I have purchased many products developed in other countries in the past, including electronics, clothing, and vehicles. To be honest, I have never considered the multi-dimensional ramifications of such purchases. In my view, the purchase of any product that is made available for purchase, whether imported or domestic, contributes to the economy of the United States. In Free to Choose, Milton Friedman (1990) outlines how a free market, driven by personal interest, creates a paradigm where interaction serves only to benefit each party of a transaction. Under Friedman’s concept, the market ultimately causes responsible purchasing, as the consumer drives the market. This differs greatly to the capitalism engaged in the United States, which promotes what is refered to as crony-capitalism. This is certainly an abomination of what the free market is intended to provide. As Friedman purports, “a predominantly voluntary exchange economy … has within it the potential to promote both prosperity and human freedom” (p. 11). Consideration of special interest over general interest will degrade this ideal.
According to Ridgeway (2007), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have destroyed cultures in their attempts to provide for participation in the international markets. Unfortunately, opportunistic people have taken advantage of the situations created. This is what laws are for. Proper legislation and political pressure would allow a government to interact on the world market utilizing methods acceptable to the people. The sovereign government of a people is responsible to and for the people. Governments trade with other governments and their people. It is the choice of both governments, and ultimately the consumers, to do business with each specific entity. I posit that if a certain government abused the governed populace for the sake of increasing world trade, then the responsible governments of the world should, in fact, put pressure on the producing government to alter its model. This would require a moral commitment, however.
Whenever an opportunity for growth presents itself to a community, the community is going to change. Technology will change landscapes as certain needs prevail over lesser needs. It is the responsibility of each culture, whether indigenous or colonial, to preserve their history and culture. Abuses, though, should not be tolerated. I believe that it would be important to not purchase products produced in such manner that would offend one’s sensibilities. For example, the genocide of a people is not excusable solely for the use of the wood on their land. I, for one, would not allow that producer to profit from me.
Friedman, M. & Friedman, R. D. (1990). Free to choose: A personal statement (First Harvest ed.). Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books
Ridgeway, S. (2007, July). Globalization from the subsistence perspective. Peace Review, 19, 297–304. doi:10.1080/10402650701524659