consumer boycotts

Apparently a bunch of consumers associations here are threatening to boycott companies that move production out of Catalonia.

  1. Aren’t consumers associations meant to defend the rights of consumers, irrespective of product provenance, and not of workers?
  2. If they have decided that it is legitimate to act as part-time trade unions, have they considered what impact raising the cost of deinvestment will have on companies currently thinking of investing here?

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Comments

  1. I think you’re missing the point. They want lower foreign investment because less jobs means more support for radical political alternatives.

  2. Trevor,

    This happens everywhere… Americans say: “Buy American”… I dont know about the Dutch, but I’m sure they say something similar. In the end, This has little effect. People will still buy samsung. As Americans buys toyotas or whatever.

    Geoff,

    Instead of saying “stupidities”, you could enlighten us about the benefits of Globalisation.

  3. I think that, apart from populist spasms like Bush’s over steel, people have generally given up Buy [insert nationality here]-type campaigns and protectionism in general because they are completely counter-productive:

    1) Attempts by the state to legislate people into buying from the local market are incredibly stupid. Protectionism in Catalonia in the nineteenth century led to the bourgeoisie getting rich, their businesses getting inefficient, and consumers getting a lousy deal. When they were eventually forced to compete in open markets post-Cuba they failed and society exploded.

    2) Campaigns to persuade people to include the distance travelled by products in their purchase decisions are cool in principal but rarely work. International collaboration on stuff like kerosene taxation could make this happen, but it looks pretty unlikely at the moment.

    3) Campaigns to boycott companies if they leave just make it more unlikely that anyone will want to come here to provide new jobs.

    If we can’t make cars or lightbulbs better and cheaper than the Chinese or the Slovaks, we either need to find a way of doing so or get out of those markets. I think it’s a demonstration of how bad CiU industrial policy was (and I’m not saying Madrid did much better) that this all seems to have come as such a big surprise.

  4. Er … I think Trevor just did a good job. It’s good for everyone except for the stupid and the lazy.

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