Tuesday 19th of November 2019

The pros and cons of boycotts

I have been thinking about the possible avenues of action an individual, or collection of individuals can take against the policies of a foreign nation. I know groups like Amnisty do this kind of thing all the time, to the best of my knowledge via letter writing and awareness raising. The current topical example of this is the case of Nguyen Tuong Van, and the threats of boycotts of Singapore owned companies such as Optus and Singapore Airlines.

For a boycott to work, what has to happen? Obviously the concerned few will not be sending these companies broke, but could they be put under pressure? And how does one make sure that they know why they are under pressure? Letter writing to the board? Public demonstrations?

And when is it too late to do good? The execution is in under 2 days, so any change of decision is going to come from campaigns already underway. And if it goes ahead, do you boycott these companies forever? Boycotts seem to be a carrot and stick approach to me. The carrot being the access to your wallet again. But if you take that away, and say never again, then companies being companies will adapt and write you out of the equation, unless there is the numbers to floor them completely.

As you can tell, I'm a bit confused at the moment. 

 Nigel