The power of the consumer: The dollar is mightier than the dreadlock

By Chris Morrison

Stop fooling yourselves. White dreadlocked boys banging on bongos while singing Bob Marley songs in a pseudo-patois do not fight globalization.

Large corporations, with the complicity and aid of Western governments, are eager to exploit the labour and resources of the Third World. This is not a recent phenomenon. It has been going on for time eternal, with a few disruptions like the fall of the Roman Empire and the Cold War, and will seemingly continue until the end of the world.

The protesters attending events like the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City or the G-8 Summit in Genoa are delusional if they think Canada, America, Britain, France or Germany actually care about the fate of child labourers or the environment in Indonesia and the Philippines. These same governments acquiesce to every little demand of the corporations exploiting children and polluting the environment. Maybe they, unlike the protesters, understand that the wealth of the Western world was built and has been maintained on the backs of the Third World.

Just look around campus or visit a local shopping mall (shudder to think), and you will realize the “no logo” crusaders have lost–and the match wasn’t even close. There are more mindless saps lining up everyday, paying 50 bucks a pop, to advertise for clothing or athletic companies. Walking billboards are what we have become. Yet, I do believe we can stop this change. I call it change and not progress because with the word “progress” there is a connotation of change for the better, such as the change from Coleco Vision to Sony PlayStation in home gaming consoles in the last two decades. I believe action must be taken, and taken by individuals, not groups.

Groups get bogged down in problems of dogma, ideology and leadership. IQs are proven to go down in groups. Decisions made in groups are generally slow and labourious as any student forced into group work can attest to. They can also be co-opted by the very people they were set up to oppose. And then where are you? I’ll tell you where, you’re working for the people you formerly condemned, just like all those ’60s hippies.

No, going at it alone is the best way. As an individual, one can choose whether or not one wants to buy that nice coat made by six-year olds in Vietnam. One can choose to shop at the independent book store or trek off to suburbia and visit the ├╝ber-bookstore. As an individual, one can make seemingly small decisions that, if made en masse, can affect genuine change in society. But it is important these decisions are made by individuals, as it is individuals who have the power, not organizations.

The bad guys might win this fight, but if we as individuals take the necessary action, David might yet again topple Goliath.

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