How to Bargain and Be against Modern Slavery

Dear OzBargain

I'm curious about people's ethical view about Bargain Hunting.

Do you care about how products, including it's raw material are sourced?
Do you care about Last mile logistics, including those working the in gig economy for UberEats / MenuLog as riders and drivers.

Promotion and Price is are two important Ps in the classic marketing mix, which has made Bargain hunting almost a competitive sport.

So, are you indifferent to how things get here, and how workers are treated?

Or would you like to support a fair and equitable bargain hunting.

Asked whilst I'm sipping my single-origin ethically sourced almond latte in an eco cup; in some hipster Outer Sydney suburb somewhere in the comfort of my privileged life..

Comments

  • +14 votes

    Do you care about Last mile logistics, including those working the in gig economy for UberEats / MenuLog as riders and drivers?

    Does me not using UberEats helps the ubereats driver more?

    • +5 votes

      No right or wrong answer here.
      But it's not quite min wage after outgoings afaik
      And not a lot of protection if he gets knocked over whilst on a bike in metro areas.

      • +1 vote

        It has to be profitable for the business too though I think. As it is, UberEats is still not profitable (I think? I could be wrong).

        I'm wondering where the money would come from as well. Should Uber charge the resturant more, and then that gets transferred to the customers, then less people would use ubereats, then less job for the drivers and potentially less pay? Not sure how you'd fix the issue without screwing everybody over.

        I personally think its up to you. If you drive for uber and believe that works for you, then go ahead, and if it doesn't find something else to do.

      •  

        If everyone stopped supporting lower than minimum wage jobs so they go out of business and only proper jobs exist.

        A large percentage of those workers will have no job. Is that better?

        • +2 votes

          OP is specifically about ethics

          Get berated for talking about ethics

          Maybe this isn't the right thread for you to participate in

          Edit - the above comment is no longer relevant as chchnu stealth updated their post - before the edit they'd posted something along the lines of 'i don't care enough about your ethics to read your thesis'

          •  

            @dinna89: No stealth, i edit before u comment. If you coment 1st I can't edit

            •  

              @Chchnu: I'll disagree with you, it was definitely a stealth edit, you've written one thing then completely changed it with no record of the original post, generally seen as poor form

              https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stealth_edit

              • +2 votes

                @dinna89: never heard of that term before, pretty cool term / useful in this day and age.

                On the topic, I was under the impression that uber charges / profits off the restaurants more than the other delivery companies?

      •  

        You can leave the driver a tip, to raise the price to something you feel is more fair. Having said this I don’t like tips as a long term solution, I’d rather higher fees and riders being properly employed. Perhaps using Menulog and restaurants own drivers better supports this goal.

  • +7 votes

    If you don't have a car, then you don't have much of a choice but to use Uber Eats if the restaurant you like only delivers through them. It's very sad that the drivers don't make much money, meanwhile Uber Eats takes 30% of the sale revenue on top of the delivery fee. If the average small corner restaurant makes half a million in revenue a year and they would like all their orders processed through a website or webapp, then that's $150,000 a year in fees. Any small businesses own merchant account could probably process all their online payments for less than 1.5%. Is the Uber Eats platform really worth 28.5% of your entire online ordering revenue?

    But if you don't have a car, what are you going to do, catch a bus up to get some takeaway food?

    • +2 votes

      I would like to have transparency into the fees.
      I.e. How much does menu log make. How much is the restaurant making, how much does the driver make.

      Off a $40 order the platform. Clipping 10%is reasonable, $5 to the driver. $30 to the restaurant. I guess tax everyone has to pay their portion of GST.

      • +1 vote

        I think market forces will drive the fee down in the future. 30% is tasty, 20% will be too for a competitor, then 10%, then 5%. The technology providers will keep undercutting each other, as long as Menulog and Uber eats don’t reach monopoly status first.

        • +1 vote

          I was listening to a podcast. ABC RN iirc, speaking to someone with knowledge of food delivery speaking of the options of restaurants can get food delivered to consumers. It basically cost an average of $7 per meal to deliver to a consumer, just purely from a delivery perspective. Take into account the merchant fees and marketing and you can make up your own mind about the true cost.

          So I don’t think it will drive as low as 5% or 10%. But it’ll be great to see the competitive forces drive down restaurant costs, coz they honestly run on very slim margins. They truely buy into the hope by being on a platform drives up additional sales, a very questionable prospective IMHO.

          •  

            @cloudy: But Uber Eats and Menulog charge 30% plus the delivery fee, usually $6-9. These aren't drivers for one store, they are all devoted drivers on the road all the time so it probably works out less than $7 per delivery for Uber/Menulog for most areas. Thinking of menus I've seen in my life, yeah a lot of small businesses did offer free delivery if you order a certain amount, so in those cases the margins are smaller but they sell more stuff, plus they might not have made the sale at all without that offer. And they have to pay someone to take a credit card number over the phone, or to wait for someone to tap and pay, or to collect cash on delivery and give change. And if they had their own website they would have to pay someone to make it and set up and babysit their payment processing and basic product categories and stuff, on top of needing to hire their own drivers. Better that than be beholden to whatever Menulog and UberEats decides to do in the future imo. But I don't own a restaurant, so what do I really care about all of this stuff I cannot control. Do I actually care if I have to pay 30% more for my takeaway food, would I even notice?

