Monday, November 28, 2005

Buy Blue

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI heard about this on WPVM last week ... there's a Web site called which recommends retailers based on the political giving of the companies. Why buy from companies that support politics you detest?

Companies are also screened for fair labor practices, environmental consciousness, and other social factors.

Check it out!


Screwy Hoolie said...

Thanks Swift.

I've been using this site for a while, and I want to warn you...

It's got so much disturbing info about the places you already shop. Get ready for a crisis of conscience if you use BuyBlue and try to shop at... say...Target.

It'll change the buying habits of anyone who gets the willies when they think of giving money to Rick Santorum, George W. Bush, or Tom DeLay.

Huw Raphael said...

There is a fault in the logic though: unless you are worried about the way your neighbour spends his money - the money he earned working at Target - picking companies (or their owners) for how they give money is a red herring.

If you think it is a real issue, then why would you give your hard-earned blue dollars to a well known conservative... in the form of hospitality when you invite him to a thanksgiving party? If you have any persons under you at work - or bring them in to your home for cable, the bugs, etc - do you only give pay checks to blue folks? Before you drop money into a homeless man's cup, do you ask how he voted? Do you know the politics of the farmers from whom you purchase your organic goods at the Food Co-Op? Would you stop shopping from them if, like most small farmers in the US, they voted (and lived) red?

If you would feed me your gravy and share a beer with me, why worry about what someone else freely does with their money? Seems as silly as the Southern Baptist boycott of Disney.

We give money to our political "opponents" all the time. But BuyBlue is a good way to feel less guilty while not doing much: and, of course, to take your hard earned money and make sure it never makes it down to the people who can only get jobs at Target - or to drive out of town the businesses that are affordable to them.

Screwy Hoolie said...

I don't shop at Wal-Mart because I despise their business practices. Is this a wasted effort?

I do my best to shop at stores that (1) keep the money in the community; (2) treat their employees fairly by offering a living wage and health insurance; (3)give to causes I support. This method makes my dollars work for me for more than mere material needs.

In your estimation is it o.k. then to buy goods from organizations that support terrorism?

Capitalism is what it is. The free market works best when consumers are informed and have choices. I'm using my capitalistic, free market, consumerist buying power to move the market a smidgen of a shadow of an iota towards the type of world I'd more like to live in.

(btw - re: inviting people over dinner who have different political views - This is called living in a democracy. And don't think I won't try to sway that person towards my views while offering my liberal hospitality.)

syntax said...

a small example of how sometimes buying "red" is unavoidable: the personal computer. if you get right down to it, a 100% guilt-free pc is impossible. even if a dyed-in-the-wool democrat friend of yours builds one for you, there's a very good chance that the processor and/or the operating system are going to come from "red" sources. most people i know use pc's built around intel chipsets and running microsoft operating systems. no matter whose brand name is on the computer, if you bought it brand-new you've still supported at least two companies that donated thousands of dollars to the republicans. (dem-leaning apple users shouldn't feel smug just yet, especially once they make the switch to intel chipsets, and even people who run linux on a box with an amd chipset aren't safe - amd gave $1000 to republicans in 2004)

keep in mind, though, that the listings are a little misleading. seeing a company listed on with a big red elephant next to a seven-figure contribution total doesn't mean that they gave it all to the republicans. even before the industrial revolution, businesses have been givng money mercurically to political causes and candidates to "buy" access and influence. most large corporations tend to hedge their bets and contribute to both sides, the majority of cash going to the side that's "in power". i'll bet that we'll see the tables start to turn somewhat in 2006, and even more so in 2008... that is, if the dems manage to figure out how to win elections...

(that's what i love about being a centrist - i can have a beer with anyone!)

Screwy Hoolie said...

I think that you're right about more money going to the party in power... especially if that party is willing to pass tax legislation that lets your corporation off the hook or strips regulations that inhibit the old profit margin.

There's nothing 100% I suppose, but making the effort to direct more of your money to entities you support is better than thinking that once the money leaves your hand it just disappears into an amoral aether.

syntax said...

true, which makes more useful as an awareness tool rather than a definitive consumer guide. it's up to the enduser, after all.

take the fresh market. h & i shop there on a fairly regular basis. according to buyblue they gave $500 to republicans in 2004, which is roughly 0.05% of the amount contributed to republicans by wal-mart. and, by all accounts, the fresh market treats their people good and offers a pretty decent benefits package (by retail standards). i really don't feel all that guilty shopping there.

(maybe we should close commenting on this and move it over to scrutiny hooligans? this could get ugly fast if we let it...)

Uptown Ruler said...

could just as easily be called, since it provides information about contributions to both parties...


Huw Raphael said...

Uptown: I do know folks who use "buyblue" to buy red. Mind you I think that's just as silly. And using an Apple as I do - no more nor no less than a PC - I'm supporting Communist China which really drives me bonkers because of their continued oppression of religious freedom.

Mind you, I'm not saying you shouldn't shop your morals. But i do think it's increasingly difficult to make choices based only on who the company gives money to: certainly the employees must, or the subcontractors, or the out-sourced janitors and customer service people.

More importantly, however, I think it's entirely un-American (in the totally blue way of meaning) to divide us all into camps and to make choices based on that prejudice: most of us are, really, rather purple.

Uptown Ruler said...

mauve here. =)