In reply to: Veganism would devastate the economy and cause massive unemployment
The claim that veganism would devastate the economy and cause massive unemployment seems to be one of the most concerning objections to veganism and animal rights. After all, animal agriculture is a major segment of the economies of all industrialized nations. This objection is, however, defeated by a closer examination of the topic.
Economies will have ample time to adjust.
It's beyond improbable that everyone would go vegan at once. It will happen gradually, over a period of years or maybe even decades. As with past shifts in consumer preferences, economic resources and jobs will shift to accommodate the movement away from animal products.
Such shifts are not unusual. We are now witnessing a shift away from fossil fuels to more sustainable sources of energy, including a switch from gasoline-engine-powered cars to electric cars. The trend toward internet sales is continuing to cause job movement. In the past, we have seen a shift from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy to an information economy. In all these cases, new opportunities are created as others are diminished or eliminated.
Most would choose principles over a beneficial economic impact.
Although people frequently make purchasing choices based on pricing and principles, it seems that few make choices on the basis of their national economy.
Imagine a country named Tobaccastan, whose economy depended on the sale of cigarettes. If you lived there, would you refuse to stop smoking because it would hurt the economy if everyone quit? Would you sacrifice your health and the health of others for the health of the economy? This example, while not perfect, does shed light on the nature of our purchasing choices.
Veganism benefits the economy.
As illustrated here and by other sources, animal agriculture unnecessarily harms innocent animals, is destructive to the environment, damages human health, and contributes to human impoverishment. The last three of these put a strain on the economy. Because of this, veganism is a net benefit to any economy, especially over time.
This article was originally authored by Greg Fuller and copyedited by Isaac Nickerson. The contents may have been edited since that time by others.