Consuming with a conscience is one of the fastest growing forms of political participation worldwide. Every day we make decisions about how to spend our money and, for the socially conscious, these decisions matter. Political consumers “buy green” for the environment or they “buy pink” to combat breast cancer. They boycott Taco Bell to support migrant workers or Burger King to save the rainforest.
But can we overcome the limitations of consumer identity, the conservative pull of consumer choice, co-optation by corporate marketers, and other pitfalls of consumer activism in order to marshal the possibilities of consumer power? Can we, quite literally, shop for change?
Shopping for Change brings together historical and contemporary perspectives of academics and activists to show readers what has been possible for consumer activists in the past and what might be possible for today’s consumer activists.
Shopping for Change is replete with the documented beliefs that individual and collective political purchasing reduces and redirects the basic reservoir of giant corporate power—the dollars we give them that they use against the people and the planet. Read this book and shop wisely, sometimes shop less, and, increasingly, shop together for your democratic voice.
– Ralph Nader
Shopping for change leaves us thinking deeply about who is responsible, and who should be held accountable, for creating a more suitable future.
– Quill & Quire
Shopping for Change wrestles impressively with the possibilities and obstacles for consumer activism over time. This is important history, but it is also a compelling call to harness the full potential of the consumer marketplace to create a more equitable, democratic society.
– Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America
Is consumer activism a worthwhile endeavour? And, if so, how should it be pursued? The contributors to this volume grapple creatively with these, and many other, important questions. Hyman and Tohill have assembled a wonderful array of engaging and insightful essays that mine the distant and recent past to show us what’s worked, what hasn’t, and why.
– Michael Dawson, Department of History, St. Thomas University
This book could not be more timely. We see in many nations a large number of people reacting badly to their inability to maintain a standard of living they believe they need. Smarter, more active, and more restrained buying is what is called for. This book provides an outstandingly detailed guide for how to proceed.
– Amitai Etizoni, University Professor and author of The New Normal
|Introduction||Shopping for Change
Louis Hyman and Joseph Tohill
|1.||Conscience: The Free Produce Movement in Early America
Michelle Craig McDonald
|2.||Boycotts, Buycotts, and Legislation: Tactical Lessons from Workers and Consumers during the Progressive Era
Wendy Wiedenhoft Murphy
|3.||Making a Market for Consumers: The Calgary Consumers’ League and the High Cost of Living
|4.||Making a Middle Class "Public": Middle-Class Consumer Activism in Post-First World War America
|5.||You Are Purchasing Prosperity! : Local Buying Initiatives and Women as Conscious Consumers in the Great Depression
|6.||Making Money in Hard Times: Scrip and Grassroots Efforts to Solve the Great Depression
|7.||Protecting the "Guinea Pig Children" : Resisting Children’s Food Advertising in the 1930s
|8.||Our Economic Way Out : Black American Consumers' Cooperation in the First Half of the Twentieth Century
|9.||Not Buying It : Reconsidering American Consumer Opposition to Nazi Anti-Semitism
Jeffrey Scott Demsky and Randall Kaufman
|10.||Canada’s Citizen Housewives : Cold War Anti-Communism and the Limits of Maternalism
|11.||The Consumer Goes to War : Consumer Politics in the United States and Canada during the Second World War
|12.||From the Great Society to Giant : Esther Peterson and the Politics of Shopping
|13.||The Countercultural Roots of Green Consumerism
Philip A. Wight
|14.||Purchasing Change : The (Un)Intended Consequences of Biofuel Consumption on the World's Poor
H. Louise Davis
|15.||Buying a Better World : From Cause Marketing to Social Innovation, Can Consumption Create Positive Social Change?
|16.||What About the Cause? : The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Pinkwashing of Breast Cancer Activism
Daniel Faber, Amy Lubitow, and Madeline Brambilla
|17.||The Making of a Coke CAN : Coca-Cola’s Civic Action Network (CAN) and the Seeding of Corporate Astroturf Campaigns, 1995–2015
|18.||Boot the Bell : Solidarity as Strategy in the Neoliberal Era
|19.||Where’s the Beef . . . From? : Boycotting Burger King to Protect Central American Rainforests
|20.||The Sweatshop Effect : Consumer Activism and the Anti-Sweatshop Movement on College Campuses
|21.||Hating Wal-Mart, Loving Target, and the Contradictions of Supply Chain Capitalism
|22.||Ports are the New Factories : Supply Chains and Labour Power in the Twenty-first Century
|23.||To Speak in One Voice : Dynamics of a Cross-Movement Coalition for Financial Reform
Robert N. Mayer and Larry Kirsch