        •  

          Not sure it will be driven down that much. UberEats is not profitable as it is.

          •  

            @buckethat: Cars will be driving themselves soon enough.

            •  

              @AustriaBargain: We'll probably get that through the parliament 5+ years after they're approved in the US for commercial use.

    • +1 vote

      You forgot the delivery part….. processing online for 1.5% does magically deliver your food for you.

      You may have to hire 4 or 5 delivery people which costs more than 150k

    • +1 vote

      I recently learned that a friend of mine was doing UberEats alongside his part time retail job.

      He earned more than his retail job while working fewer hours. If delivery demand was high enough to justify working 40 hours per week on the app, he'd be making surprisingly good money.

      The pay isn't great, but it seems comparable to a basic retail job (whether or not that needs to be higher is another question).

    • +1 vote

      Pretty sure Uber doesn't make money anyway so it's all a galactic waste of time, energy and money.

      • +1 vote

        Not if they end up with a monopoly. Even if they losing money now, if Uber Eats and Menulog have a monopoly over all restaurant online ordering, and the only ordering system in general for little guys, then it would be impossible to not make serious cash off that. Like Amazon when they were posting loss after loss each year while building their monopoly and were the biggest joke on Wallstreet. Now Amazon gobbles up other companies on Wallstreet like the shark from Jaws and has enough money to do anything it wants.

  • +3 votes

    I started to use an app called Shop Ethical, until i started to know too much about certain products which made it harder for me to decide available alternatives. Now i don't bother using it.

    •  

      Ok great feedback, really appreciate it

    • +4 votes

      I’m the same with Nestle. I can’t boycott half my pantry.

      • +2 votes

        Look up baby milk formula in Africa and Nestle. You will lose all faith in humanity.

        •  

          I did years ago. Then I looked up that all my favourite chocolates and snacks were also made by nestle. I did join the boycott nestle group on Facebook at least, maybe I’ll encourage others to follow through?

  • +2 votes

    OP, heard about nestle and what they own?

    •  

      Yes. Have worked in FMCG and hate the absolute gaslighting that goes on.

  • +6 votes

    Asked whilst I'm sipping my single-origin ethically sourced almond latte in an eco cup; in some hipster Outer Sydney suburb somewhere in the comfort of my privileged life..

    If you know where everything comes from and who would be suffering to get the goods to you, you'd be living in a wooden hut built from savaged materials and driving rain water out of a self made wooden bowl (again from salvaged wood).

    •  

      Lol I get that there's limits to it.
      But the government is making this law and I question the credibility of their due diligence and its tokenism..

    • +19 votes

      "I trust that this workers are happy to accept the conditions provided at the time of their interview and are free to leave at any time"

      This is the naivety at the central core of the problem (otherwise known as begging the question). If you assume the employers are fair and honest and don't exploit worker desperation ignorance, poverty etc, then you're going to 'prove' to yourself there's nothing wrong (because the employers are so fair and honest).

      This isn't a personal attack on you, tsunamisurfer, just on the wilful ignorance of people in privilege (e.g. Joe Hockey's solution to people having problems affording their first home being "get a good job that pays good money", or Gina Rinehart actually arguing for $2 a day wages in Africa, which is a lot closer to the spirit of your comment).

      • +3 votes

        I think your claim of naivety is based on paternalism.
        There may well be examples of forced labour somewhere in the production chain for various Australian goods, but absent that who am I to tell a worker in an underdeveloped country how much they should sell their labour for, or how much an employer should pay?
        How is it exploitation to pay a worker the sum that they willingly agree to?
        The global nature of our economy means that work goes where it can be performed at the best level for the best price. That provides employment and opportunities.
        Is a worker better off having a higher rate of pay and no work, or a lower rate of pay and work?
        There are numerous examples of countries that were low-paid and have gradually become higher paid - as well as some examples going through that transition now.
        What I consider to be slave wages may afford a moderate standard of living in some places.
        I don't think it is the role of white saviours in the first world to protect those in the third. They are perfectly capable of looking after their own interests.

        • +10 votes

          It's exploitation to pay a worker the sum that they willingly agree to if there's an imbalance of power as part of the negotiation process (e.g. they're a child making sweatshoes for Nike and don't know better, there's no other employers or opportunities in their (remote) region, or a thousand other things).

          Australia and East Timor signed an agreement for oil and gas in the Timor Sea that showcases what happens when there's this sort of imbalance, if you want a topical reference, I guess.

          I'm frankly not sure why there's a mental disconnect on this. Are people assuming that because an offer has been accepted, it had to have been fair in the first place? This is more circular reasoning (see prior post).

          Alright, let's bring this home to make sure we all understand the concept of how someone could agree to something that is unfair to them.

          It's midnight, it's pouring rain in the city, there's no other people or traffic around, and with your mobile phone's last 3% you manage to book an Uber.

          The car arrives and your phone literally dies as you show the driver it, commenting on what a lifesaver he is "Ha ha, look, literally just died then, whew, thanks buddy".

