The problem illustrated in the discussion is that the more we become consumers, the less we care about others And this concerns business because they are our bartender metaphorically speaking. They are the ones serving us drinks. And the question becomes, should business have the responsibiity to cut us off for the sake of society and even the world or is its only responsibility that of making a profit?
- We should note that not feeling responsible for more than one's own immediate welfare is a concept that easily passes from business to consumer. Just as business can follow the maximization of profit ethic, so the consumer can always shop for the lowest price. And in looking for the lowest price, the consumer can become cold to the suffering some have had to experience in providing the same low prices as well as other suffering. The suffering in order to provide low prices can range from the paying of poverty wages to the employing of sweatshop labor to the trafficking of labor or some combination. Examples of other suffering comes can be seen in today's wars and occupations or from famines. The consumer can also ignore the environmental impact that the production of some products cause and how that impact can hurt how others live. For when price is king, all other concerns becomes moot.
So as businesses look to maximize profits, they can objectify us consumers by taking us for all we have. But as they do that, they drain from the consumer the energy and care needed to seek or provide help for others.
There is also another problem. As us consumers become drunk with more and more goods and services, we stop caring for ourselves. What happens is that as we focus more and more on being consumers, we care less and less about who is control. As long as we are getting our goodies, we feel life is good and we pay no attention to the people in control--remember the famous line from The Wizard Of Oz about the man behind the curtain. While we've been consuming, some businesses, especially big ones, have used their wealth to purchase political power and have used that power to shed themselves of their own responsibilities for maintaining society while working the system in order to benefit themselves. Such businesses become society's parasites much like the alien invaders from the movie Independence Day. So as the tax burden is shifted from the rich to the plethora of consumers----the trend for this shifting tax burden has precedent in France before its revolution --and the infrastructure enters into a state of disrepair, consumers eventually wake up to the effect. But by then it might be too late to do anything as we as we start to suffer just like the people we have ignored suffer.
I guess it is asking to much to expect business to not turn us into mindless consumers by cutting us off after we have had too much. But if business won't cut us off, who will? How will we ever stop so we can care about others and what matters? How will we ever learn what our leaders and representatives need to learn before entering office? What they, in fact all of us, need to learn is that caring about how one's actions can affect others, especially those who are most vulnerable, is a necessary condition for any worthwhile society to survive.