I like the expression “Purchasing power”. Not what it means, the amount of goods or services that one unit of a given currency can buy, but what it illustrates in a literal manner: having money is a form of power, and buying is empowering the company you are buying from.
We are quick to forget that the way we consume has a huge impact on our economy at scale. I plead guilty. There is always a moment where you just buy something apparently harmless without thinking about the consequences, like buying a burger from McDonald’s out of hunger after a night at the bar. Do I want to empower McDonald’s business? Hell no. But I wanted instant gratification at this moment so I was happy to forget.
I’m using a McDonald’s example because it reminds me of an event of my childhood. My mom has been an ecologist activist since as long as I can remember. She was the only family provider and didn’t earn much, but she never hesitated to pay slightly more for high-quality food, organic and fresh from the farm or the market. One summer we were visiting Barcelona and we ended up on the Barceloneta during lunch time. A McDonald’s on one side, a grilled sardine restaurant on the other. My brother and I wanted to eat at McDonald’s because there was a playground inside and it looked fun. My parents agreed to take us there, but they would be eating at the sardine restaurant afterward. We got so disgusted by the food served there that we ended up eating sardines as well. I didn’t eat at McDo again until much later during my college years.
In retrospect, consumption is a matter of habit. Conscious living is a habit. Making conscious choices is not innate, but it’s possible to act upon them.
More importantly, consuming is making a political statement. The way we consume is as impactful as the way we create, if not greater.