Aquanomics on boycotts, in a review of Jared Diamond’s Collapse

The best way to get change is to hit the company in their PR. Want to end “Blood diamonds”? Boycott DeBeers, not Sierra Leone. Want to stop deforestation? Boycott Ikea, not Indonesia. DeBeers and Ikea have done a LOT more to protect market share than these corrupt governments (of corrupt people) will ever do. Thank god for market power!

We, 7 billion humans, are NOT going to achieve First World living standards. There will NOT be a SUV in every driveway, a flat screen on every-wall and a porterhouse steak on every barbie. The earth’s resources (and environment!) are not sufficient. Things will cost more (resources) or run out (environment) before we get that that “standard.” Time to go for smaller is better in developed countries and population control in developing countries.

While I hardly share their belief in the wonderfulness of market power, their points are well-taken.

Boycotts need to be focused like a laser not over-generalized. Perhaps this tactic could be used in Arizona. Don’t boycott the entire state (which means those who oppose the anti-immigration law suffer too) but instead pick a few targets, like vulnerable companies who made a point of backing the law. As Saul Alinky said, “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.”

And absolutely, small is beautiful is an idea that definitely needs re-exploring.