Is this salvation via consumerism or salvation for consumerism?

Honestly, I just don’t know which it is. I suspect the answer, as always, is: both/and.

As I tweeted earlier, I bought a t-shirt for a cause today. You can probably tell I’m feeling a bit ambivalent about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Not for Sale. They are doing amazing, important work. In fact, I was supposed to be at one of their Backyard Abolitionist Academies right now. Sadly, it was canceled due to lack of registration. And I wish I could attend their Global Forum on Human Trafficking next month.

As for Sevenly, this is the first I’ve heard of them. But theirs sure seems like a good, innovative, fun, worthy approach to helping people in need. Yet, still I wonder…how does all this play out in the grand economics-for-good scale?

Watch this video about it and let me know what you think: Does this kind of consumerist activism effect positive change? Or does the very act of buying more stuff – no matter who created said stuff or who will benefit from the sale – automatically cancel out any good intended through the transaction? Or I am I completely misunderstanding the economics at work?

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2 thoughts on “Is this salvation via consumerism or salvation for consumerism?

  1. Drew Downs

    Hi Dave,

    I stumbled here through your comment on The Hardest Question. Thanks for covering this. I, too hesitate at the idea of justice through consumption, particularly from the seemingly pro-consumerist angle. The more simple question, then is this: must we wear something? It becomes easy to say “Since I’m already going to buy X, then shouldn’t I buy the X from the people that are responsible, rather than irresponsible?” Perhaps, then mindfulness and responsible action is greater than abstinence?

    1. Hey Drew,
      Thanks for checking out my silly little corner of the interwebs here.

      You’re right, consuming as responsibly as possible is mandatory. It’s also hard to do as most companies aren’t quick to reveal their supply chains.

      I like you’re line: action just might be greater than abstinence.

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