Buying Morality: Shopping and the Good Life

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CRESI’s 12th February 2009 seminar given by Dr Andrew Fagan (Human Rights Centre, University of Essex).

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Buying Morality: Shopping and the Good Life

  1. 1. Buying Morality: Shopping & the Good Life Dr. Andrew Fagan Deputy Director Human Rights Centre University of Essex
  2. 2. Being Moral <ul><li>How ‘moral’ are you? </li></ul><ul><li>Defining ‘being morally good’ </li></ul><ul><li>Virtuous, rights-respecting, or harm-reducer? </li></ul><ul><li>Self-directed or other-directed? </li></ul><ul><li>Passive or active agent? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Shopping & Morality <ul><li>Shopping & the modern life </li></ul><ul><li>What effect does shopping have upon others? </li></ul><ul><li>Shopping as a means for effecting change </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical shopping & moral-empowerment </li></ul><ul><li>Can you become a ‘better’ person through shopping? </li></ul><ul><li>Defining ethical shopping – avoiding harm & promoting well-being </li></ul>
  4. 4. Ethical shopping <ul><li>Three conditions for ethical shopping: globalisation; identification & opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>Putting a price on being moral – ethical surcharge </li></ul><ul><li>Characterising goods and relations as moral and immoral </li></ul><ul><li>Utilising consumer power to morally-valuable ends </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ethical shopping <ul><li>Trade and not aid </li></ul><ul><li>Empowering others through market forces </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Fairtrade’ logo and branding </li></ul><ul><li>A direct form of action </li></ul><ul><li>Shopping as a route to a better world </li></ul><ul><li>A moral imperative for shopping ethically </li></ul>
  6. 6. Problems <ul><li>Trust – labelling & validation </li></ul><ul><li>A divided morality </li></ul><ul><li>Danger of moral hypocrisy through action, rather than inaction </li></ul><ul><li>Is shopping part of the problem, rather than the solution? </li></ul><ul><li>Unintended consequences of ‘do-gooders’ deeds </li></ul><ul><li>Moral choice & coercion </li></ul>
  7. 7. Conclusion <ul><li>What do you think? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you shop? </li></ul>

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