Friday, June 8, 2007

The Ethics of Boycotts

"A boycott is an attempt to persuade other people to have nothing to do with some particular person or firm — either socially or in agreeing not to purchase the firm's product. Morally a boycott may be used for absurd, reprehensible, laudatory, or neutral goals. It may be used, for example, to attempt to persuade people not to buy non-union grapes or not to buy union grapes. From our point of view, the important thing about the boycott is that it is purely voluntary, an act of attempted persuasion, and therefore that it is a perfectly legal and licit instrument of action."

The Ethics of Boycotts - Mises Institute

This is how to attack corporations which have practices you don't like. You don't lobby your Congressperson in an attempt to get some law passed that has widespread unintended consequences affecting a whole range of organizations and individuals which weren't your intended target. Corporations don't like bad press, and they need sales to go up. Boycotts are a key element which make capitalism and free-markets work.

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