Sexy Hippy

The price of low prices
July 2, 2007, 5:05 am
Filed under: People

There is a reason like 95% of our stuff has those little, gold stickers that say “Made in China”. There are probably several reasons, but this one was really hit home by this recent story:

The short and tall of it is that we strive to buy our clothing, furniture and knicknacks for the lowest price possible. But the only price we are considering is how much comes out of our bank account. There are many costs that we choose to ignore because they seem far removed from us.

Our ‘low prices’ are won by reducing production costs. Most goods we purchase directly require human labour to produce (gluing /sewing pieces together, running machines, etc). Reducing production costs for these goods means reducing expenditures on workers. And sometimes ‘staying competitive’ requires capturing and tricking people into slavery, keeping them in kilns, and starving and beating them. But I suppose some would say that is the nature of capitalism — those who can, will, in rational self-interest for one’s own success.

We as consumers are equally responsible. Seriously, equally. We provide business to those employers. Without our demand for cheap, mass-produced goods, they would have no motivation to supply. Out of sight doesn’t have to mean out of mind. Think about the workers who have made the products you are buying. If the enjoyment you get from your purchase will counter the suffering endured by the people who made the product (and seriously, some of them are *slaves* being kept in *kilns*), please let me know what you’ve bought, because I want to get one.


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