Claim: All modern society is exploitative


The claim here is that all modern living is exploitative so it doesn't matter whether or not you go vegan. Examples include:

  1. "Rail workers that deliver your vegan food are
  2. "Vegans use cell phones which rely on exploitative factories
  3. "Workers pick fruit which requires exploitation"

Problems With This Argument

1. The scale of animal agriculture is massive

Any claimed industry is typically concerned about some small fraction of people that are "exploited" in some fashion that is just not comparable. Rail workers not getting their appropriate pensions is terrible, sure, but it's hard to imagine that one could justify the billions of land animals slaughtered worldwide by appealing to some comparatively small injustice like that.

2. Trade is complicated

Similarly, there are issues within factories in third-world countries one should consider when buying these goods. But these systems replace essentially zero industrialization and are a product of people in those countries fleeing poverty in the farmlands and seeking out jobs in the city, where these cheap labor shops have established themselves. Yes, we should definitely support increases in the standards in these factories and oppose disastrous trade policy that slows this progress down, but it's impossible to elevate them all instantly to a modern industrialized society. China has had to go through some similar processes. The point here is that this is a complicated geopolitical issue.

Animal agriculture by comparison is easy. Stop having animals live in squalor wallowing in their own feces and/or throwing them alive into shredders and gas chambers. It's that simple.

3. This is an argument against being judgmental but not against veganism

It also doesn't make sense to discount the vegan claim that one should stop eating animal products. Suppose I endorse the idea that one shouldn't steal cars because it's unethical to make someone lose their cars. "Well, cars are lost to car accidents, fires, maintenance issues, etc. So there's no way to prevent ALL car losses." Ok, but that still doesn't make it ok to steal cars.

Furthermore, if someone else is doing something else that is unethical, even if you claim that it's exactly what you're doing but to a lesser extent, that is still unethical to do.

4. You can walk and chew bubblegum

Be against both things if you think both things are unethical. It doesn't actually solve the issue to say that you can't do one because it necessitates doing the other.

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[Claim: All modern society is exploitative](