Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Ethical Capitalism: Oxymoron?

  1. Oct 15, 2008 #1

    baywax

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    To me it seems perfectly logical that Capitalism would evolve into a form of ethical interaction between traders, sellers, buyers and the environment. This is because, logically again, Capitalism tends to be supported by the consumer and, furthermore, the consumer's lifeline is the environment. It would appear to be the best course for Capitalism to not only preserve the environment in which its consumer lives in order to ensure the healthy future spending and functioning of capitalism's consumer base but to also preserve relationships with trading partners. In this sense, do we see the capitalist system developing in that direction?

    There are Canadian examples of this sort of development but other, international examples of Ethical Capitalism would be helpful in this thread.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2008 #2

    baywax

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Here's an example of a company that provides Social, economic, cultural, environmental services to corporations like mining, hydro and other industrial developments and projects. I'm listing their services... they are Canadian and abide by regulations set by the Canadian government... as well as going beyond those regulations.

    These are just the Social and Economic Sciences utilized in planning a client project.

    The next list you see will be the environmental sciences that go into assessing impact on an environment when an aluminum or gold or uranium or other mine or facility is planned to be built in a specific area of our country or a country somewhere in the world.

    http://www.rescan.com/
     
  4. Oct 15, 2008 #3
    No, I don't believe consumers really care about the environment. People recycle because it's convenient enough but most sacrifices such as driving a hybrid or carrying around re-usable grocery bags are foregone for the benefits of convenience and comfort. This will have to get really bad and many habitats will have already been destroyed before consumers take environmental concerns into account while consuming. Government intervention is definately required.
     
  5. Oct 15, 2008 #4

    baywax

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You have a point there Landru. Its interesting because lately its been the corporations pushing how "green" they are becoming. With this type of hype going on, the consumer is being educated by the corporation rather than the consumer "voting with their dollar" and forcing the issue upon the corporations. However, what got the "green" campaign going in the first place? It was probably Al Gore's Global Warming film and other interests such as this.

    So, are the corporations following a lead they think is going on with consumers? Or are they trying to appease the GW groups who speak to the consumer? Is it a misconception among corporations that their consumers care? Or are the corporations aware of the bigger problem threatening their consumer base with health issues because of pollution etc... and trying to slow that disintegration to ensure future profits?

    (Of course, the pharmaceutical companies and health industries are reaping quite a profit from the deteriorating environment and the ensuing health complications, but overall I think big corporations are realizing the mistake in ruining the very foundation of their profit machine)
     
  6. Oct 15, 2008 #5
    Consumers do care just not enough to exert any effort, so if there are two otherwise interchangeble tooth pastes like Crest and Colgate and one says Co-op approved people will grab the "green" one because hey why not? But you know as well as I do that if they prefer the flavor of Colgate they'll still get the Colgate anyway because that would be tragic to have to suffer the flavor of Crest. Going green is an effective marketing tactic when the options are otherwise indistinguishable.
     
  7. Oct 15, 2008 #6

    baywax

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Once one or more of these consumers who are deciding between toothpastes realizes the dangers of ingesting sodium fluoride (ie: aluminium mine tailings) they tend to go the truly green route and use the alternative toothpastes like Jason's or Nature's Gate.

    This illustrates the importance and influence of education on the choice consumers make. The people who make decisions based on how something tastes could just as easily be drinking sweet anti-freeze out of ignorance of its effects on their body and mind.
     
  8. Oct 16, 2008 #7
    That's getting off topic but I think a lot of people trust toothpaste because it's on the shelf and they don't believe that a harmful product would ever be placed on the shelf to begin with. Plus a lot of people have used them for a long time and haven't reported problems so whatever risk there is must be minimal. They would be skeptical to the claim that Colgate is akin to anti freeze. It may or may not be true but that's the logic people use when they make snap buying decisions.
     
  9. Oct 16, 2008 #8

    baywax

    User Avatar
    Gold Member



    News items, consumer guides and corporate notices help to educate the consumer's choices.
    Here's an example that I'm pretty sure Nestles or Arrow
    Bottlewater Divisions didn't want to see in the news.



    Canadian Press

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/081015/health/health_impure_bottled_water

    Regulation seems to be a bad word for some countries but you can see by today's market and by the rampant loss of wildlife habitat (excluding Las Vegas) that regulation has a chance of being the consumer's best friend and a corporation's guideline to future profits.
     
  10. Oct 16, 2008 #9

    Hardly anyone goes out of their way to find that information. They trust that things on shelves are safe enough. They might perceive those health concerns to be paranoid. Plus what their behavior is shared by many others so should something bad come of it they will have lots of company.
     
  11. Oct 20, 2008 #10

    baywax

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yeah, but the next ad campaign for bottled water will be "our bottles and water contain no BPA or lead or strontium let alone any boric acid or prozac." And the consumer will rest easy until they ask... when did they contain those elements?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Ethical Capitalism: Oxymoron?
  1. Capitalization? (Replies: 3)

  2. Is this an oxymoron? (Replies: 6)

  3. Animal Ethics (Replies: 13)

  4. Ethics in science (Replies: 19)

Loading...