The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Changing the way you shop changes world for the better

There are a multitude of totally justifiable things people are concerned about—corrupt politicians, the unstable economy, education, the cost of healthcare, national security and the moral standard of our country. 

But what if we could change these things? Not only with our ballots or our protests, but with our all-powerful dollars? We could put our capitalist system in shock by no longer financially supporting its less ethical components. 

I was online shopping one day when I came across a Daily Beast article that stated Nestle, Coca-Cola, Tazo, Kraft and many more name brand companies that fuel the American diet use slave labor to produce their products. This was not the kind of article you want to see while online shopping. 

I was obviously in shock and completely appalled by this information. That is when it hit me: the things we purchase are the things we condone. We ultimately vote with our dollar even more than with our actions or words.

According to, “voting with your dollar” is a concept that expresses the importance of choices. 

The most influence an individual can have on our society is how they spend their money. Everything we purchase has an effect on something or someone somewhere, and we should try to be conscious of this when we shop.

For example, more and more companies are beginning to carry “organic” or “fair trade products.” Why? Because the people who demand them are willing to pay for these labels. Organic farming and fair trade labor are business practices people want to support.  

The flip side of that is if you do not ethically support something, don’t buy it. The ways we spend our money define how we want our world to be and who we want to control it. 

If we are not okay with a culture that degrades women, then we must stop purchasing from misogynistic lingerie companies, stop going to see movies in which women are nothing but sex objects and stop donating to presidential candidates who think it’s okay to call women pigs. 

If we are so sick and tired of animal cruelty and firmly against corrupt companies who profit off of products made by international child slaves, we should stop funding them. Otherwise things will not magically change.

A recent article from pointed out that the cereal and laundry detergent we purchase can either make or break lives around the world. America’s problems obviously go deeper than Frosted Flakes and Tide detergent, but their point is incredibly valid. 

A great example of an unethical grocery store staple company is Monsanto, the Missouri-based agriculture giant ranked dead last in the world of ethical companies. 

According to, Monsanto and Dow Chemical, another large corporation, first created an herbicide called “Agent Orange” during the Vietnam War. 

The herbicide was unbearable to breath in, and was designed to draw enemy soldiers out of wooded areas. Years later, it was discovered that soldiers who used Agent Orange had an extremely high rate of cancer.

 Monsanto’s questionable practices also continue today. The company’s latest questionable investment is with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). 

GMOs have been linked to chronic illness, are harmful to animals and are especially detrimental to our environment and drinking water. 

In order to practically support ethical practices with more than just our words, we must do our research. 

We must look into who makes our favorite product, and stop buying them if they are produced by companies like Monsanto. 

Although unethical companies are nothing new, technology is giving us new ways to combat them. There are a multitude of apps that can scan the barcodes of products and immediately show us what the products maker funds and supports. Thanks to smartphones and the Internet, making ethical purchases has never been easier.  

If we truly want to “Make America Great Again”, then we must take advantage of the power of the American dollar. We must choose not only to support ethical brands, politicians and policies, but also refuse to accept anything less.  

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Changing the way you shop changes world for the better