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Reaper asked in Social SciencePsychology · 1 decade ago

If the food corporations are engaging in unethical conduct?

What can the consumers(meaning us) do to modify their behavior? Not saying that we're all consumers of the fast food restaurants or anything like that.

Can the conduct of an individual have an impact on a company's practices? Why is a company most likely to change its conduct? To generate public goodwill? To respond to its employees' concerns? To address diminishing profits?

PS: I am mainly interested in hearing the reason(s) to why you think that way.

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Haha, I saw the header and thought it was kind of weird that this was in psychology, but when I read through the question, I realized you actually had a very thoughtful question here.

    Yes, it's well known that big food companies do things that are unethical: their processes are unsustainable and polluting, they bully small farmers, and many of their labour practices are disgusting (e.g. safety in slaughterhouses).

    Not all large food companies are completely heartless, but most of them do at least a few things which most people would find objectionable.

    So how can we use b-mod to change this?

    Well, let me be honest. "Don't buy their product" isn't going to cut it. Any individual is too small. Even if you raise a stink with your friends and family and they grudgingly agree to boycott Del Monte, Wendy's, AND Chinese shrimp, the companies will not feel the difference in their profits.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't eat ethically. I'm saying it's not enough to change their behaviour.

    Punishing the companies who do wrong (from a psychology point of view it could also be negative reinforcement or extinction depending on how you think about it) requires some more organized advocacy.

    One method is organized boycotts that mobilize thousands of consumers by publicizing the companies' wrongdoing. When guys write exposes about factory farming and go on the radio about it, that's great. You can help promote awareness about these issues.

    The other piece to that, is raising a stink with the companies themselves. When you use b-mod on an 8-year-old boy, you tell him what you're doing and why, and what you want him to do. In the same way, you have to let the companies know (over and over) why you're trying to deliberately trying to hurt their bottom line, or they're unlikely to change.

    Like the 8 year old, their first response will be to "greenwash"--to pretend to change while carrying out business as usual. Expose the greenwashing, and maintain the behavioural contingency (withholding the reinforcer--paying clients). Then maybe you'll see a change.

    The other method is punishment. Mainly, law enforcement. Remember that in a democracy, you and I run the country. We just have to get the 10-300 million other people who run the country (depending on the particular country you live in) to see our point. If we can legislate and consistently enforce some good, fair, tough laws about food safety, marketing, pollution, etc. then the companies are likely to change their behaviour.

    It's really just like trying to change the behaviour of an 8-year-old.

    Source(s): For more on Ethical Eating: Fast Food Nation read the chapter on strawberry farming in Reefer Madness
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  • 1 decade ago

    You're right, it's not just fast food. I'm sure there are other abuses, but here's one that bothers me. Ever research the ingredients in most of the foods you eat? Just about everything, unless it's organic, has some nasty chemical--whether it's trans fat (hydrogenated oil), MSG (autolyzed, hydrolyzed, modified), or artificial sweetners to name a few culprits. What will it take? Boycotting nonorganic products? Flooding the businesses with petitions, emails, and letters demanding these nasty ingredients be taken out? Writing to the state legislature? Complaining to the FDA or some other food organization? I don't know what the answer is, but if thousands of people ban together for a good cause, that's gotta make some waves.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have a problem with gluten and learned to shop around the grocery store and not down the aisles where the pre-processed stuff is, and i am now doing better, however i am a member of a support group for this and we do call food companies and ask for clarification on ingredients, and ask for gluten free food from all food companies, we will also write letters,boycot, and trade stories/experiences from grocery stores/restaurants/fast food places/and brand specific items. We have found that most will change their product when they understand there are a vast number of americans with ibs,celiac disease,diabetes, etc. that want to eat and purchase their products, but only if they change the ingredients.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Being that I have not stepped into a fast food restaurant in 10 years, My thoughts and reason would be that they could all disappear and I would not care.

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