Gain possessions justly (Δικαιως κτω) Delphic Maxim #64
Acquire wealth justly (Πλουτει δικιως) Delphic Maxim #117
I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out just what, exactly, can be said about these two (fairly redundant) maxims, that shouldn’t be patently obvious. And then The Hubby pointed out something else that should have been even more patently obvious–these maxims can’t be all that obvious, considering the economic issues over the last few years. So, I guess it might be a good idea to talk about just acquisition after all.
1) What does it mean to acquire things justly?
I’d guess that part of the problem here is that people have different ideas of what a “just acquisition” is…but here are my ideas (in brief):
- Paid for with a fair price
- Purchased from a reputable source that treats their employees equitably
- Manufactured in a manner that has the least harm for the environment
2) What keeps us from acquiring things justly?
Ignorance–Sometimes we just don’t know. It would take more time, effort, and energy than most of us have to research each and every supply and supplier we dealt with on a daily basis.
Need–Sometimes we might know, but can’t do too much about it. When the pennies are being pinched, you might be stuck shopping at the cheapest store, regardless of how they treat their employees, or you buy the less environmentally friendly *whatever* because it costs about half as much.
Greed–Sometimes we know, we don’t need (or can afford otherwise), and just don’t care.
3) Where does that leave me?
I never ended up blogging about it, but last year I did a little social experiment. One week, I tried to do my shopping entirely with American-made products. The following week I tried to only buy things that didn’t use plastic packaging, and then I tried to not buy anything where I couldn’t understand the words in the ingredient list, and then I tried making a list of everything I knew I wanted to buy and researched the “best” brand, and then the stores that they could be found at. It was the worst month for shopping ever. All four weeks I was over-budget without getting everything we needed, all four weeks it turned a two hour shopping trip into an all day inconvenience, and the third week left me with more work during the week than I was able to get done (and I already do quite a bit from scratch/the long way). I can’t imagine if I had tried to do all of those things at once…
So I guess that leaves us doing the best we can, and the best we can afford in our day to day lives…and hoping the people at the top are making decisions that we (and our children’s children) can live with (and supposing that they probably aren’t).