American Boycott

Happy CNY!Our dearest former PM has recently suggested that Malaysians should show our disgust at the events happening in Gaza by boycotting American companies and products. I guess that he meant that we should stop doing things like buying our Frappucinos from Starbucks. This had many of our local franchisees up in arms as they feared for their businesses (never mind the fact that our dearest former PM was the one who encouraged local bumiputera businessmen to engage in franchise businesses).

The fact that our country is so small, means that any boycott that we engage in, would inadvertently only harm ourselves. If we wish to use economic power as a way to send a message to certain super powers, it needs to be coordinated internationally. Farish Noor mentioned in his recent blog, some previous examples where such tactics were successfully employed in applying economic pressure on political regimes.

In addition, the boycotts would need to be directed at very specific entities. A blanket ban on all American products is stupid as we will ultimately feel the problems ourselves. So, the boycotts should be targeted at specific companies that invest heavily in Israel and be coordinated globally to have any sort of affect on them. Now, that is the difficult bit to achieve.

As for myself, I have been doing a quick mental inventory of things that I buy. Surprisingly, I have already been avoiding many American made products, particularly those with investments in Israel. For example, I typically buy either AMD or VIA based computer systems and not Intel ones. As for software, I have avoided Microsoft products like the plague and they have investments in Israel too. So, even though I have not been actively trying to boycott US companies with investments in Israel, I have been doing it anyway.

I cannot avoid using Google though.

PS: I like the fact that our government had convened a special session of parliament to discuss the war perpetrated by a state that our country does not recognise. I wonder how does one send a message to an entity that does not exist.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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