Passionate indifference about companies

Responsible citizens should be passionately indifferent about for-profit companies unless there is something in it for them. Activism without a quid pro quo…

  1. …disrupts the free market system’s feedback mechanisms by irrationally rewarding or penalizing companies. This can create undeserving winners and losers. A great example is American automakers, which are still around mainly because of consumers who irrationally ignore better alternatives to almost the entire domestic vehicle lineup.
  2. …unethically saps resources from charitable nonprofits, which are the only entities that deserve uncompensated activism.

I recently directed my activist zeal towards a for-profit company by publicly and forcefully supporting a developer’s for-profit project, and I did it without violating my ethical code.

How do I justify this undeserved activism? Here’s why:

  1. Should the project be built, it will increase property values and desirability of my area.
  2. I get the experience of taking a forceful public position on an issue.
  3. Someday I may benefit from lessons learned.
  4. I am exposed to leaders and “the way things worked” in ways otherwise impossible.
  5. I develop contacts and meet people I would have otherwise never met.
  6. I was pissed off at reactionary, anti-development zealotry, and this experience was cathartic.

Even though I ended up on the losing team, the experience was worth it.

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