          The driver locks the doors before you can get in, winds the window down a crack and says "$200 cash extra on top of booking fee, wet customer fee. Slip the notes through the window or no ride".

          The driver didn't create the rain (or your terrible phone charging situation) and yet there you are, sitting at the negotiation table with no leverage. Are you going to willingly agree to pay him the extra $200 or stand there in the rain and let him drive off, stranding you? Those are your two options.

          We don't need to think so hard on this. Is it possible to be exploited by someone who is more powerful than you? That's what we're asking here. We're not saying "Every powerful person exploits those less powerful" or any other absolute statements.

          • +3 votes

            @CrowReally: Do you consider ubereats exploitation?

            • +6 votes

              @ozhunter: You're missing the point. Moral/ethical discussions are about where in a person's conscience they drew the line for, well, ethical behaviour or not. It's specific to them. You're not going to 'gotcha' me into a position where I contradict a known fact - you're just going to discover where I've drawn my line.

              Personally I think the entire gig economy has massive problems of exploitation (but I also think these are older problems than smart phones - bike couriers have been "contractors" instead of employees for decades now). I could say a lot of things about what I feel are wrong about the gig economy, and you might agree with all, some or none of what I say. Shrug?

              There are OzBargainers who don't care about chickens' welfare and buy cage eggs because they are cheaper.
              There are OzBargainers who do care about chickens' welfare but have decided not to address it by paying a higher amount (they use other means to communicate their thoughts)
              And there are OzBargainers who do care about chickens' welfare and make a point of paying a higher amount for barn laid or free range eggs.

              They don't agree with each other, but none of them are wrong.

          • +4 votes

            @CrowReally: The analogy is inapt as there are many things I could have done to avoid the situation in the first place, and the terms of use of Uber prohibiting such conduct by drivers,, but let's go with it.
            I wouldnt think the driver was being exploitative. In such a situation I would be free to choose whether to accept the ride, or not. You could just as easily claim that surge pricing is exploitative.
            Who is to say what the 'fair' price is for transport in such a situation. The fairest measure is the price set by a willing provider of transport, and a willing buyer of such transport.
            I could wait for the next vehicle, I could walk, or I could take the offered deal.
            No-one is forcing me to accept the conditions. It would be a perfectly free transaction.

            • +6 votes

              @Almost Banned: The analogy was purely to demonstrate how through no fault of your own, a power imbalance can arise that will result in you not being able to deal fairly with someone in an "agreement". I'll remind you also that we are discussing ethics, not legality [so Uber's terms of use are not relevant - not that would have given much respite. Spoiler alert: The analogy would comfortably accept the original agreement between you and the driver being silent on customer wetness, and so an additional binding agreement is formed legally on the spot].

              Whether or not you accept an offer doesn't mean it is (or isn't) exploitative. "I choose not to take the only ride available" doesn't mean being asked to pay an extra $200 was a fair offer. And that's because it wasn't, and you know this. The logic is broken - as long as you're allowed to refuse the only offer someone makes to you, that offer was definitely a fair one? How would that even work?

              For the same reason PS5 scalpers aren't doing the moral thing, you're entitled to the view that "it's a free market" excuses price gouging - I don't think OzB will feature much sympathy for that line of thought, however.

              Also, adding additional options to the scenario is disingenuous if you're playing along with the analogy on those terms. The bigger discussion about whether third world individuals are being exploited by agreements with the first world isn't solved by saying "Well, what if they weren't born in the third world, let's assume they're also in the first world, or at least the second".

              "No one held a gun to their/my head, so it has to be a fair offer" is scraping the bottom of the barrel. It's among the lies people tell themselves to justify a result they know on some level isn't "right". It's right there with "Maybe my cat likes it when I hold her front paws and make her dance on her hind legs". I mean, who's to say she definitely doesn't? But deep down, you know, and you tell yourself that right after each time you do it and she runs off to hide under the bed.

              • +1 vote

                @CrowReally: Not being nice is not the same as being exploitative.
                You are free to be nice, or not. No one is stopping you. The issue is when you try to impose your idea of niceness on other countries and their marketplaces.

          • +1 vote

            @CrowReally: I dont think that example is particularly unfair.

            I do think forced labour and corporatism is unfair.

          •  

            @CrowReally: If I'm stuck in the rain with no battery on my phone I would probably offer people 200 to get me home. It now seems "exploitative" to you because of the comparison (while you had alternatives, the 200 seems like a bad deal).

            As you said, people will have to judge whats the best they can get from the situation they find themselves in. There's probably a middle ground somewher in all of this but at the end of the day, you're the one who decides if you want to remain standing in the rain.

            • -1 vote

              @cadwalader: No. What you've decided you're probably comfortable offering in a negotiation has nothing to do with the appropriateness of the offer that was made to you. Amend the above example until the Uber driver is asking something extra that you wouldn't want to do [sex? naming rights of first born? an additional $7?] — there we go — now that's an example of how someone is using a power imbalance to exploit your weakness.

