no to a boycott
It seems a lot of people have received and sent on the same SMS I got the other day, that requests a boycott of US goods – there was a discussion about it on the radio yesterday, and they did a vox pop thing where apparently random people on the street were saying they’d received it.
I think it’s a terrible idea. For one thing, boycotts only work if everyone does it, like with South Africa during the apartheid regime. That is apparently (according to the radio yesterday) the only boycott that’s ever actually worked – and it was massive, global, on the level of government, and it included sports and cultural events. Scattered people not going to MacDonalds is not going to change Bush’s mind.
But my main objection to the idea is that it will only fire up the hatred that’s already brewing between the US and other Western countries. The last thing we need is to increase the gap between us. If a boycott of American goods actually worked (which it won’t, but that is the aim of it), real, living, breathing Americans would lose their jobs. They’d hate the people who’d caused that, escalating the cycle of hatred. Most people round here think that the semi-boycott of French goods many Americans have started on is ridiculous. Why is boycotting America any better?
If a full boycott had any hope of actually changing Bush’s mind I might think otherwise, and conclude that the goal makes the means acceptable. As it is, the increase in mutual hatred and lack of knowledge of each other that a boycott will create is simply not worth it.
And in case anyone was wondering (these days it seems people do) my suggestions in that SMS post about boycotting American websites were deeply ironic. Oh dear.