A JOURNAL OF SOCIAL & RELIGIOUS CONCERN
Volume 15 No. 4
ADVERTISING, PROPAGANDA AND ETHICS
| CONTENTS | AFRICANEWS HOMEPAGE |
EXERCISE YOUR MORAL JUDGEMENT THROUGH THE WAY YOU BUYRenato Kizito Sesana
| One would not ordinarily associate violence with doing one's shopping. Certainly, a little hostility may sometimes occur while we stand in line at a supermarket, and on some occasions, when there is scarcity of goods, shopping often brings out the worst in people as they rush to find the scarce item. But usually we would not consider it violence. At the beginning of the 1980s in Zambia, when the ill-conceived economic policies of former President Kenneth Kaunda had already ruined the economic life of the country, I often spent time queuing to buy some salt or cooking oil; many more hours than I care to remember. Sometimes the queues even turned into a positive experience, a meeting place, a place for interaction, sharing of ideas and political convictions. I am convinced that the sharing taking place among frustrated queuers played an important role in the subsequent downfall of Kaunda. The occasional arrogance and bullying while queuing is nothing in comparison to the violence that can take place long before the goods arrive in the shop or supermarket. Violence takes place when there is no morality to our commerce. Nowadays, marketing executives will use all available methods to convince us of the need to buy their company products. They are not selling soap or petrol, but a vision, a way of life. Using the most sophisticated knowledge and techniques, they create unfulfilled desires and then they push us to buy the products that we do not need. But we should not take all the information we receive at face value. The desire for profit and the appeal for a “healthy economy” has led many companies and governments to put aside the necessary moral responsibilities in the age of the global market. One often hears the comment made after watching fast cars,...
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