Dear followers!

Still remember the update from my latest post I did some days ago?

I want to complete this post with a little intellectual game concerning corporate (social) responsibility. Doing my researches I had to ask myself quite often who to blame for all those (economic) wrongs, legal abuses and lacks of dignity in almost every corner of our everyday life.

I know I can’t solve and/ or discuss all the problems we have in one single blog post. Therefore I’m going to limit it to the fundamental ideas I thought about. The topic of my last post – animal abuse (tethered housing with respect to large-scale livestock farming) gave me the right incentive to start this discussion of principles about economic behavior.

Starting my discussion, I assume that nobody likes torturing animals. Based on this assumption there can be only one reason for this bad state of affairs => MONEY.

Homo oeconomicus?        

        … the average human certainly

A consumer who has the choice between two similar seeming products will pick the cheaper one. This is one of the principles of consumption our economy is based on. Due to that we develop competition, ambition and advancement. Therefore you can’t blame ANYONE for following this principle – not even if purchasers would know under what circumstances cheap products are produced.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch”

…there is also not such a thing as a cheap product!

Our discount is paid at the cost of mankind and environment – no matter if its milk, meat, clothes or toys. The fact that consumers are deceived by advertisement and that background information about questionable products are quite complex to investigate is a whole other topic and will be disregarded in this post.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect people who inform themselves about various goods they consume and consume accordingly. But not everybody has got the time and/ or the money to consume the way he would like to.

Moving on to producers: Is it their responsibility to produce sustainably and ethical reasonable?                      As much as I would like to say ‘yes’ the answer is ‘NO’. As long as they don’t break the law producers should maximize their effectiveness and profitability.

From the economic point of view a more effective production (no matter at whose cost – unfortunately) will drive competition, that is not able to adapt, out of the market in the long run.                                                         Therefore ethics play a subordinate role in order to survive in a competition based economy.

Now there is only one faction left to draw the shortest straw: the state.                                               According to my opinion only the state (reasonable, competent, democratically elected) can be entrusted with the responsibility and DUTY to create guidelines that ensure a reasonable, sustainable and TRANSPARENT economy that is clean of exploitation of humans and environment, consumer deception and child labor.

Either utopia is not profitable or lobbyism, corruption and blindness won’t let us get out of this mess.             But I am confident things will get better, slowly but surely we will must recognize that only sustainability and the wealth of the many not the few will bring us forward to JOINTLY meet the challenges of the future.

In a nutshell:

The only obligation we have is to follow the written law, moral is optional in a free market economy.

Wealth must be spread instead of bundled. Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Modesty and sustainability instead of decadence and opulence!!


interesting links!         

consumer behaviour 

cheap is unfair


4 thoughts on “

  1. wonderful to see the advance in formatting! next, maybe: more links along the way … more reporting on what others are saying: hold on to your thoughtful, strong thread (your professional researcher’s voice), but rhetorically work through the voices of others: make this more an inquiry into what others (smarter than you and me) are saying …

  2. Nice post, Timur!
    I especially like that you treat the topic of consumer behavior. People’s decision to purchase or not are based on rational decisions. The cheapest product is the most purchased product.
    But I believe to reflect and think where the product comes from and why it is so cheap is also very important. Since many people do not- because of whatever reasons- think about this, the government should set standards to prevent child labor and protect the environment and society.
    Interesting topic, cool you brought it up!

  3. Timur, you’ve brought to the discussion a very controversal topic. So, you are saying that there is no such a thing like a free lunch, and I can’t but agree with you here. But the following question is how an ordinary consumer can reject from discount prices on the goods. We are always looking for a discount, even in our everyday life, becoming per post weeks offers from for example Kaiser’s or drogery shops. What I’d like to point out is that it is a corporate responsibility for at what costs they make such discounts and of course as you’ve already mentioned the states’ matter of controll, because as from the customer’s point of view it is almoust impossible to estimate at what conditions was this or that product produced.

  4. Hi Timur,

    As you said, the topic of economic ethics is huge, and there are many different aspects one could discuss. Your philosophical post is really interesting, especially since we have this broad discussion about ethics in the financial sector. My advice for you would be to go deeper into this direction as it is a current topic that is also widely discussed in the media.

    You could for example recheck Anne’s post about the tax on financial transactions:

    Or get inspired by “Inside Job” – the movie we watched for Corporate Finance.

    Also the euro crisis is revealing the status of democracy in the euro zone, which seems to be restricted in order to save the Euro:

    Thoughtful Post!

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