              I like that even in this made up situation people are comfortable adding small cheats of extra options for themselves ("Oh, I'd get a ride in another car" and "Actually, I'm fine with paying that additional not-previously-disclosed-or-agreed-upon amount") when if you're letting yourself cheat, you might as well go big and say "I wave my magic wand and the rain stops, my clothes dry instantly, and then I'm teleported home - that's the option I would choose, checkmate Crow".

              • +1 vote

                @CrowReally: Ok Crow, you win. I secretly am more comfortable walking 15kms home in the rain. It's not like that can't be done right?

                • -2 votes

                  @cadwalader: That made me chuckle, have an upvote for having the outright cheek to continue to add options to my example… but why make yourself walk the whole 15kms? Wouldn't it be easier to just walk 1 km? "Hey Crow, it turns out my home was only 1 km away and I'm fine with walking ten minutes in the rain, try and pick a better example next time, doofus".

                  To end this discussion just in case any other "no, that other stuff wasn't part of the original scenario, and $200 isn't that bad, so yeah, the Uber driver didn't do anything wrong" bros show up:

                  Anyone who thinks it's fine to have a sudden $200 cost dropped on them without recourse can transfer that exact amount to my PayPal account as the fee for reading this sentence, cheers. You'll prove my point invalid by making that payment.

                  •  

                    @CrowReally: Walking home in the rain was part of the scenario no? There is no one exploitation there.

                    I didn't say the Uber driver did nothing wrong. It's definitely against the terms of service because the ride was requested through the app.

                    Why would transferring money to you invalidate your point? That's completely irrelevant. I get absolutely nothing in return. Maybe you can save me the next time I'm stuck in the rain without a phone.

                    •  

                      @cadwalader: The entire scenario has been created as analogous to explain the concept that when there's a power imbalance during a negotiation process, the "Agreement" reached by both parties could be exploitative. This entire thread was started because people were fighting that concept. "How could someone who agreed to work for an employer be working for an amount that's less than what they actually want? Why don't they just go and get a good job somewhere else like Joe Hockey suggested?" and so on. I made the Uber example because it's easier to convey than "Some people don't have the same mobility/employment options you have". Well, I thought it was easier.

                      Sigh.

                      We're not discussing the ethics of breaking the terms of service agreement, either. It's your word against his, so maybe the Uber driver will get into trouble later with his boss [well, not his 'boss', bosses are for employed people, Uber drivers are independent contractors, they probably call it something different like App Customer Service Management Officer Who Deletes Contactor's Accounts If They Break The Rules], but like the legality of what he's doing, that's not what we're discussing here.

                      We're discussing the ethics of the Uber driver making the $200 additional fee up on the spot when he discovers you can't book another Uber/taxi/car service. He's just dropped a $200 fee on you solely because he can, and there's nothing you can do about it right now. Tomorrow with a phone with a fresh battery you'll no doubt attempt revenge when you notify the A.C.S.M.O.W.D.C.A.I.T.B.T.R, but the question is: when he realised there was nothing you could do about it, was it ethical to charge you additional amounts as part of the (new) agreement?

                      Mental gymnasts are treating this like it's a brain teaser or something ("What if I walked half the distance, and I also had a spare charger for my phone, and on the walk I found $50 on the ground, Crow?"). I don't know what they think is going to happen, I'm going to say "Yes, because you went off and did that, you have shown the Uber guy acted responsibly"? That an actual Uber driver will show up and give them a logic coupon? A third option that makes no sense?

                      At this stage Crow retired to the pavillion looking tired but dignified.

                      Merry Christmas, OzBargainers. Keep those phones charged.

                      •  

                        @CrowReally: Your analogy essentially boils down to people being presented with two options with a trade-off in between. Whichever one is slightly better is entirely subjective but because they are different, one is inevitably better because of choice and preference. That's removing the mental gymnastics and all that right?

                        Workers would always pick the slightly better option for their subjective preference regardless.

                        The issue here is that power imbalance exists in the first ppace and I agree that's terrible. How do you propose ozbargainers solve that?

                        •  

                          @cadwalader: I'm not here advocating some sort of political action to combat these problems. That would be noble of me, but I'm actually fighting a more troubling battle.

                          I'm purely here to prove that they exist, because people are saying "Oh, they aren't a literal slave and/or there's an employment agreement, so that means they aren't being exploited, it's impossible they're being treat unethically" and so on. That's why I jumped into Reply mode and added ten years onto my life.

                          So yeah, just telling people choosing to use logical fallacies to ignore problems that they're factually wrong.

                          I'm not handwringing and telling economic edgelords "Please don't say mean things like you don't care what third world workers earn", I'm telling them "Saying the problem is a matter of choice ("get a better job") or doesn't exist ("they're getting paid something") is an ignorant take".

          • +2 votes

            @CrowReally: "I'm frankly not sure why there's a mental disconnect on this."

            • Troll, or grew up in some bubble world where everything was made available to them, and believes everyone has the same opportunities.

            Not worth the time to respond to people like that, just call them out for the troll they are and move on with your day

            •  

              @Shacktool:

              Troll, or grew up in some bubble world where everything was made available to them, and believes everyone has the same opportunities.

