I was flipping through a flyer left on a table at the office today and came across an inexpensive metal chair ($18). My first thought was: “Wow that’s really cheap I wonder what sacrifices the manufacturer/shipper/vendor are making to get it that cheap.” And then I realized, “hey wait a minute, a normal reaction would be to get all excited at the deal and rush out and buy some.”
Is this the wrong reaction or the right one? Should we be simply looking out for ourselves and our own bottom line or should we be worried about the larger context? Do we make enough decisions and have enough stress on a daily basis, is this something we should concern ourselves with?
I’d argue yes. The globe is small. If we’re burning up all of our fossil fuels to ship cheap items across the ocean, where does that put us in 5 years? If we’re leaning on the backs of countries with lower environmental or human right standards, how does that reflect on us as a people? If we’re suppressing the population of another country for our own benefit, what will that cost us when they wake up to that realization. Or when the roles are one day reversed?
Or maybe I’m over-thinking a $18 patio chair.