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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What you can do: Banks + Businesses - Is your money more important than your vote?

One of the major blindspots I see in our current US perspective is that so many people express the view that they're unhappy with the way that major corporations play govern their economy. These corporations displace our economy to foreign soil. They selfishly raise prices on pharmaceuticals, oil, and other commodities that have become modern necessities. They show no conscious when supporting a financial investment over human rights.

This issue is one of the most multi-partisan shared concerns, and yet...

...we fail to recognize that everyday we earn money and spend money callously supporting the value of these institutions. Every time you work for any employer you are an employee of all their decisions. Every time you spend your money, every cent, you have the ability to think where that money is going. I would argue that your personal choices with money have a larger effect on the outcome of this country's future than any of your votes.

What banks finance your employer?
Where does your employer purchase their supplies?
Who are you supporting when you buy groceries, gas, shoes, cars, clothes, restaurants, legal/illegal drugs?

Are you willing to displace your own comforts to support these offenses you so passionately argue are rights everyone deserves?

Related Topics
Credit Union Search Site


  1. This is a great idea for people with the means to employ it.

    People with low credit ratings cannot join credit unions. Instead they are stuck with using whichever bank or prepaid debit card that will deign to provide financial services (because cashing your paycheck at a check cashing place means forking over 20% of it in fees) and charge the least amount of monthly fees. (Did you know banks charge a monthly fee if your account has less than $1,000 in it? Did you know lots of people *never* have $1,000 in their bank account and simply have to live with this tax on their income?)

    People living paycheck to paycheck don't have the luxury of switching banks, or often even considering such a move. In fact, the poorest people--who are most vulnerable to policy changes which these tactics might hope to ameliorate and who typically have the least voice in how such decisions are made--have the least consumer choice. They aren't able to choose the most cruelty-free product or sustainable food, or boycott corporations, or shop at locally owned businesses. They're stuck taking whatever crumbs they can get their hands on to survive.

    So if you're able to use these tactics, that's awesome! Maybe also consider finding a way to alleviate financial strain on people living paycheck to paycheck (pay for the groceries of the person in line behind you; support local food banks with your time and donations and other resources; support your local Urban League; host community dinners which feed people for free or raise money for families in need; donate supplies or time to local schools; get involved with legislation around payday lenders and other local financial institutions exploiting the poor; start a community garden where neighbors grow food and anyone is welcome to enjoy the harvest, just to name a few ideas of the top of my head), as I think that might have more direct impact on the lives of your friends and neighbors.

    I *love* the idea of evaluating our financial choices when we are able to do so. This was a part of how I convinced myself to quit smoking. Big Tobacco funds so many movements I am harmed by and which harm my world! How could I continue to fund their Right-wing politics by paying them to harm my body? Recreational drugs, same: how many people died for you to have this party? Were they most likely women? Women of color? Time to rethink that kind of slavery just so some rich white kids can feel special on a Friday night.

    We can use this inquiry to examine our previously unexamined choices, and become aware of the impact we didn't notice we were having on the world. But we also must note the hangman's noose most poor people are in when it comes to being a captive consumer audience to the very corporations which exploit them the most, and recognize that it is not their duty to free themselves, but ours.


    1. And, to be clear, I'm not just responding to your particular points about personal consumer change, but on the broader topic of consumer politics, which have been criticized by some for their limitations. My point is that I think they are better a tool for personal exploration of values than for creating direct social change.

    2. I think we are in agreement. For the record a credit union was barely a fraction of what I was talking about. I also hope you consider that "cruelty-free product or sustainable food, or boycott corporations" were never my points, and I don't think I implied those, but if I did I would happily change the wording to clarify that.
      I'm not suggesting anyone do something that puts them in a worse position to survive. I am suggesting that you change your mentality with all of your exchanges of money. Your money is your currency for truly expressing your values. To make an example of the food topic you brought up, if someone has to prioritize feeding their family over something less important I think thats a fair expression of your values. If someone makes a habit of spending their money on convenience service fees (Amazon Fresh, Take out Delivery)to give them more leisure time on a regular basis I think there is room to consider how that money could have been spent on supporting local business or a business that supports your shared values.