would not be possible.
Another example of how difficult and contradictory a question this is would be to consider my iPhone. I love my iPhone - iPhones are not the most ethical form of communication, and if there was a more stylish ethical phone on the market, I may consider that one, but so far, apple tend to have the majority market in the UK at almost 43% of the market. This is diffcult for me, because it may sound like I am contradicting myself, but just because I am playing into the hands of apple by buying their ethically corrupt products, this does not really reflect on me being a bad person, because I directly cannot change it. The best thing I can do is to make people aware of the lives behing their things and question the ethics behind them. Hopefully, by doing this enough, we can all make a little step towards changing the world and having more products that more greatly reinforce our own personal world views.
I hope you have found this insightful,