59: Who you do business with

A Thousand Things to Talk About
59: Who you do business with

Today, we’re talking about who you do business with

Would you not do business with or endorse someone due to their morals?

Show notes and links:
The Echo-Chamber Effect (The New York Times)
THE RIGHT THING; When Good Ethics Aren’t Good Business (The New York Times)
Do Boycotts Work? (Freakonomics)

Full episode text

There’s a number of directions one could take this question – everything from purposeful, large-scale boycotts based on the idea of voting with your dollar to much smaller-scale, individual decisions, such not as offering a professional reference.

Ever since the creation of the private life as a separate entity from the public, economic life (for more on that, listen to the Deep Dive on the public private life), there’s been a stark question to what extent someone’s private life — or even political life — should impact their professional life.
On the large scale, you can see this question playing out in large nationwide attempts to boycott just about every business in existence over one issue or another. The idea is that by “voting with the dollar,” consumers may have an impact on business practices.

On a smaller scale, you can see this playing out in the legal challenges in multiple cities and states over business owners refusing service – quite vocally and selectively – to individuals with whom they do not agree for a variety of reasons.

But this also plays out in much quieter ways – everything from a certain individual not receiving a referral or reference to the simple choice to not give someone a call back when they contact you.

Whatever the reason, it’s a very individual decision, but it’s also one that is having a big impact in the larger scheme. The choice to not interact with someone over one or two elements of who they are could be one of the things leading to an ideological echo chamber, an effect where the lack of dissenting opinions means that incorrect information becomes much louder, which eventually decreases overall discourse. Choosing to not interact with somebody over a single element of their personality could, in fact, be making society more polarized.

But in the end, the decision of who you do business with is your decision.