Author Topic: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?  (Read 250 times)

So I came across this video of children mining cobalt in Congolese and it got me thinking about the whole battery debate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op3FkZ4_DFQ

On one side they say we are responsible for the way children are being treated in this video because we purchased the phone, so we are providing the incentive to make children work, and putting children in these terrible conditions, with terrible futures.

On the other side though how can we be expected to know every piece in the supply chain? Is it our fault that the country wants to use child labor in mining conditions to turn a profit? Isn’t that the same thing we did here in the U.S. not so long ago? Proponents say it’s the lesser of two evils: “It is common for homeless children or those without parents or adult supervision to be pushed into the sex trade or towards other criminal activities in order to earn money to survive. In this context, working in sweatshops is a far better solution.”

https://www.triplepundit.com/2010/12/gasp-benefits-child-labor-developing-world/

So who’s morally responsible for them working the mines, or do you believe it’s a lesser evil and we are helping not hurting?
http://ForDebating.com is now in beta.

We have 1v1 and 2v2 debates 2-6 round debates others vote on and will have up to 16-man tourneys working soon.

Online Shiranu

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2018, 09:49:04 PM »
I think to an extent yes, we are morally responsible for consumerism directly destroying the lives of millions of people. It's one of those things that I get very drunk and very high to avoid thinking about (with a sense of irony, since at least the high directly contributes to organized crime and violence). 

Ultimately, it is outside of my control. I do not have the social or political power to either directly change the system or influence enough people to want to change it... but I certainly do try to take steps in avoiding buying from corporations that are notorious for exploitation of labour and natural resources. But you can only get so far doing that.
"Slow dive into me, float high endlessly... Hearts will shake, Wide awake, Love me till the tether breaks." - Seven Lions

"Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny" - Steve Maraboli

Online Munch

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2018, 10:13:53 PM »
I have no hangups saying, the reason why this occurs to this degree, is on just how many people there are in the world. Rich nations burning up resources is nothing new, but the numbers of people in the world today, of course these places will use any resources they have, including children. demand gets higher and higher each year.

In a way, when I see the avengers infinity trailer, where Thanos' goal is to whip out half of all life in the universe, the way things are now in the real world, but overpopulation, burning of resources, starvation and mass immigration, jodlessness, homelessness, wars, honestly Thanos' plan doesn't sound to bad sometimes.

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2018, 10:59:22 PM »
I have no hangups saying, the reason why this occurs to this degree, is on just how many people there are in the world. Rich nations burning up resources is nothing new, but the numbers of people in the world today, of course these places will use any resources they have, including children. demand gets higher and higher each year.

In a way, when I see the avengers infinity trailer, where Thanos' goal is to whip out half of all life in the universe, the way things are now in the real world, but overpopulation, burning of resources, starvation and mass immigration, jodlessness, homelessness, wars, honestly Thanos' plan doesn't sound to bad sometimes.

Well that turned dark rather quickly...
http://ForDebating.com is now in beta.

We have 1v1 and 2v2 debates 2-6 round debates others vote on and will have up to 16-man tourneys working soon.

Offline Cavebear

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2018, 03:22:08 AM »
We are not ethically responsible for what is made.  But we are ethically responsible for what we buy.  Merchants can offer anything.  We don't have to buy them.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Baruch

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2018, 04:00:34 AM »
Well that turned dark rather quickly...

Per Puritanism, including secular puritanism, nobody is good enough ... this leads inevitably to suicide and genocide.  Just say no to puritanism.  STFU with virtue signaling.  Embrace your inner criminal.
שלום

Offline Baruch

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2018, 04:01:56 AM »
We are not ethically responsible for what is made.  But we are ethically responsible for what we buy.  Merchants can offer anything.  We don't have to buy them.

Eating involves killing.  We are guilty of killing cattle, indirectly, if we buy a hamburger.  Hindus are correct about this.  But I am not afraid of guilt.  Nor do I revel in it.
שלום

Online Munch

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2018, 06:59:49 AM »
Eating involves killing.  We are guilty of killing cattle, indirectly, if we buy a hamburger.  Hindus are correct about this.  But I am not afraid of guilt.  Nor do I revel in it.

Can I give you a couple hundred upvotes for saying that?

In life we indirectly do things that cause this kind of grief to other people and animals elsewhere. Its just a part of human nature, and all we can do is acknowledge the bad in it, but learn not to be consumed by guilt. We're all complacent in this way of living. Better to just be thankful your born in a country that makes life easier for you then hating it because other countries do far worse.

Offline SGOS

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2018, 08:01:21 AM »

On one side they say we are responsible for the way children are being treated in this video because we purchased the phone, so we are providing the incentive to make children work, and putting children in these terrible conditions, with terrible futures.

On the other side though how can we be expected to know every piece in the supply chain? Is it our fault that the country wants to use child labor in mining conditions to turn a profit? Isn’t that the same thing we did here in the U.S. not so long ago? Proponents say it’s the lesser of two evils: “It is common for homeless children or those without parents or adult supervision to be pushed into the sex trade or towards other criminal activities in order to earn money to survive. In this context, working in sweatshops is a far better solution.”
In the end we get to make choices.  If it bothers you that children will die because you buy certain products, stop buying them.  If it bothers you that others are pointing this out to you, ignore them and buy the products.  You get to choose your action.  Just make a decision.   You know what the fuck you are doing, and you know how it affects others.  It isn't necessary to justify your actions by downgrading another's sense of morality (or lack of it).

