Kamis, 27 September 2007

Highlight on consumer ethics

There is a definite cost to be borne by ignoring the social dimension of products

willingness-to-pay for social attributes

protests (Seattle, Davos, etc.) against WB, IMF, WTO, & G7/G8 for policies against less affluent world

    • Nike shoes & (male/female) sweatshop labor
    • Bath soaps (animal by-products & testing/biodegradable)
    • Counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag (purse/wheeled suitcase)
  • Less affluent country respondents (where worker abuse & counterfeiting are more likely)
    • Had seen such ethical abuses and were angered by them
    • But “It was simply the way of the world

not conscious of ethical breaches, simply didn’t care or felt powerless to change the status quo. Price and brand remain the focus in purchasing decisions.

“Chinese respondents who had been taught about capitalism from a Communist perspective did not view the use of cheap labour as exploiting workers. They saw no ethical breach because to them that was the way capitalism works,” explains Eckhardt.

, they did not see a problem with the intellectual property issue of putting a premium-priced luxury item, such as a Louis Vuitton handbag [albeit a fake one], within the reach of many. “To them, this was an egalitarian stand.”

“I want to wear this brand because everyone else does,” is a typical response reported by the researchers.

Therefore they dismissed considering it as ‘a waste of time’ or simply, ‘the way of the world’.

“In the case of intellectual property rights, they thought it was just big corporations who were making too much money anyway,” reports Eckhardt. “They didn’t care about this issue because they didn’t perceive it to be hurting anyone.”

The onus of moral responsibility was seen to rest with governments and businesses.

“There’s a link between producer ethics and consumer ethics which indicates consumers are looking for leadership in this area,”

Such behaviour may include decisions to :–

  • continue buying or stop buying a product
  • support a company or boycott a company
  • vote for or against a political party

Gap is

c o n s i d e red as very much a value re t a i l e r. Technically its

consumers should only be concerned about

fashionability and price. This was proven not to be the

case when evidence of child labor came to the fore

last year. No one, bargain hunter or brand loyalist,

wanted to be associated with this kind of behavior.

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