Articles & Blogs on the Ethics of Consumption

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Should Love or Incentives Drive Capitalism?

Every episode of the online dialogues between visionary economists, organized as part of the Consultation, starts off with a personal reflection by one of the members of the Consultation’s Think Tank of Young Economists. This is the reflection of Eefje de Gelder at the start of the dialogue ‘Can a Different Market Economy Work in Practice?‘ (16 November).

Conspicuous Consumption Is Over. It’s All about Intangibles Now

” In Veblen’s now famous treatise The Theory of the Leisure Class, he coined the phrase ‘conspicuous consumption’ to denote the way that material objects were paraded as indicators of social position and status. More than 100 years later, conspicuous consumption is still part of the contemporary capitalist landscape, and yet today, luxury goods are significantly more accessible than in Veblen’s time. […] However, the democratisation of consumer goods has made them far less useful as a means of displaying status.”

Hoarding During the Coronavirus Isn’t Just Unnecessary, It’s Ethically Wrong

“When supply chains are vulnerable to spikes in demand, one person’s stockpiling can mean another person’s shortage. As a philosopher who has studied ethical action in difficult circumstances, I know that when many people fail to act ethically, it can seem that each individual has less of an obligation to act well. At this time, American political philosopher John Rawls’ theory of justice can offer useful moral guidance.”

Turning to Easter Eggs to Get through These Dark Times? Here’s the Bitter Truth about Chocolate

“South Australia’s chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier reportedly said people should partake in the Easter treats ‘to cheer ourselves up … I’ve certainly got a good supply of chocolate eggs already’. But before you fill your shopping trolley (online or virtual) with chocolate, we urge you to think twice about whether it’s ethically produced.”

The Ethics of Ordering Non-Essential Items Inline during the Coronavirus Lockdown

“Most of us would likely agree that ordering essential items, such as food or medicine, is ethically acceptable. […] But what about goods that are not absolutely necessary, such as clothing that is wanted but not needed, home decor, toys and games, garden furniture and accessories, beauty products or even, depending on your view on the matter, the humble Easter egg?”


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