General Question

shilolo's avatar

What actions warrant a lifetime boycott of goods or services?

Asked by shilolo (18038points) May 4th, 2009

I have tried to maintain a personal boycott on German goods and services, since I don’t believe many German companies ever acknowledged or gave a complete accounting of their use of slave labor during WW2 or their participation in the design of extermination machines (particularly auto makers like BMW, VW, Porsche or Merceded-Benz). Mainly, this means not buying obviously German products. Can a 50 year old sin-atrocity be persistent? Moreover, now that the world is “flat”, and companies are multinational, does this even make sense?

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10 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

Personally, I think that, while noble, this makes no sense anymore. A lot of VWs, BMWs, etc. are built in the U.S. now. Diamler owned Chrysler for a while – so should Chrysler be boycotted? (maybe that was led to their going bankrupt)

this would also extend, in principle, to countries that allied themselves to Germany during WWII – so no Japanese cars or products, and no Italian cars or products. No Lamborguinis! sp?

What’s more, the US rounded up Japanese-Americans, so should US products be boycotted? It’s all a slippery slope.

Aside from this, many in Germany, even if the “government” doesn’t acknowledge it, are very ashamed of what happened. Should they be punished, so to speak, for something that they do not approve of, nor are able to change?

jlm11f's avatar

If my ancestors fucked up, I don’t think it would be fair for someone to ask me to apologize for their mistakes*. The same applies here.

*Assuming of course that I had nothing to do with them messing up.

TaoSan's avatar

Seems a bit hypocritical. No offense, but Germany was a republic of equality in times where it was okay to hang someone for their skin color in the south here, and the idea that a colored man could piss in the same toilet as a “white” man caused an uproar.

It’s all about perspective. As for “extermination machines”, Hiroshima and Nagasaki come to mind. Well we distributed equality there, when we burned soldier, woman, child and pet alike.

There are certainly these huge stains in the history of Germany, but ethnic cleansing, persecution of minorities and whatnot are certainly something Germany doesn’t have a lease on alone.

As for the participation of large corporations, Eisenhower himself warned of the military industrial complex, and for every canister of Zyklon B there are just as many theories that Crack was conceived in US Government labs and spilled into urban areas with racist motivations up until into the late 80s.

So, I guess it’s all a matter of perspective, really. I think it’s time for the world to move on. WWII was certainly the most atrocious war in the history of mankind, and sick and twisted ideologies were abundant.

Today, corporations have no nationality, profit is the true global citizen with no regard for ethnicity or native language. It’s time to let it go. This phase is now almost 65 years in the past, and few of those that experienced it are still alive.

Let’s move on world…

Jeruba's avatar

I stopped buying Welch’s products in the 1970s when I found out about their tie to the John Birch Society.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Insulting the town of Liverpool will result in a lifetime boycott. Everything else is forgivable eventually.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

while germany’s actions of the past are clearly boycott worthy, i don’t think they support any of the things they did then, now. of course, i haven’t done a bit of research, but generally speaking – if a company no longer supports something i am against, as there are different people, etc running it, i don’t have a problem with them.

casheroo's avatar

Hm, I tend to just refuse to shop at certain’s never been an entire country.
My cousin, at Easter time, saw the Mr. Potato Head that my parents got my son, and made a rude comment “Is that from China? We don’t have anything from China.” My husband and I could barely stop ourselves from laughing, since this girl takes all my hand me downs, and apparently never checks the tags on her clothing because a lot of clothes come from China. Some people feel superior because of it.
I personally refuse to shop at Wal Mart. I have only gone twice in my life.

bea2345's avatar

There is a branch of KFC in Port of Spain which I have not entered for several years. The cashier short changed me, and was rude when I protested. But boycotting a whole country? for a while, perhaps (like the boycott of South African goods during apartheid).

noelasun's avatar

When there is a breach of trust between whatever store or company and myself (the consumer). Businesses can make mistakes, but when they are choosing to giving up safety for profits;
I find it impossible to trust again.
(mostly thinking here of foods or toys that were sold even after proven harmful)

_bob's avatar

I’m gonna have to agree with @TaoSan here. Some people in the Southern US don’t mind at all about the slavery of the past. Do you boycott American products, too?

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