Monday, November 29, 2010

Boycott - different flavours and kinds

(Today marks the start of month nine in my project.)

Boycotts can have multiple targets and have a spectrum of instigators. According to Boycott City, a primary boycott is one in which people or employees boycott a company or employers by not providing their services to it, or not buying their products. Examples of primary boycotts would include the boycott of Whole Foods after its CEO publicly opposed "ObamaCare," or the boycott of BP after the Macondo well blowout. A secondary boycott is one in which employees, labourers, or people try to persuade other entities to join a boycott against their target, or when people target the suppliers or contractors providing services to a target. Examples include the secondary boycott of Israel by the Arab League and the United Farm Workers boycotting grocery store chains in their effort to affect California agribusinesses.

During dinner last night, Krista observed that the targets for boycotts have changed over time. It seems like boycotts nowadays focus on particular businesses or corporations, when in the past, government policies were also part of the mix (the Stamp Act of 1765, Gandhi's boycott of British-made textiles). (I wonder if people, i.e. Tea Partiers, will be boycotting hospitals and medical providers in opposition to ObamaCare.) In today's day and age, it seems like people's purchasing power is what is used to make a point, either by patronising other businesses, or by withholding purchasing entirely.

It seems to me that not consuming at all and not creating trash is more of a cultural boycott. I will write more about the effectiveness of boycotts and examples of famous boycotts next.

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