Keeping Those Ants in Line

Leif Andersson is a professor at the University of Uppsala and specializes in genetic enhancement of farm animals. This means he creates cows that produce more milk, chicken with larger breasts, and faster-growing pigs. The issue for some people is that this genetic manipulation might cause a lot of suffering for animals. Today chickens that have been enhanced cannot stand on their own and enhanced dairy cows can barely walk. Professor Andersson was in an interview for the newspaper, Haaretz, and the reporter asked him about these concerns. He responded, “Everything comes back to the individual customer and to the question of how much the customer is willing to pay for meat. . . we must remember that it would be impossible to maintain current levels of global meat consumption without the [enhanced] modern chicken. . . if customers ask us only for the cheapest meat possible – that’s what the customers will get. . . Customers need to decide what is most important to them – price, or something else.”

In the modern free market, the supreme authority is the free will of the customer. If a company creates the best product in the world and markets it better than any other product, but no one buys the product, does that mean that customers are making a mistake and they don’t know whats good for them? No. In a free market, the customer is always right. Today, it doesn’t matter if the product is bad, if the means of production are unethical, or the prices are too high as long as people are willing to pay for it. If millions of people freely choose to buy the companies product, who are you to tell them that they are wrong? This is an impact of the humanism movement on economics. If someone thinks a product is good and will buy it, then it is good. But if someone thinks a product is bad and will not buy it, then it is bad. The customer is always right.

This is how we live in the West and in a lot of other countries as well. It is very easy to understand. What people spend their money on, is what is going to succeed. The company that has profits will always be around while the company that is losing money will be gone soon.

For most people, when it comes to choosing the easy convenient option, or the ethically right option (ethically right in their mind), most people will choose the easy convenient option. But if anyone wants to make a real change in the world, they need to start spending their money on products that are ethical.

It doesn’t matter what you want to change in the world. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint and climate change and, buy less meat, buy an electric car rather than gas cars, or invest in solar. If you want to reduce illegal child labor in the world, stay away from companies like Nestle, H&M, or Forever 21. If you want to protest the NFL, don’t buy jerseys and apparel and turn off the games. If you want to support the NFL players kneeling, buy their jerseys or donate money to their charities.

The point is that one of the easiest ways to make a change is to change the way you spend your money. Think of it like this: Every time you make a purchase, you are essentially voting for the success of that product and company. So the easiest way (in theory) to take down issues caused by companies is to stop giving them your vote (money). If you stop buy certain products and other people follow, the company and the problem caused by the company will soon die.

Just remember the movie Antz and the best quote from the movie. “You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one. And if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life! It’s not about food. It’s about keeping those ants in line.” We have the power to make real change in this world. We just need to realize it.

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