As a people, we continue to dismiss the following reality:
Consumer demand works as the primary force behind company decision-making.
I believe this to be true of nearly all products and industries, short of those being heavily manipulated by state and federal governments (Telecom, for example).
Before you conclude my lack of respect for basic decency and Pelicans forced to wear plastic on their feet, understand that I have a great deal of love for my home and her natural wilderness. Whether or not our environment is worthy of protection isn’t in question – the responsible party, however, is another story.
Corporations find success by mirroring our behavior or predicting its progression outright – the latter being reserved for only the most cunning among them. Apple, for example, has mastered this strategy, producing gadgets so closely linked to our own wants we’ve convinced ourselves of some deep-seeded, inherent need of them. Good companies act according to the wants and needs of the market – a market we define and re-define daily.
If consumers are comfortable buying in the “now”, meaning they aren’t concerned with the environmental footprint of their purchase, than you should expect companies such as Coke to mimic this behavior. Inversely, don’t be surprised when Whole Foods Market, a company whose marketing strategy is based around responsible agriculture, displays the flip-side of that coin. Questions surrounding a business’ moral obligation reflect an overall lack of understanding on our part, ignoring the larger role WE play in that process. They follow only where our purchases lead.
Never concern yourself with the motives of a business man, as what drives him is simple and to the point. There’s a built in complicity between the seller and buyer – both parties are required to produce a result. On the other hand, a state requires your consent on only the most basic of levels. In the event you aren’t interested in giving this agreement, they will take it from a neighbor on your behalf or by force if necessary. There’s no shared-fate within government structure. They seek power at my expense or progress, depending on how it can be best achieved at the moment.
Invest in the demon you know, not the devil you don’t.