              Au contraire, I grew up in a country (non-western) constantly under pressure from American economic imperialism. That nobody has the same opportunity is a fact we all grew up with and it was something we had to fight tooth and nail against 7,000 million people for. It is something we were reminded of every single day (if you slack off, the Americans will send your jobs elsewhere, keep training so foreigners are inclined to invest, learn more languages so you'll be able to bridge the gap between your bosses and the people who might replace you, should I take this job to shift this factory to another country so I can feed my family). The challenges we have had to go through to improve our lives is nothing Australians will understand.

              Were we being exploited? Depends on how you look at it. We weren't paid as well as the Americans in USD value and we had a worse work life balance for awhile. The Americans held on to many cards but their complacency slowly gave them away. The outsourced work significantly improved our quality of life. It allowed us to trade our relatively unskilled labour on the global market to bring goods we would have not been able to develope and manufacture ourselves. It provided training which we slowly used to snatch more and more work and investment from America and eventually Europe. It allowed us to develop our industrial base to climb from low-value high-labour primary/secondary industries to more highly skilled and comfortable tertiary/quartenary industries. Without being attractive to manufacturing investment in the first place, we would have never been able to improve our lives with technology and skills developed/discovered in other wealthier countries.

              I am intimately familiar with the situation you think you're describing (I'm not sure how many others really do). However, you're trying to address/point out the symptom which doesn't help anyone but perhaps makes you feel better about yourself being the more enlightened conscienable person pointing out the flaws in people's logic/ethics as they try to improve their lives.

              If you tell me, global inequality is terrible, lets bring down the system that forces people to compete with each other in order to improve their quality of life then I'm fully behind this. Otherwise, within the current system that we have, the workers absolutely have choices. It is either subsistence or competiting on the global market and they have clearly made their decision. Some may have more than others and many are left with only a few but they are choices none-the-less and I'd argue that giving them more opportunities rather than less, actually increases the choices they have. This isn't a problem because that is the only opportunity they're going to get in this current system, treating the symptom as a problem actually takes away their choices rather than improve their lives (unless they prefer subsistence?). I'm not sure what we as individuals to combat this system but right now, the only way to improve our lives is to compete harder.

              •  

                @cadwalader: "I am intimately familiar with the situation you think you're describing (I'm not sure how many others really do). However, you're trying to address/point out the symptom which doesn't help anyone but perhaps makes you feel better about yourself being the more enlightened conscienable person pointing out the flaws in people's logic/ethics as they try to improve their lives."

                You have the wrong end of the stick here. I was responding to a person who said exploitation couldn't exist under capitalism/everyone has the same opportunities, Superannuation's comment is the person either is willingly acting ignorant or they haven't had the life experience to understand how wrong their comment was. If anything, we're the closest responders in this thread to your take on this.

                I don't think that you're right saying my pointing out the shitposter's argument flaws doesn't help anyone (hopefully they learn something about perspective and privilege (likely not), or readers of this whole train wreck develop thoughts on the matter (marginally more likely)).

                The charge that this doesn't address the overall problems in the system is largely irrelevant (benignly, letting the perfect be the enemy of the good won't fix things - even if I typed up a Wot I Reckon 20,000 word manifesto on how to fix these issues, there isn't a button on the website that then prints copies to be distributed to the UN and enacted).

                Rather than draft up the worldwide plan to fix capitalism [and probably make some mistakes, because if we're being honest here, I haven't actually got a lot of experience implementing global macroeconomic reform], I used my time to ping trolls/ignorant people (You Decide!) pedalling garbage level fallacies.

                I agree with you about the larger level problems (and thank you for sharing your experience here), but I don't have enough knolwedge to honestly address that problem, so it wouldn't be fruitful to try.

                •  

                  @CrowReally: But what you're suggesting (if I haven't got that wrong) is that the problem is companies "exploiting" the power imbalance. Solving that problem = stopping companies from "exploiting" the power imbalance and under current systems (because we're not changing it), this is detrimental to workers who want to improve their lives (and the lives of their children) as through the global economy. This actually takes away their agency and prevents them from leveraging their competitive advantages to grab a share of the quality of life improvements on the global market. Let them make their own choices. Babying them isn't going to help.

                  I would love for all of them to be paid like Australians but because they lack the tech, education and resource base to be reasonably competitive under the current system, there will be no incentive for any work to go to them. In this case, they wouldn't even get paid at all because the global investments will just not touch them. This all makes for a nice touching story that no one is exploited but at the same time, do all of them really just want to be subsistence farmers with an even worse quality of life?

              •  

                @cadwalader: I was more referring to the comments by Almost Banned. Nevertheless I don't feel you prove your point because you started in poverty. How did you get out, while millions of your countrymen are still living in poverty? Is there not some luck involved?

                The end point of globalism is to make us all as poor as the country you came from. I understand there is always a 'choice' - the workers can leave the factory and return to their family plot to wither away the rest of their lives living hand to mouth. I don't call that a choice.

                I don't think that by calling out brands that act 'unethically' we are simply taking jobs away from the poor. Western brands do have some clout to push for better working conditions in the supply chain. That is the only realistic goal of a boycott

                •  

                  @Shacktool: You are absolutely wrong about the end point of globalism.
                  Any chart showing global poverty will show you that it has nose-dived in the post war era. In fact, for most people their personal experience would quickly show that their standard of living is much higher now that just a few decades ago.
                  The end point of globalism is to make stuff available to the most people at the cheapest price. And it has been pretty successful at that so far, while also lifting millions out of poverty.

