Consuming Choices: Ethics in a Global Consumer Age by David T. Schwartz

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  • April 3, 2017
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By David T. Schwartz

David T. Schwartz presents the main distinctive philosophical exploration up to now on client ethics.

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30 CHAPTER 2 Wrongdoing during Product Use The third scenario of wrongdoing is wrongdoing that occurs during the use of a product. Among the more prominent examples of this—especially in America—are purchases related to lawn care. Chief among the culprits is lawn fertilizer, where overuse is a primary source of nitrogen pollution nationwide. In addition, there are various petrochemical-based pesticides, originally developed as military gas weapons in the early decades of the twentieth century. And while there are now “greener” pesticides, even these newer products have begun to exhibit problems.

Many times the boundaries being violated are those of “family oriented” Christian conservative groups such as AFA, but this is not always the case. 40 The Abercrombie and Fitch examples are instructive because they exhibit many of the traits common to cases of consumer moral offense. That is, such cases most often involve offensive advertising, although sometimes it is the products themselves that are offensive. Also, objections from moral offense typically involve claims about racism, inappropriate sexual imagery, or misogyny, all of which were at issue in the Abercrombie and Fitch examples.

One is the ethics of advertising to children, and the other is the ethics of advertising dangerous products to children. Regarding advertising to children, typical criticisms include that it is inherently exploitive. This is because young children typically lack sufficient mental faculties to evaluate an advertisement rationally, making them especially vulnerable to emotional suggestion. Regarding advertising of dangerous products, liberal arguments typically fear paternalism more than self-harm, although there have been notable exceptions such as the 1970 banning of cigarette advertising in American television and print media.

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