A fellow wordpress blogger named ToxicMemes wrote a blog this morning suggesting that the label FairTrade “promotes consumerism by alleviating guilt“. It’s quite a claim, but you know what? It’s true.
Bravo, TM! I applaud your well-written entry unmasking the inherent and inescapable greed that we Westerners have come to posess. I am thankful for statements, such as this one, that bring me back down to Earth when I start to drift upward into my lofty, all-knowing state. I, myself, am constantly touting the importance of Fair Trade and Green products, which are a good way to buy if you must buy something at all, (and if a little research into the product reveals that they are, in fact, legitimate), but before consuming anything we should first ask ourselves if we need to. Our desire will tell us yes, undoubtedly, but we should each search for something within ourselves that lets us say no.
When we look at our standard of living and compare that to the standards of living that developing countries have, as well as our happiness versus theirs, what conclusions can we draw? Perhaps this is a hard question to answer if you have not personally witnessed the lives of those who are less-fortunate, I, too, do not really understand the lives that they live, but to say that our lifestyle is better, and that everyone across the globe no matter their traditions and histories should live like us is a very narcissistic view.
I don’t think that supporting Fair Trade and Environmentally Friendly companies is the wrong way to go at all (as I’m sure you have noticed), and I don’t think that ToxicMemes is suggesting that either, but what this blog entry does highlight is that we often use the presence of those labels as an excuse to buy things. We’re told by advertisements and sales people that if we buy these products we are helping the Earth and its people, but the truth is, it’s just better than the alternative product. It isn’t, however, better than not buying it at all. So then, the question becomes; can we make it through our lives without owning this product? Chances are, we can.