Simply put, dollar voting is the concept of lining your values up with your purchases. I believe in it, and I’m going to make my case for it. I’m also going to reference two articles (and have provided them for you at the end of the post) by individuals who don’t believe in it, each author with their own reasons for feeling so. Then, you are free to draw your own conclusion.
We shouldn’t hide in the face of adversity, we should welcome it in. Stand strong in your opinions, or be prepared to change your mind. This is how we grow. I actually can’t even say that I disagree completely with either perspective, but this will become more apparent as we go on.
What are your most valued morals? What does it take to compromise them? Convenience? Alcohol? Instant gratification? Can you really consider it a moral of your own if you are so easily broken by a fork in the road?
I’ve had a few “life changing” experiences in my recent past. Somewhere around 4 years ago, I threw my honesty and integrity into the wind, hoping that “true love” would be bestowed upon me. I imagined and hoped that everyone that I was lying to and dragging into deceit would understand in the end. My intentions weren’t bad, I thought it was love. It wasn’t. It turns out the deceiver was also being deceived. I came out to be somewhat of a villain in the end. I lost a lot of friends (or rather learned who my friends really were) and was left heartbroken.
Anyway, after going through all of that nonsense to be left with nothing in the end, drew a lot of questions to the forefront of my mind… Was my integrity worth the long shot? In the moment it must have been, but what about the end game?
My favorite quote by Janis Joplin is, “Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all you’ve got.” How true is that? Yes, we have family and friends and various loved ones but the only person you truly have to answer to, when you lay down to sleep at night, is yourself.
This journey started with honesty and integrity in my personal relationships but it has grown so much from there. My morals began to really take shape. Just to name a few… I am against corruption in politics and the corporate world. I am against inhumane practices of any kind, in relation to humans, animals, or the environment. I care about the quality of what I eat and put on my skin. I believe that my choices in life should reflect these values everyday, or that I should at least try my best every day to uphold these values.
The first article I came across shares the perspective that even if we try to be more conscious of what we purchase, it is almost inevitable that our dollar is going to someone greedy at the top. The great point is made, that once a company goes public, whoever purchases the most shares in their stock becomes the majority shareholder and as she put it, “This is how the same people end up owning both Whole Foods AND Monsanto.” To read the entire article, click here.
If the goal is to keep our money out of the hands of the grossly wealthy, I believe she is correct in saying that’s null and void. However, the way I see it, in this monopoly ridden consumer world, it is still worth showing these corporate monsters what we want to see more of and less of. If we collectively stopped purchasing items comprised mainly of unrecognizable chemicals, they would see that in their sales reports. They won’t continue to produce items that are no longer selling in comparison to others. In future posts I’ll be discussing things to look for on your products (i.e. “fair trade certified,” “ethically sourced,” “ewg verified”). Right now, let’s stay focused on the concept.
The second article approaches the issue from a completely different, but equally valid perspective. What we are purchasing, is hardly the problem in comparison to how much we purchase things. He makes five great points, number 4 being, “We can’t shop our way to less consumption.” Read the article in its entirety, here.
So for similar reasons as before, I am going to stand my ground. Yes, we as a collective group of people, purchase insanely too much, especially things we really don’t need. The majority of us don’t have the skills to make our own clothes or furniture, for example. There are clothing companies out there that do more than just profit for themselves. They give to charities, to the environment, etc. At least once a month I plan to feature some of these types of businesses. What about furniture companies that source their materials ethically?
I choose to believe that dollar voting can shape the consumer landscape, into a reflection of what is important to us, the (possibly less-frequent?) consumer. I will say that this is going to take self-discipline and if you have someone in your life to help keep you accountable, it certainly helps.
I’ll end this with a personal, real-life example.
My husband and I are tinkerers. My Samsung Note 4 screen was cracked, and being as handy as we think we are, ordered a new LCD display and tried to fix it ourselves. Everything was going great until we were attempting to reassemble it, unfortunately realizing it was absolutely not going to happen. We decided that since it was generations old, maybe the money was better invested in a new device, versus more replacement parts for the old.
I love android and have been a loyal Samsung customer for a long time. Of course, I begin diving into the details of the latest Samsung devices, when my husband so kindly reminds me of all the alleged corruption against their acting CEO. I was crushed, seriously. I would have loved to pretend that I wasn’t writing this post, to have purchased the new phone before “remembering” the scandal. I decided that I was going to look into the story and make my decision from there. I’ll spare you the details in case it’s of no interest to you. At the end of my digging, I couldn’t bring myself to get behind a new Samsung phone. However, I am now the happy and proud owner of the new Google Pixel.
If you have interest in the scandal, I have provided the two stories which most influenced my decision, below.
Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments below! More discussion, more understanding, more growth.
All my love,
And, this is not new! I also came across this article from 2013….