    • +5 votes

      I trust that this workers are happy to accept the conditions provided at the time of their interview and are free to leave at any time.

      Are you aware of the concept of bonded labour? Pretty sure there is no interview for that. Nor freedom to leave.

      I’m not saying my buying habits are ethically perfect but

      I don’t care in the slightest

      😞?

      Surely everyone should draw the line somewhere once aware and at the very least ‘care’

      • +1 vote

        Yeah seriously, what a selfish prick to think that way and actually come here touting their shitty views as if they’re some enlightened genius. Really disappointing to see people who had all the opportunities to be well educated in such a beautiful first world country as Australia hold such ridiculous views.

  •  

    This is the naivety at the central core of the problem (otherwise known as begging the question). If you assume the employers are fair and honest and don't exploit worker desperation ignorance, poverty etc, then you're going to 'prove' to yourself there's nothing wrong (because the employers are so fair and honest).

    That is my starting point, presumption of innocence, yes.

    If you have evidence that the workers are shackled by the neck, whipped, starved, threatened physically if they wish to find alternative employment, please table said evidence. I am happy to boycott products by companies who don't allow their workers employment mobility.

    This isn't a personal attack on you, tsunamisurfer, just on the wilful ignorance of people in privilege

    This ignorance cuts both ways.

    Many assume they are poor = they are being oppressed and exploited if they aren't getting paid the Australian minimum wage.

    If you applied the Australian minimum wage to those countries / industries, you will simply kill those jobs as no one would buy from there due to the cost.

    Employment and economic activity is good for them and helps lift them from said poverty you find so appalling.

    • +2 votes

      "Presumption of innocence" is a loaded term (it's used in discussions of whether someone's committed a crime or not). This could be a criminal discussion as well (if you're deciding actual chain-on-collar slavery needs to be in place before something can be wrong in an employment arrangement, which is a weird take all on its own), but it's primarily a moral/ethical discussion - read OP's first sentence again.

      Exploiting an imbalance of power (due to desperation, ignorance, etc) is a moral issue, and that's what they (and I) were discussing.

      None of this discussion has been about whether actual slavery and physical abuse has happened (so you don't need to ask me to provide evidence of that to support my argument).

      Likewise, nowhere did I say something like "Everyone in the world should be getting paid the Australian wage", so you don't need to tell me that they shouldn't to refute my point.

      Pay attention to what's being said, discuss same with merit, win prizes.

      If we narrowed the discussion down to purely being if people were being paid enough, you seem to be saying "There's no way they should be getting Australian wages" [perhaps true, lower cost of life over there, I get that aspect], but also a subtle little "whatever they're getting is enough". And there we have the problem. You're assuming they're getting paid a fair amount, to prove that the subsequent "employment and economic activity is good for them". This is begging the question. If you assume a fair employment arrangement in place, you've proven to yourself a fair employment arrangement is in place.

  • +3 votes

    Its simple…Price. Its a dog eat dog world, and all I care about is its effect on me. I will always buy the cheapest as long as it isn't an inferior quality.
    I do wonder if a company like Amazon, beating everybody's prices, may have a long lasting effect on the bricks and mortar store. But how is that any different to Coles/Woolies undercutting the local bakery/butcher/green grocer to the point where few exist now….. Convenience and price will always win out and we are kidding ourselves if we think differently….

  •  

    How do I neg a forum post? Asking for a friend..

    • +2 votes

      Ask something critical and see if the mod closes the debate from users bashing each other.

      Out of morbid curiosity. Why the neg. Just wondering if there is a sense of indifference. Or do people want to bargain ethically and sustainably in a race to the bottom for price.

      •  

        The mods here don't seem to appreciate the difference between discussing behaviour that could be illegal, and engaging in behaviour that could be illegal.

    • +3 votes

      Probs don’t respond to a topic that you’re not interested in and leave it for those who are 🤷‍♀️

      • -1 vote

        Who said I'm not interested? I've already stated my opinion.

  •  

    but it's primarily a moral/ethical discussion - read OP's first sentence again.

    I have read it but my focus was to the question of my indifference to the workers' treatment.

    also a subtle little "whatever they're getting is enough". And there we have the problem. You're assuming they're getting paid a fair amount, to prove that the subsequent "employment and economic activity is good for them". This is begging the question. If you assume a fair employment arrangement in place, you've proven to yourself a fair employment arrangement is in place.

    Enough is a subjective term as is fair, let's call it whatever they are getting is the prevailing market rate agreed by both parties. If the prospective employee does not want to engage at that rate, another will happily step in.

    Employment and economic activity is good for them, that doesn't need to be proven, it is self evident. Ask them if they'd rather work the T-shirt factory or have no work and see the factory moved to Laos or Vietnam, the answer would be easy to guess.

    My assumptions are there because I have seen no evidence that that they are bound to that workplace forcefully. If the factory refuses to pay the agreed wages the workers would simply leave to go to another place. I am happy to change my stance if there is evidence of practices in place that stop mobility.

