Forgetting for a moment minor inconveniences like time…
…and annoyances like causality and the chain of events…
did we not set ourselves up retroactively to complain about Starbucks?
As it emerged in the last few weeks that they were ‘fiddling’ their tax contribution in the UK, it has also emerged that we are not even surprised. Indeed, there should have been a horrified public reaction towards the self-professed ‘innocent’ multi-national which has acted unethically, yet this has notably been absent.
Why? Because we are complicit! Dont act all innocent, you knew perfectly well that Starbucks had an obscene underside. Yet you continued to buy into the symbolic dimension of its own marketing campaign.
We already knew that ‘ethical’ companies (an oxymoron?) are not all that they seem to be. We fetishize these companies: we know very well that although they profess things like ‘fair trade‘ their actions, to the contrary, sustain the very system that maintains such global inequality and exploitation, and yet we act as if we don’t know. We continue to buy into the brand.
We know very well… and yet we act as if we don’t know
Dont act all shocked and appalled. We have been boycotting other brands and buying into Starbucks for years, fooling ourselves that we are doing our bit to help quench the excesses of capitalism (like poverty and exploitation), and now you’re going to boycottStarbucks for not paying their taxes?
The game goes on! You are complicit even in boycotting. You are complicit even in resistance.
We have been buying their coffee fully aware that we were sustaining a system fraught with contradictions (such as tax loopholes.) We were fully aware that the CEOs were promoting things like fair trade because it would make them richer. There was no empathy with the poor bean growers; it was all a marketing ploy – and you knew it.
*For bonus irony, I have written this in a Starbucks using their free WiFi.