Thursday, May 8, 2008

educate yourselves.

I make fun of the "going green" trend a lot. A lot. But the truth is, our earth is going to melt (or something) if we don't do something about it relatively soon. Small change is still change, and though it will take more than a few canvas Anya Hindmarch bags, we can do something to make a difference.

Today's guest blogger, my dear friend Brian, knows much more about this than I do. Here, educate yourselves: Commodity Fetishism.

Commodity fetishism is a Marxian term used to describe the consumer's relationship with consumables. In capitalist societies, Marx argues, we attribute the value of the commodity to the object itself and
completely discount the labor and resources that went into producing said commodity.

Marx uses commodity fetishism to explain the success of capitalism in general. If we, as consumers, knew about the exploitation of resources and labor, we would be considerably less inclined to buy such items. The success of capitalists lies in their ability to remove the experience of production from the product itself.

Commodity fetishism takes a particularly interesting turn with the current trend of better knowing where our products come from. Beginning in the 1990s, consumers began to demand their tennis shoes be made sweatshop-free, and today we enjoy fair trade coffee and locally produced farm products. Companies market their social responsibility and consumers have responded.

As always, more can be done. We live in the information age where a quick Google search can allow consumers to know exactly where their purchases come from. A general rule of thumb: if social responsibility is not being advertised, it's probably not being done.

Here, for your enjoyment, is my favorite socially responsible outfit, as of late:

Above: We all know--and are constantly reminded--that American Apparel clothes are manufactured in downtown LA. But that certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't support sweatshop-free apparel. They've also got a sustainable t-shirt, which is pretty neat.

Above: Ernest Sewn jeans are made with hand-picked, organic cotton, both of which are eco-friendly.

Above: Though extremely annoying product names and advertisements, you can't deny that Kenneth Cole's corporate social responsibility is pretty good.


Matt said...

HOLY CRAP BRIAN!!!! Your inner thoughts are actually posted to a public sight viewed by others....god help us all!!!

Pretty sweet clothes though

Matt said...

In my true perspective, I must quote a Mr. Gordon Gekko!!!

The richest one percent of this country owns half our country's wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It's bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now you're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you buddy? It's the free market. And you're a part of it. You've got that killer instinct. Stick around pal, I've still got a lot to teach you.

Alana said...

You two should blog together more often!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, Chris here.

Sorry to point this out Brian/Emily, but you've got a bit of a contradiction going on this one. I have to recommend against using a Marxist theory to explain why the free market is inherently exploitive while in the very next paragraph you demonstrate how that same free market allows the everyday consumer to change business practices for the betterment of all.

Meanwhile Marxist theories put to use in China produce kids' toys with roofies in them. Really, isn't that just freaking nuts?