Saturday, May 19, 2007

No China Diet: General Thoughts

I'm going to continue writing about the No China Diet for a long time because I think it's important.

I'm trying to trim the amount of items that I consume that come from China, not remove, because that may be impossible.

Recruiting? I'm not really interested in you going on a No China Diet or living out my own values. A world full of Ms. Theologians would be a very odd place, full of old-school organic vegetables, Greek food, and devoid of Hummers (the car kind). It would, however, please me greatly if you considered where what you buy comes from and how it is produced. You probably do already. You are, after all, reading my little blog.

Vote With Your Wallet Here is what I think: Not only do I vote in elections, I vote with my wallet. Where and how I spend my money matters. I don't want to support institutions, corporations, and countries with values contrary to my own.

Resource: Vote with Your Wallet

Boycotts Do Work There's a fair amount of rhetoric around the idea that Boycotts Don't Work despite that our country was spurred to independence with a boycott of tea, and that Gandhi drove the British out of India with a boycott of salt. Still there's the very prevalent idea that boycotts don't work today. Why? I fear it's because corporations say they don't work. And they say it over and over again. It's entirely in their interest to say this despite the fact that some studies demonstrate that boycotts do work, and that corporations, such as Fidelity, respond to public criticism by changing their policies. They just don't want to let consumers know that they actually do have power. But they do change due to boycotts all the time.

Resource: Consumer Boycotts Work: Just Ask French Winemakers and Fidelity Says It Did Not Divest for Darfur

Ethical Consuming Scott has written quite a bit about the idea of ethical consuming. It's at the heart of my vegetarianism. I think ethical consuming is mainly about the principle of Do No Harm. Do not harm to self, to others, to the world around us. Ethical consuming is in keeping with affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every human being and encouraging justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

Rather than helping the people of China, buying products under the current regime with policies of egregious human rights abuse, including executions for "ordinary" crimes, animal torture, and a free for all of toxic pesticides affirms that this is the best way to a market economy and globalization. And it's not. It can't be.

Resources: Human Cost of China's Economic Miracle, Death Penalty Statistics, China's Animal Torture, Pesticides and Environmental Health Trends in China, War on Intellectual Property

Why I'm Writing about China at Surviving the Workday I think the desire of most of us is to be treated with respect and to do meaningful work. And although I find a number of workplace situations in the United States to be pathetic, yet solvable (e.g., lack of health care or reasonable benefits, including paid maternity leave), I find the conditions in China to be absolutely unbelievably wicked. Workers are paid pennies. They have no rights. No health care. They can be fired without cause. They can have their wages withheld for months to keep them in virtual slavery or pensions taken away for no reason after decades of work. It is a crisis situation in a country with more than a fifth of the world's population. And it will not get better without external pressure. To buy from them is a violation of many of the principles I hold dear.

Resource: Human Cost of China's Economic "Miracle"