Chris MacDonald’s Latest Post: Boycotting BP Is Futile and Unethical

Professor MacDonald has an interesting post today (It’s dated June 9th.).

Here is an excerpt –

Professor Chris MacDonald

… there’s the fact that a boycott of BP gas stations won’t actually hurt the organization you’re trying to hurt. In practice, “boycotting BP” means boycotting BP-branded retail outlets. And as an editorial in the LA Times pointed out, “BP stations are independently owned, so a boycott hurts individual retailers more than London-based BP.” So, sure, boycott BP stations — that is, if your goal is to hurt a bunch of small businesses already operating on razor-thin profit margins. Put a few minimum-wage gas jockeys and cashiers out of work. The difference simply will not be felt at BP’s head office. (The same naturally goes for vandalism of BP stations, which is both unethical and criminal.)

I wanted to do something to hurt the company’s profits. But MacDonald is quite right. A boycott would be ineffective.

His reasoned argument is better than my emotional response but isn’t that the way it always is, reason defeats emotion if given time?

I can add to his argument, that Loren Steffy of the Houston Chronicle business page has been suggesting in his last three blog posts that British Petroleum is likely to wind up in bankruptcy or acquired by another company. What effect will a boycott have on that situation? None as far as I can tell. Not to mention that the enormous losses arising out of the current disaster are far more economically damaging then anything a boycott could approach. It seems likely that the company will perish on its own.

James Pilant

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