    • +1 vote

      I'm not going to go round 2 with you because you're still baking that same circular reasoning into your arguments ["In answer to whether they are getting paid fairly in spite of a power imbalance, let us assume the prevailing rate is fair.." and so on]. I mean, employment and economic activity is good no matter what the pay rate (set by the person in the position of power) is, right? You're free to work in any factory you choose, comrade, at the prevailing rate? Is that capitalism or communism, again? Would it really be that different?

      If you're really that keen on this whole 'the market will regulate' thing, I'd recommend reading some Ayn Rand. It's not for everyone, but I think you'd like it.

      • +2 votes

        You keep going on about a power imbalance like it is wielded as an axe over the worker.

        If Factories B and C are offering A$2 / hour and Factory A offers A$1 / hour, workers will simply avoid A and go work for B and C.

        Doesn't matter how big the factory is or how 'powerful' the manager is.

        So long as the worker has free choice and Factory B and C's has vacancies, Factory A will be vacant.

        • +2 votes

          Alright, now let's say there's only 3 factories in this tiny, third world town, those are the pay rates the Factory Owners have set as the 'prevailing market rates', … and it costs $32 a day per person to live [because the town is so remote, fresh food in refridgerated trucks costs more to ship in, medicine is scarce and so on].

          No workers can afford to work at Factory A [which promptly shuts, OK], and now workers get the choice to work 16 hour shifts at either Factory B or C for their subsistence wage. And they do so, willingly! Yay, 16 hour days forever, with no savings, until they die! The market works!

          And before you say "Well, you set the cost of living too high", the cost of living is set by the external factors ["This tomato costed $8 to get here, I'm not discounting it"]. The earning ability is set by the Factory Owners, and they've set it too low and deliberately. Why? Because they can, that's why. Third world workers don't bung a C.V. on LinkedIn or join the gig economy - they aren't going anywhere. The factory owners have them exactly where they want them, and they're not leaving any time soon.

          No chains, no whips. Just the free market and an imbalance of power.
          And before you write this off as just a theoretical discussion, go off and read the Wikipedia page of United Fruit Company. If you thought Nike and the children making sneakers was bad, wait until you see what the free market let Chiquita bananas do. It's frankly stomach turning.

          • +3 votes

            @CrowReally:

            No workers can afford to work at Factory A [which promptly shuts, OK],

            Is there a reason why Factory A doesn't just increase their offer? Why would you build a Factory just to shut it down?

            and now workers get the choice to work 16 hour shifts at either Factory B or C for their subsistence wage. And they do so, willingly! Yay, 16 hour days forever, with no savings, until they die! The market works!

            Yes. Keep in mind before these factories, they had nothing. Ask them, would you rather have nothing and squalor or earn a living wage?

            And before you say "Well, you set the cost of living too high", the cost of living is set by the external factors ["This tomato costed $8 to get here,

            Don't eat tomatos then if it costs 1/2 of your daily wage. If everyone did that the cost of tomatos would fall.

            The earning ability is set by the Factory Owners, and they've set it too low and deliberately. Why? Because they can,

            If they set it too low Factory A becomes viable again.

            The $32 struck by both parties IS the right equilibrium price of labour.

            No chains, no whips. Just the free market and an imbalance of power.

            Not if Factory A remains in the picture.

            Again the workers are better off than they were before.when no industries were there.

            I don't care that the workers work 16 hours a day.

            I don't care that the workers enough to eat to get enough energy to work the next day.

            I don't care that the the Factory Proprietors do much better out of the deal.

            The Invisible Hand guides the workers towards the better option (than having nothing).

            The workers are better off, they of their own free will chose to work, thats all I need to know other than how much the shirts cost me.

            If you thought Nike and the children making sneakers was bad

            I don't care about children making my Air Jordans, they had nothing before that.

            It's frankly stomach turning.

            It will not turn my stomach the slightest, I want bananas to be produced as cost effectively as possible. The workers have the option of working or have nothing, as long as that option of free will exists I don't care.

            If the children were ripped from school classrooms, chained together and forced to work, that is different. That isn't happening.

          •  

            @CrowReally: If this town is dependent on the wages of only 3 factories. The cost of living should match the baseline survival cost of these workers + any overheads. If the overheads are expensive to begin with (remote location etc), and there are limited employment opportunities to absorb those overheads + the wages of those infrastructure providers then the town is in bigger problems than 2 factories underpaying.

            Towns which baseline survival costs are dependent on foreign industry are only built because of foreign industry. In the absence of those, they start shrinking. People move elsewhere where they have a better quality of life and/or more work options.

            If you're saying that this town is a singular country with closed borders. I'd question how they became an independent nation without access to at least subsistence level of food, water and shelter that can be acquired through labour and basic tools. That is the alternative. This hypothetical independent nation has the option to return to their previous way of subsistence life and to reject all exploitative international industries.

  • +2 votes

    fair and equitable

    Not going to happen the way you think (Utopia).

    To who? when it is "fair and equitable" to one party, then it isn't for another… so many fails in history.

    Anyways, what's your deeper point?

  • +1 vote

    To be honest, my idea of finding a bargain is finding something that is broken and easily fixing it to give it more useful life.

