I am a big fan of voting with your money for the world you want. This may sound simplistic to you but I really believe it. The people we choose to spend our money with have a great impact on our environment, the political system, and the state of our world. Even the food you buy at the grocery store is essentially a vote. Something as simple as buying a bag of apples can mean you are condoning slave labor and the use of illegal pesticides. When you pick up that bag of artificially cheap apples from the grocer what message are you sending that company if it is not that you approve of their business practices AND you support them? Makes you think doesn’t it? Instead of buying that bag of apples you might instead choose to buy a bushel of apples from a local, organic farmer. You might even pay twice as much per pound but the important thing is that you are voting for sustainable farming and you are supporting your next door neighbor instead of a greedy and corrupt corporation.
This reminds me of a conversation that I had with my mom recently when we went to the farmer’s market. Her immediate instinct was to say that most of goods were too expensive to buy…she could get them elsewhere for a better price. I had to remind her that there were more important issues at work here than money. I mean, I love saving money, but I love making my dollars count for something important even more. I LOVE being able to say that my purchases are not only furnishing my home or feeding my family…they are furthering the values and ethics that are important to me. What price can you put on that? Now, that is not to say all my purchases are made with only the most ethical companies…I have a long way to go yet in that respect…but I am “voting” in the right places more and more every day.
Today I ran across an article from Forbes that shows the 400 richest Americans. This list shows more than anything where American priorities are and I am not encouraged by the results.
Take a look at the top 25 companies that WE are making rich….the top 25 companies that represent our monetary “votes” and our values and ethics as a country. 5 of the richest people are affiliated with Wal-Mart…King of cheap and unethical. Two on this list are in oil, two are in entertainment, one is in the casino industry, and 3 are in the junk food (candy) industry. Add to those a bunch of computer industry moguls (just to round out the list) and you have American values in a nutshell. The list just gets even more depressing if you dig deeper. It also made me remember that we are heading into one of the biggest seasons for purchasing…the holidays. Think of all the voting that will occur.
These are the people we have catapulted into financial success…but have they done anything truly noble? Are they making the world a better place or are they helping to tear it apart? I am sorry but it bothers me to see big oil, junk food, and casino representatives making a fortune off the American people while 46.6 million of them have no health insurance. What if Americans started deciding to send their hard earned money to companies that make the world a better place…what an amazing world that might be…