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Nice Work If You Can Get ItLife and Labor in Precarious Times$
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Andrew Ross

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814776292

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814776292.001.0001

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Teamsters, Turtles, and Tainted Toys

Teamsters, Turtles, and Tainted Toys

(p.105) 4 Teamsters, Turtles, and Tainted Toys
Nice Work If You Can Get It

Andrew Ross

NYU Press

This chapter looks at two particular strands of environmental and labor advocacy: the anti-consumerist and the anti-sweatshop movements. The record of attention to labor abuses within the history of the consumer rights movement confirms that there has been a longstanding dialogue between organized groups on both sides, but it is equally a history of missed opportunities. In return, labor advocates have been slow to question the dominant materialist lifestyle of a consumer civilization, preferring to promote ethical reforms in consumption patterns that will sustain the existing jobs of goods and service producers. As for the anti-consumer activists who evangelize extensive changes in lifestyle, trading, and modes of subsistence, they tend to see ethical consumption as little more than a way to greenwash the status quo. Moreover, they are not especially sensitive to the immediate needs of the working masses whose livelihoods are tied to the existing system.

Keywords:   anti-consumerist movement, anti-sweatshop movement, labor abuses, consumer rights movement, labor advocates, consumer civilization, ethical consumption, consumption patterns

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