BEN OLSEN | Scroll Illustration

Los Angeles is moving to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to CNBC.

If minimum wage is raised and big businesses don’t change the way they run things, they will increase the price   of living.

Maybe small businesses should be able to negotiate their own wages with employees, but if and when minimum wage is raised, big businesses have the most power over the cost of living.

If they knowingly refuse to alter the way they do business, we have to hold them responsible. Businesses stepping up and being more ethical is the only way to secure the free market’s future.

Corporations and big businesses build themselves on unethical business practices too often, and we’re letting it slide. Bottled water companies, like Nestle and Crystal Geyser, continue to use up water in California despite the extreme water crisis, according to the Sacramento Bee.

USA Today recently published a multi-year investigative study revealing that biolabs all over the country are putting people in danger with regular mistakes in the handling of seriously hazardous material.

If minimum wage is raised, damage will be done unless big businesses change the way they distribute their money.

If California’s water crisis gets any worse, bottling water could ruin the state. If oversights aren’t fixed, biolabs could contaminate entire communities.

Clearly, something needs to change.

The time for overlooking damaging business practices has passed.

Big businesses, the groups with deep pockets and the people handling the more dangerous parts of our country’s and worlds’ future have got to step up.

We can no longer carry on with the attitude of “big business will be big business, and it’s not going to change.”

We can see where that’s gotten us already. Taco Bell and Ikea have both had horse meat scandals.

Walmart gets complaints regularly about treatment of employees. How many biolabs have lost vials of  biological terror? Apparently, not even the government knows that one, according USA Today.

It’s nearly impossible to consume products ethically in today’s global economy. Every shirt purchased, every burger eaten tells the story of someone being treated poorly.

It’s time for us to start paying attention to this kind of thing.

The companies we rely on for bottled water, the companies that refuse to cut corporate wages to support their workers, the labs who are putting us in danger, they have to be held responsible, and the people letting horrible decisions filter down to the bottom of their respective barrels have to stand against it.

The more we let big companies get away with whatever they want, the further they’ll push the boundaries.

We can’t fix every problem, and there will always be someone being treated poorly, but as stewards of the earth, as our brother’s keeper, we cannot just ignore this.

We have to hold these groups responsible for their actions.

If our freedom allows us to do anything as long as we aren’t hurting others, why are we allowing companies to do things that could hurt many more people?

We have to stop supporting businesses that knowingly put people at risk, and should expect them to change their practices. If we don’t, we deserve the ruin they’ll bring.

Approved by an 20-0 vote of the Scroll editorial board.