“With great power, comes great responsibility.” Pretty much everyone knows that this line comes from the movie Spiderman, but virtually no one practices it (at least it seems that way). Being American, we have a lot of power, even as individuals. We are part of the most successful, influential, and dominate country in the world. So, we have a lot of responsibility that we need to strive to uphold. But how far should we be responsible for something, especially if we are not directly linked to the problem.
For example, we buy products that are made by slaves in third world countries. Should only the business that makes the products be held responsible for supporting slavery or should the consumer be held responsible as well? Did the consumer technically do anything wrong even if they knew that the product was probably made by slaves? Does even ignorance exempt the consumer from being blamed, since slavery is such a major and terrible problem?
If consumers were held responsible for buying such products, pretty much everyone would be incriminated. Take a look around your room. Probably half of the things you own are somehow made by slaves in another country. Unfortunately, the alternative option to that slave-made product is probably a much more expensive kind that you might not be able to afford (since you now have to buy a lot of expensive products that are not made by slaves).
So what should people do? Not buy things that they need, because they feel responsible to help stop slavery or ignore the problem and buy these products, because they did not directly enslave people to make the product? And should people feel guilty when buying these products? Or should they take the attitude that they didn’t start the process of enslaving people who made the product, so they shouldn’t have to feel bad?