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Forum Post: A Massive Global Consumer Union will create the corporate fear necessary for change

Posted 12 years ago on Oct. 13, 2011, 6:18 p.m. EST by shbhanda (4)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

If someone can get together 5 million + consumers under the banner of a consumer union, we can start to play corporations against each other to achieve incremental change. I know the word 'incremental' is not that fun, but it might as well be pursued at the same as revolutionary strategies.

For instance, let's say Exxon has the worst human rights/environmental record and ConocoPhillips has the 'least bad' one. We would tell Exxon that in 3 months we will boycott them in favor of Conoco unless they, say, give all minimum wage workers in Africa a 20% raise. Because capitalism has so much duplication of product we can easily play companies against each other to achieve small victories.

Anyway, all of you revolutionaries please consider the goal of organizing a massive global consumer union. Corporations really only care about their customers.



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[-] 1 points by WorkingClassAntiHero (352) from Manchester, NH 12 years ago

This is a fascinating idea, but a difficult, if not impossible one. For one thing, it doesn't take into account market control. In many places available options for mainstream consumer goods are considerably limited, with the wide variety of products made and sold under the banner of several trade groups.

It would also require an immensely well funded and well organized leadership structure which would need to be accountable to countless local chapters as well as coordinating national events and messaging, ultimately leading it to become yet another major national institution with specific goals meant to characterize the wants and demands of clear majorities of its participants. This is not an immediate solution in my eyes, but a rather interesting idea.

Perhaps you should approach some consumer advocacy groups with it.

[-] 1 points by shbhanda (4) 12 years ago

thanks for your feedback, I agree it would become a bureaucracy if not a dictatorship, but i do like the idea of a group that works for small changes and not all or nothing type organizations like PETA, which are great too.

another easier idea would be a corporate rating site that doesn't give corp's a ratin and instead will just rate them as "good" or "bad." so there is much more incentive for the company to move from say bad to good then from a rating of 49 to 51.

[-] 1 points by WorkingClassAntiHero (352) from Manchester, NH 12 years ago

Corporate and institutional accountability is a serious issue, but is in many ways taken care of by itself. People, if inclined to know or care at all, generally know which companies are the least socially responsible and often the public backlash in terms of image alone spurs them to change many of their ways.

For instance, while still leaps and bounds away from being considered a "good corporate actor" as it were, Walmart has taken serious steps to improve itself, adopting the green or sustainable marketing campaign on many of its products. Though their motivations to make small changes were out of sheer self interest, this is the most effective way to affect change in a company or institution. Once its name goes to shit and it knows it, it adjusts itself as much as needed to improve its image.

[-] 1 points by shbhanda (4) 12 years ago

i agree, but the real change happens when one gets through to middle america moms, etc, and not just those who care. so something like an iphone app that scans brands and either gives a thumbs up or down could be effective especially if use was encouraged by the user getting rewards according to how much they use etc.

[-] 1 points by WorkingClassAntiHero (352) from Manchester, NH 12 years ago

I think Yelp can do that.

[-] 1 points by WorkingClassAntiHero (352) from Manchester, NH 12 years ago

And FYI, I can't stand PETA. Most obnoxious and fringey of obnoxious fringe groups.

[-] 1 points by PierpontLuv (38) 12 years ago

Here is one flaw (of many) with your proposal....joe blow american (presumably one of your 99%) will go to the gas station that is the closest to where joe blow is at any given moment, and, even if he can muster up enough conviction to try to adhere to your boycott, his mind is vapid and the thought will escape in a very short time.

[-] 1 points by shbhanda (4) 12 years ago

agreed, but its all percentages, and we could work on getting participation rates up from say 20% to higher with certain deals, coupons, etc.

[-] 1 points by shbhanda (4) 12 years ago

sorry, will only add this: we can threaten boycotts unless we are given free shitty products too!