    Its interesting to note that this situation happens a lot, with most things (especially electronic) not working because one small 1 cent component has failed, be it a capacitor in the case of electronic or an O-ring in a hydraulic assembly causing a leak.

    Most people don't want to fix themselves as they don't have the skills, and it cost too much for someone to fix it so they throw it out and buy a new one. The importance of fixing things will very likely be a good skill to learn in the future.

  • +4 votes

    When it comes to bargains, my concern on ethics is pretty limited, for the simple reason that most bargains here are not big money makers

    When extra-cruelty cagelaid eggs are a few days from expiry, and the price is slashed to 10c to get rid of them, that isn't making the store a profit.
    If I buy a 30c toy using a promo code from banggood, and that toy was made using prison labor… they aren't rolling in cash.
    If I order a bottle of cordial from Amazon thats fulfilled by an unhappy worker pushed to their limits for $1.50 (including postage).. that's costing them money.

    Yes, I know the world is a pond and every little ripple meets up somewhere, but in my mind the place for ethical consumption is the everyday purchase, not the bargains. All those little regular things that you don't even think about, that have enough profit margin in them for someone unscrupulous to take advantage of.

  •  

    Slavery is still a thing. Working at Foxcon is not slavery.

    Also isn't almond milk pretty much the worst of the milk alternatives if you care about the environment? Uses huge amounts of water to grow almonds. Ive been told oat milk is the most responsible choice.

    Anyway to answer the central question, I just don't chase a bargain in everything I buy. I don't need the cheapest product. I just want a good deal on the specific product I choose.

  •  

    When we get asked questions like OPs the conversation seems always to run to absolutes, then we get the wooden hut option pointed out.
    Is there a way we can get information more easily and without moral loading to understand our choices?
    I have recently been buying Australian where I can (and if the price isn’t too crazy), but not really at the point that I question every purchase.

    The other issue is what aspects of unethical do we want to view origins from?
    For example if human rights are our main lens, would we boycott Australian products because of our systematic and sustained mis-treatment of Aboriginals, shooting kangaroos and powering the worlds CO2 emissions…..
    If tit for tat politics is our thing, don’t buy from China, until it is all love again….
    If slavery is our focus (to be honest not sure exactly who to avoid….. 😩)

    To summarise: who catalogues the sins of the world so we can punish with our spending choices, based on our particular set of ethics?

    OP, apologies for responding to a Q with another Q.

  • +1 vote

    Do you own a phone? The rare metals are harvested by children and the rest is put together by slaves, well they get paid, but not enough to even feed themselves. Start by throwing that out…

  • +2 votes

    And yet you wander down to your corner barista and order a $7 coffee from the western slopes of the depleted rain forest slopes of the Columbian hinterland, prepared by a teenager who's dreams had been wiped out of her from the age of 5, now possessing little if any prospects of entering higher education, due to exorbitant artificially inflated fees, and of absolutely no chance in ever possessing a new home, let alone any roadworthy vehicle under 15 years….
    and all you are worried about is some pimple faced electronics kid.

  •  

    I'm finding shopping more excruciating than ever without Oxfam. I actually feel personally hurt by their closure. All they said was the retail environment in Australia is different. How can it be that different to new Zealand or the UK?

  • +1 vote

    Not voting for the Liberal Party.

  • +2 votes

    The problem with real ethics is that they always come with a price tag. I've got bills to pay too, so it's not like I'm always in a position to flush money down the crapper over abstract principles.

    My pragmatic perspective: have government regulation to prevent the most egregious abuses, and let the nature of the market sort the rest out. No, that won't result in happiness all 'round, but it will ensure that nothing too horrible happens either.

  •  

    its a job like any other job which comes with perks and risks.

  •  

    If it gets to me through legal means I don't care about how it is resourced or who gets screwed over to get it to me at that price. Nor do I care what economical or world environmental impact it has unless that impact has direct tangible and perceivable impact.

    That being said, if I do decide to make emotional decisions on purchases then at times I will decidedly never touch a particular product or company again so long as there is a viable alternative that I am happy with.

    If companies are using shady practices that are allowed by alternative governments, the burden of responsibility is on that government to detect those activities and the companies in question to act within the law.

    If those workers are not supported by their low wage, what is their alternative .. ? Should they become scammers as that seems like a lucrative industry ? If you truly want to effect change, then it needs to occur at a the level of their foreign government and not at the company level. The truth is there are people in the world who are worse off than them.

    • +2 votes

      As for Uber and menulog riders, that is their choice to work there. In Australia, people have equal opportunity to apply for a job elsewhere. It is not our role to prop up people in these jobs or other similar types. If you want that then there is a term for it.. called communism. Let's not go there.

  • +2 votes

    Uber drivers are slaves? I thought they chose to work for Uber…

  • +1 vote

    No. I don’t care enough to change my buying habits or pay more.

  •  

    No, I am doing them a favor by ordering delivery. I could drive to the restaurant myself and save myself a few bucks.

    If nobody orders delivery, they (delivery drivers/riders) will just be mingling around waiting for orders and not earn a single cent.

    Would you rather they starve or earn a little money?