Mass Consumption part 2

28 Aug

Last month I wrote a short post called Mass Consumption. In it I explained that I had been thinking about how much money we do or don’t pay for material goods and if this could change.

There is a store in the UK called Primark and they sell very (and I mean very) cheap clothing. It reminds me of my Walmart experiences only Primark only really sell clothes. These cheap clothes are obviously made in sweat shops, probably by women and children who work long hours for very little pay. Consciously I’ve decided not to shop there, but I am aware that there are other places where I shop where things are probably made by poorly paid staff working very long hours; I’m just not aware of it.

I love fairtrade products but I’m also aware that they are expensive, especially when you’ve got kids and bills to pay etc. Sadly as people continue to buy items made in sweat shops so the demand for products continues. I wonder if working conditions change and indeed if the workers receive a pay rise as the companies in question are making millions in profit? My question is, how do we stop companies from exploiting people in poorer countries so that they stand up and take notice? Given the current economic situation, how do we encourage others to think about where they shop? If you only have $10 in your wallet and have to buy your child some clothes then you go where you can afford. How does this endless circle change for the good of everyone? I’m aware of organizations pushing for change, but find myself wondering if they are making a difference as it’s not obvious in the shops. Answers on a postcard …

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2 Responses to “Mass Consumption part 2”

  1. lynhallewell August 31, 2008 at 10:24 #

    A very insightful two cents! Thanks. It certainly is a complicated issue and does require a heart change through Christ – love.

  2. sonja September 1, 2008 at 03:00 #

    Lyn, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. In addition, I now have fashion conscious teens to deal with as well. (rolls eyes!!)

    There are no easy answers. But one thing I found shockingly easy was the scene in Gandhi when he gave up his “Western” clothes for Indian homespun for much the same reasons. Then he said, “Poverty is the worst violence of all.” And I begin to think that the cycles of poverty/violence that we all participate in must somehow be broken somewhere. I don’t quite know how. But I think they begin with little steps and things like beginning to think hard about what and how we buy. The steps we each take will be different … but all of them will help. Every little drop will help to fill the ocean.

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