If you're an anticapitalist in the West or Global North you're an unwilling participant in the prevailing hegemony (capitalism), but usually without much choice. You can't find shelter without engaging with a for-profit housing market, you can't buy food without earning money, and the vast majority of jobs involve a massive waste of resources to enrich a few. All the commodities you have to buy to survive in the world are part of a complex and opaque global supply chain usually involving some combination of child labour, over-exploitation or slavery.
The TV show "The Good Place" investigated this, concluding it was basically impossible to participate in global capitalism without being implicated in unethical practices. So I'm wondering what main schools of thought there are on the ethics of participating (under effective coercion) in an unethical system.
A few options come to mind:
- Presumably a Marxist/Socialist would say the ethical course of action would be to work towards revolution. But do they talk about the participation up to the point of revolution?
- One option is to try to escape the clutches of capitalism entirely, by living in a cabin in the woods and growing your own food, making your own clothes, building your own house. But this is unobtainable without having first participated for long enough to save enough money to buy (very expensive) land, since the hegemony treats land as a commodity.
- One option is to try to be as ethical a consumer as you can, perhaps buy fairtrade coffee, or choose only organic natural fibre clothes rather than plastic. But that relies on there being enough capitalists trying to capture the "ethical" market and so disclosing what their supply chains are like. This is an impossible option for the vast majority of commodities most people buy.
Is there an established literature on the ethics of this participation?