Moral Licensing

  • Thinking within the framework of expected value, it is worth it for consumers to support their values by delibaretely choosing what they buy
  • Moral licensing is when people to do just a bit of good to feel good about themselves
    • It shows that people are often more concerned about looking and feeling good (their status as a good human) than actually doing good
    • Moral licensing can keep us from actually solving problems
  • Sweatshops aren’t that bad
    • The reason there’s such widespread support among economists for sweatshops is that low-wage, labor-intensive manufacturing is a stepping-stone that helps an economy based around cash crops develop into an industrialized, richer society. During the Industrial Revolution, for example, Europe and America spent more than one hundred years using sweatshop labor, emerging with much higher living standards as a result. It took many decades to pass through this stage because the technology to industrialize was new, and the twentieth century has seen countries pass through this stage of development much more rapidly because the technology is already in place.

  • Fairtraide doesn’t work
      1. Fairtrade standards are difficult to meet
      • So when buying fairtrade, usually, you aren’t giving money to the poorest people in the world who cannot afford Fairtrade certificates
        • For example, the majority of Fairtrade coffee comes from countries like Mexico or Costa Rica
      1. Higher cost of Fairtrade products doesn’t directly translate to higher wages of the farmers who work for the organizations
    • Instead of buying Fairtrade, it would be more effecctive to buy cheaper goods and donate the saved money to cost-effective charities