Economy of Ethics.

I just finished a survey about consumer behavior when buying a textile product such as clothing or sheets or anything like that. The survey asked how much money you spend on clothes and such and what you would pay when the product was produced locally or sustainable etc. etc. The thing is… I think the sustainability and the quality of textiles and how they are made is very important. Truth is as well that I myself not at all pay a fair price for my clothing nor can I afford to. In fact, most of the stuff I own is second hand, bought at a second-hand market for 1 euro, or I got it at a clothing swap. And of course, sometimes I buy (high quality) products in the final sale so I pay 5-10 euros for a pair of pants instead of the 40 euros that they should have cost… the best bargain I ever had was paying 5 euro for a pair of pants that were originally 240 euros or something… Thing is, it’s not that I don’t want to pay what something is worth, or do not know the costs… I am a ‘sewist’ myself so I know how much fabric, buttons, and zippers can cost even without assembling them. I also know how hard it is or how long it takes to assemble something, or to make a pattern. Yet, when you ask me ‘this dress that you want is 50 euros, would you pay more if it was produced ethically I say: no.’ Simply because I would never spend 50 euros on a dress even, so I could never afford to pay more. It is like sitting in your favorite restaurant for 4 hours and only buying the day’s special and drinking water from the tap: I have more power over whether or I go bankrupt than that I have over the income of the restaurant.

 

Economy is an interesting concept, and I before have called myself a ‘hobby-economist’, like I am also very much a ‘hobby-theologian’. I find it very interesting to think about the injustices or the mechanics of economies. The thing is, Economy and ethics go so badly together because our first concern is: does this harm mé in any way, or- does this cost me in any way I can’t or don’t want to afford? In the end, we all seem to be doomed to live by the fact that somethings are valuable and others are expensive, somethings are essential and others are affordable. In the end, we all need everything that is essential, want something that is valuable to us, affordable, and inexpensive. We are all out on survival here.

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Semi-easter themed collage from years ago. Lambs in the jungle.

Thinking of the title ‘economy of ethics’ I was reminded of the Switchfoot song: “economy of mercy”.  Perhaps we don’t need an economy of ethics, barely any of us can afford it- instead, perhaps looking at good Friday, the day that everything was turned around, can help us to find a new way of living:

 

In the economy of mercy, I am a poor and begging man

In the currency of grace, is where my song begins

In the colors of Your goodness, in the scars that mark Your skin

In the currency of grace, is where my song begins

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