WalMart - No Ordinary Boycott
I usually do not participate in petition drives or boycotts as means of influencing
a company that is harming the environment or people by refusing to buy its
products. The first problem with boycotts are that they are not likely to
gain enough momentum to really influence the offending company; I usually
prefer being in the position of writing to a company to say, "I am one of
your customers, and I really wish you would change your policy on ...." The
second problem with boycotts is that corporate relationships are so complex
these days that it is not possible to be sure you are boycott a certain company.
If you boycott Coca-Cola for its
terrible practices in Colombia
, for example, do you know that you also need to boycott Sunkist, because
it is owned by Coke? The third problem is that corporate misbehavior takes
so many forms that it is impossible to know whether you are really hitting
the most important miscreants.
I must admit a nostalgic attachment to certain boycotts that have kept my
interest for the past twenty years. I am still unable to get myself to buy
Nestle's or Coor's products, but I do not have any illustions about this
influencing their behavior.
All of this said, staying out of WalMart
is no ordinary boycott; it is a decision to opt out of an extremely destructive
way of life.
Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan