Do Vendor Politics Matter?


Do politics matter when you make a purchase decision? Or does the product speak for itself, with the actions and beliefs of the people behind it irrelevant?

The latest case to raise these questions involves file-sharing service The Pirate Bay, now on trial in Sweden for copyright violation claims. Wired delicately describes backer Carl Lundström as an "independently wealthy and slightly eccentric business man. His detractors point to a past in nationalist politics."

The Register describes him as "Pirate Bay's neo-Nazi sugar daddy" and "one of the most notorious fascists in Europe," citing alleged links to violence and extremist parties.

Adding to the fun: Wired's correspondent is a self-described "leading critic in Sweden of intellectual 'property' in the digital age," which makes his objectivity open to question.

Should the allegations matter to would-be consumers of Pirate Bay's services?

Boycotts and whisper campaigns based on the politics of owners are frequent enough. The anti-abortion activities of Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, for example, have attracted attention, as have the lefty politics of many Hollywood stars. People do base purchase decisions on these things.

Big name tech companies have been headed by various cranks and jerks, but real political controversy has been scarce. Still, the Pirate Bay story makes me wonder: what would it take for you to cross a company off your vendor list?


15 Comments for "Do Vendor Politics Matter?"

  • Tech CEO March 20, 2009 9:32 am

    I would never knowlingly do business with a compny that supports the violation of anyone's civil rights or spreads hatred based on bigotry. It seems we forget that this country was founded to escape from oppression, the Boston Tea Party occured because we wanted to be free from taxation to support people who were not contributing to our infrastructure. We need to understand that capitalism tempered with morality is what made this country great. Socialism supports the efforts of only the presious few at the top and everyone else is asked to work hard and conform so that the country functions and those at the top enjoy success while the remainder work only to survive. Bottom line is that business does need to make money but not at the expense of oppression and discrimination, use your dollars to vote and you will change how things work.

  • Mike Russo March 10, 2009 6:42 am

    It doesn't matter or so it would seem, whether the political leanings of any entity or individual matters at all any more. The demoratic party is the largest neo-nazi group in the world and has seized control of the American Government with the support of the American people. Does anyone think that this article is really relevant? If the product works and is supported by the Manufacture is all that matters not what the political philosophy of the company happens to be. MADE IN CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get the point?

  • 2Veteran March 09, 2009 5:27 pm

    Well Veteran, Your generic criticisms against "lefties" would be more valuable if you were able to identify the company you represent since, as a so-called "leftie", I could make the decision to avoid your company altogether. As it stands, you simply come across as a mindless bigot.

  • Rich Peat-Hanna March 08, 2009 12:41 pm

    It makes sense to vote with your dollars. Extremists do it all the time. We as informed, centrist citizens should do so as well. Money does come before social responsibility in the minds of some. It is not a black or white decision to place it there. It should be thoughtful and well reasoned and aligned to your own personal and social values. Why support failed policies and politics out of a sense of financial responsibility? If you take a broad view of the financial impact of such policies, it is clear that they have failed both financially and socially.

  • Lazar Videnov (from a former communist country) March 05, 2009 7:00 am

    I think more important here is WHO labels somebody "extreme" or "biased" or "questionable", rather thatn would you cross off a company from your list because of politics. Who has the right to stand as a last and true (?!) opinion and say this person/business is good and another person/business is bad? No matter of the great communication technologies we have today, it has become easier to manipulate and conceal truth. Ironically in the communist countries it is absolutely clear who is the last judge of everything, but who is the last judje in the other world that we hope is better? My answer is do not trust blindly everything you read or hear from media and especially from politicians. Think yourself and make smart decisions. That means I cannot say and it is stupid to cross-off a company because of politics. Although I would like to do it most times, but it may be absolutely stupid. Why don't we ban Microsoft or IBM, because thay pay taxes in US and finance the war in Iraq? Why not buy petrol from Venezuela if it is cheap?

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