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Attempts to illuminate our brief mortal existence

Friday, June 29, 2012

On Expense

I recently read an article where an objection given to a proposed course of action struck me as completely out of place.  Since I don't want to turn this conversation political, and the fallacy of the objection had nothing to do with the subject matter, I'm not going to link to the article.  In this particular situation, the objecting party was reacting to the suggestion that they put in place some policies that would presumably safeguard the health of the general public.  The objection?

"We can't do that.  It would be hard and expensive."

Huh?  Not, "this wouldn't work and it would be expensive," or, "there's a better option that would be less expensive," but, "nah, we don't want to do that because it would cost us too much money."

What really got me thinking is the way that seeing this excuse used on a high level, with lots of money at stake, highlights my use of it on a lower level, and usually without much money at stake.  I sometimes make decisions based on their impact on my level of disposable income, not the morality of either option.  In a way, I suppose that this ties in with the previous post about owning and living out Truth as best I can see it, but in this is more specifically about the ways that I use my money.  The food and clothing that I buy.  The businesses that I support.  The good causes to which I do (or mostly don't) contribute.  If it's the right thing to do, shouldn't I do it?  And if doing something right means I can't afford to do it, isn't it better to just not do it?  If, for example, I can't afford to buy coffee that is sourced in a humane way, then maybe the answer isn't to feel guilty as I buy less expensive coffee, but to cut down on my coffee drinking.  If I can't give to a good cause and also have money left for yarn and lattes and pretty clothes, then maybe I should cut down on the clothes.  Okay, and the yarn.  Fine, the lattes, too.  The point is, it's easy for me to see the inconsistency of a large corporation saying "but it's so expensive to treat our sewage!"  But my (legitimate) disgust at that should also show me how to feel about my own equivocations over (apparently) lesser matters.

Note: the moral inconsistency of myself and the general population does not excuse the refusal of corporations to take responsibility for the toxic byproducts of whatever it is that they're making money on.  

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