Friday, April 17, 2009

Judgement Call- Making money

Nothing seems to attract the worst in humanity like money. From a couple of dollars to thousands, people are willing to do some pretty awful things.

My question is: At what point does it become immoral?

Say you buy a house for $50,000. Then you put in new carpet. Is it right for you to then sell it for $85,000? What if the reason it was sold so cheap was because of a bad divorce? What about if you are a real estate agent and bought it before it was offered to the public? What about selling it at that price KNOWING the furnace doesn't work? What about selling it to first time home buyers, a young (ignorant) couple? What about convincing them to put up half the money to replace the sewer? At what point does this become wrong???

Say you buy an item from a thrift store/rummage sale/estate sale. It could be anything from a used video game to a "vintage" piece of glassware... name whatever you want. If you paid $10 for it, at what selling price does it become wrong? $100? $1000? Is there one? Would you tell the person who owned it what it was really worth? What if that person HAD to sell it because they were in foreclosure? Or going to a nursing home? Does the age of the person matter? What if it was a young boy? Is it fair for you to purchase an item that you don't need and someone else does so that you can turn a profit???

How about we try shopping in a store. Lets say you need a new pot or pan. (or anything you'd like to imagine) There's one for $5, $15, $20, $30, $50, and $100. (I sincerely hope you know where I'm going with this...) Is it okay to buy the $5 one? What if you found out that the Chinese who made it live in slums, have their rent and utilities taken out of their paycheck, have rent taken out of their paycheck EVEN IF THEY DON'T LIVE ON SITE, make less than $1-$3/hr, are worked 7 days a week, and are forced to lie about conditions? What if the $20 pan comes from China but with better pay and conditions? What about the $30 pan that has a brand name on it but comes from the same conditions in China as the $5 pan? What about the $50 pan that comes from the USA and pays nice wages? What about the $100 pan that comes from USA with a brand name and the extra $50 just pads CEOs pockets and pays for commercials? Is it more morally responsible to buy from the USA than other countries? Shouldn't we all really make sure we know the where and how of our purchases???

What about organic food? Is it better than just buying local produce? What if a farmer uses organic practices but can't afford the hugely expensive organic certification? If you lived in the midwest, should you buy from California just because that's still in the USA? Should the government (well... you ACTUALLY) subsidize the shipment of these goods so that its CHEAPER for you to buy from California or Brazil rather than your home state? Is it okay that major companies have many plants so genetically modified that they no longer can reproduce and have to be re modified every year to produce seeds for that years crop???

These are just some everyday scenarios that play in all of our lives. I'm not saying making or saving money is wrong, I merely wanted to spawn some thought and fight some ignorance or apathy. Also, I hoped to shed a few facts that I've either personally experienced, read, or seen through my years of documentary watching. My personal opinion is don't buy something unless you need it and can hopefully afford to pay for fair conditions. But believe me when I say I am as guilty as anyone for not always practicing as I preach. Everyday life seems to somehow find a way to cloud and numb our minds and we then seem to float on auto pilot. Anyways, I KNOW everyone has their OWN opinions. So, let me know what YOU think!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chandra,
    I am watching a conversation on another blog about Craigslist (which I l-o-v-e)and a few people were celebrating how they've taken items for free, used them for a spell and then sold them. I think this is, at best, not classy and at worst, immoral. But more to your wider point, the world will never be safe for mindless shopping. The goal has to be to reduce or consumption to a level that reflects our needs (which are finite) and not our wants (which are infinite). We are conditioned to "let the market decide". We must take back the reigns and impose our morality and cogniznance of our material limitations on markets if we ever hope to be well served by them.