The Social Contract

Last night we watched a couple of documentaries; “No Impact Man: The Documentary” and “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”.

No Impact Man was a decent film, a bit slow in pacing but it seemed to be a relatively honest effort at showing the Beaven family during there one year experiment. While I respect Colin’s efforts, and certainly the fruits that have come from the experiment, it didn’t seem like a very well thought out “experiment”. The project seems to have been born as a whimsical promotional stunt for a documentary and book. In the end though Colin seems to have taken things in a much more serious light and grown personally from the experience.

For anyone interested in reducing their carbon footprint and making a serious commitment to greening up their life No Impact Man is an interesting look at the extreme commitment of the Beaven’s for one year. The movie is available on Netflix instant view.

A movie we watched a while ago that may help with making up your mind about buying locally produced food is “Food Inc” also available on Netflix instant view. This documentary can be harsh at some points in the film but it is a very good look at the industrialization of the food production in the United States and how that has caused some major damage to the food structure and our economy.

The other film we watched last night, you guessed it… on Netflix instant view, was “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price”. This film was obviously made with an agenda but that doesn’t change the core facts of the movie. Wal-Mart is just the biggest example of how large mega-corps are killing the U.S. economy, there are many others who are not much better and are flagrant violators of their contract with society.

I am all for free enterprise but there is a social responsibility that comes with being a huge corporation and when that responsibility is being ignored it is our duty as consumers to remind the bad citizens of that responsibility. Wal-Mart is a big offender because it breaks its social contract in so many ways. Overseas production, unfair competition practices, poor worker compensation, criminal negligence, flagrant disregard of the law, and more. All of these are offences committed by Wal-Mart on a daily basis; any one of them alone should give us pause as to a companies commitment to their social contract, but all of the at once, it is obvious that they don’t care about there societal obligations.

After some time pondering the subject matter and a growing sense of my own neglect of societal obligation, I to propose another experiment…

Take responsibility for getting to know who you buy from. Find out if they are a socially responsible person or company. Try to buy as much of your goods as possible from local merchants and producers. Try whenever possible to buy products and services made in the U.S. While it is almost impossible today to buy only products stamped Made In The U.S.A., make your best effort, if given the choice between two products chose the one that contributes more to the U.S. economy.

Change can only be made if we commit to using the power we have, the one thing businesses of any size need, customers money. When we chose the mega-corps small businesses die, when we chose local merchants we give power back to the community.

Motivation should be the word lurking in the back of your mind, “What is this guy’s motivation?” Well here it is, I want to see the American economy improve in a sustainable structure and the only way that will happen is if there is a resurgence of an endangered species, The American Small Business. Without small community business the economy will continue to collapse. That is my motivation.

My commitment to you is to take responsibility and do everything I can to buy locally and support the local economy and help regrow American Small Business.

* As of today I am going to stop buying from mega-corps and seek out local merchants to buy goods from.
* As of today I am going to get to know who I do business with and find out if they are keeping to their social contract.

Will you join me and take up the challenge?