@Coveny  This was not directed at you.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 08:05:04 AM by SGOS »

Offline Cavebear

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2018, 08:15:29 AM »
In the end we get to make choices.  If it bothers you that children will die because you buy certain products, stop buying them.  If it bothers you that others are pointing this out to you, ignore them and buy the products.  You get to choose your action.  Just make a decision.   You know what the fuck you are doing, and you know how it affects others.  It isn't necessary to justify your actions by downgrading another's sense of morality (or lack of it).

Manufactured items involve many parts from all over the world.  I think that it becomes unreasonable to expect anyone to know where they all come from and who makes them.  How can anyone keep track of the sources of everything?

It can get ridiculous.  Lets keep it simple and say I want to a simple shirt.  The fabric may have been produced in one plece, woven in another, cut to shape in a 3rd, etc.  And the label may say some technical legal country of origin.  But even that label may have been made in yet another place.  And where did the fabric dye come from?  I don't know and at some point, no one can actually be sure.

The whole issue of country of origin and the conditions of those who made the parts becomes impossible to track.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline SGOS

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2018, 08:34:03 AM »
Manufactured items involve many parts from all over the world.  I think that it becomes unreasonable to expect anyone to know where they all come from and who makes them.  How can anyone keep track of the sources of everything?

It can get ridiculous.  Lets keep it simple and say I want to a simple shirt.  The fabric may have been produced in one plece, woven in another, cut to shape in a 3rd, etc.  And the label may say some technical legal country of origin.  But even that label may have been made in yet another place.  And where did the fabric dye come from?  I don't know and at some point, no one can actually be sure.

The whole issue of country of origin and the conditions of those who made the parts becomes impossible to track.
Absolutely.  Components of products and their effects on people are widespread.  How they are manufactured or procured often cannot be known.  But I was talking about the specific example addressed in the OP, which may not address the origin of all cobalt, so consumers can't even know if it's in a specific battery.  The specific example is just information, something I didn't know about, but it's still just information.  I was writing to those who would rather kill the messenger that listen to what he has to say.  I will continue to purchase batteries for the moment.  I don't know enough at this point to decide, but that could change.

Offline aitm

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2018, 08:41:46 AM »
It quickly becomes matter of convenience and/or necessity. I don't buy diamonds specifically because they are the product of horrible work conditions and of course completely and ridiculously over priced for simple "rocks". But truthfully, I would not buy diamonds anyway as I  really do consider them just shiny rocks.

But I also understand that much of what I "need" is probably by the hand of poor labors.

What is the price to "protest" the use of cheap labor? Do they gain anything by my refusal to buy? Does Chick Filet suffer because I don't buy their products?

In the end, the grandness of all life, should we abandon the idea that we are special life forms on a world made for us and consider that all life forms have an equal impact on the afterlife? The thought that humans are granted and afterlife but not the squirrel or ant is the grandest of arrogance.

The reality of course, as I see it, I get x years of life, tens of thousands of my peers, those living within my very reach die long before they "should" of various things, many due to the direct influence of other life forms taking what they can for their survival, completely ignorant of the life form they kill to survive...or do they know?

So, I like most have an internal "proximity equation". We don't realize it, most don't even consider it to be that, but it is. The closer the "issue" is at hand the more importance it has on our reactions. Out of sight, out of mind.

I cannot consider that which is out of my proximity equation as I refuse to, for it would impact my life, what few years I get, to the point where my suffering, which would probably not gain any happiness to those I suffer for, would interfere to much with what little happiness one gets in this life. Work one third of your life, sleep one third..we have precious little time to actually enjoy the personal time we get. I am sorry son, ma'am, sir, I have but few hours to enjoy this very short life. Half the world dies before they should. Some work 16 hours a day and sleep the rest, some born into slavery will never enjoy life. Some are born with such deformity that they don't even recognize life.

The universe doesn't give a fuck. I have proximity equation,,that which I can reach and help, if it makes me feel better by helping, than I add to my happiness by helping, selfishness can also be altruistic but remains selfish to the end that my sole reason is that it makes me feel better.

I cannot cure the world, too many want to kill it. I have far less years left than I have already used, and not one day guaranteed.

Life, laugh, enjoy. You have the immediate moment now, enjoy it, that heart attack is merely waiting for you to stand from your chair.


A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Offline Cavebear

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2018, 08:42:53 AM »
Absolutely.  Components of products and their effects on people are widespread.  How they are manufactured or procured often cannot be known.  But I was talking about the specific example addressed in the OP, which may not address the origin of all cobalt, so consumers can't even know if it's in a specific battery.  The specific example is just information, something I didn't know about, but it's still just information.  I was writing to those who would rather kill the messenger that listen to what he has to say.  I will continue to purchase batteries for the moment.  I don't know enough at this point to decide, but that could change.

Well, yeah, sometimes the OP gets lost in the new direction of a thread.  I do apologize for my part in that, but I don't re-read the whole thread every time I post.  I mostly just look at the newest ones.  It wasn't intentional.  Feel free to redirect attention to your original intent...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline SGOS

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2018, 09:29:25 AM »
Well, yeah, sometimes the OP gets lost in the new direction of a thread.  I do apologize for my part in that, but I don't re-read the whole thread every time I post.  I mostly just look at the newest ones.  It wasn't intentional.  Feel free to redirect attention to your original intent...
I've derailed enough threads to avoid taking issue when others do.  But I did enjoy Coveny's comment, "Well that turned dark rather quickly..."

Offline Cavebear

Re: Are we morally responsible for the making of what we purchase?
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2018, 09:40:38 AM »
I've derailed enough threads to avoid taking issue when others do.  But I did enjoy Coveny's comment, "Well that turned dark rather quickly..."

He's the other one on my ignore list...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk