Boycotts

With all the talk this summer about boycotting Arizona, the PC(USA) boycotting Caterpillar and personally I have stopped buying gas at BP. Does boycotting really work and what constitutes a boycott?

Question 1:
I have heard it argued that boycotting bp stations does not matter because it is detrimental to the local station owner not the multinational corporation. Is this just a “big oil” strategy to keep me using my bp visa card because I feel my actions are inconsequential? Isn't a fundamental of the free market that if the consumer stops buying the product that will force the company to reconsider it's actions? Yet are these companies so sheltered from the consumer by layers of franchisees and distributors that the consumer no longer has any meaningful influence?
Question 2:
Does it count if I boycott a product that I have never purchased? If i have never bought product x but have then learned about questionable practices-does the fact that I will not buy their water for ethical reasons matter? Or am I simply bandwagon-boycotting?

One thought on “Boycotts

  1. I have heard that in certain cases (like boycotts of Disneyland and Movies like “the Last Temptation of Christ” only brings more publicity and curiosity. So I guess it depends on the boycott. Sometimes any press and attention is good for curtain mediums. It is a tough call…I want to only support companies that pay decent wages to its workers (manufacturing, clothing lines, coffee) because in other countries were they are produced they work in slave labor environments, but at the same time I can't really afford $15 a pound for coffee and $20 dollar t-shirts.

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