Labour in the Food Industry

Check out this piece by Stephen Lurie, writing for Vox: You care about where your food comes from. Shouldn’t you care about who grew and picked it?

Lurie is arguing that the food you consume embodies a certain set of values, in particular values related to how the workers who harvested and processed that food are treated. You implicitly endorse those values when you purchase and consume. The values, you might say, are baked right in. So you get to choose what values to endorse by the choices you make. So far, Lurie’s is a familiar theme: conscious consumerism.

But, Lurie notes, the ability to engage in conscious consumerism is limited. For example, “While fair-trade products attempt to eradicate poverty abroad, consumers don’t have much of a choice to support a living wage in this country.” Labour, and in particular wages, amounts to the most under-attended-to ethical issue related to food today.

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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