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On The Price Of Blue Jeans

August 17, 2011

 

 

 

Once in a while I try to be honest with myself and face the facts of my life and one of those is that for me to buy my Levis cheap down at the Walmart, there must be child labor in the third world.  The same goes for my sneakers and t-shirts and all the gidgets and gadgets I buy for my daughter. I’ve noticed that many of these toys say “Made In China” and reports are that the working conditions there aren’t exactly first rate.

The fact is that we live in a world set up so that by merely living and acquiring such commodities that my family needs, to the best of my limited means, I must support slave labor, child labor and a global litany of sins it would take a lifetime to regret.

I don’t really know how the world got this way and I certainly don’t know how we can change it, but I believe we have to shake out this idea we have of “The American Dream’ and beat the mold off of it.

How much do we need?  How many bedrooms in our giant houses and cars in our garages?  How much of the crap we pile up in our closets and put into storage because we’ve run out of room do we need to be happy?

Corporate America, in cahoots with local warlords and despots, bleeds third world countries nearly to death taking most of their natural resources at cut rate prices and feeds our consumerism with the cheap labor of the impoverished populations that we helped create.

The great American Dream lives on the sweat and hunger of the third world.  Then we send them a couple Peace Corps volunteers and a truck load of rice and expect them to worship us.

We consume, by an enormous margin, more resources than anyone, both as a nation and individually.

Our government croons promises to end want in the world while cutting contracts with regimes that forbid labor movements and freedom of speech.

Except for those in stubborn denial, we all know this.  We read the papers and watch CNN.  We know that the quickest way to get into a war with America is to threaten our pocketbook and I don’t care how much horse hockey our current regimes is spewing about bringing freedom and justice to whatever country we’re barging around in.  We’re there for their money.

Myths of freedom seekers aside, the new world was colonized by merchants, swindlers and sharpers looking to make a buck and often just one step ahead of a warrant back in the old country.  We are a nation born of greedy shylocks with their eyes fast to the bottom line.

It should be no wonder that the American Dream is built on wealth we’ve swindled out of the rest of the world.

But its a seductive thing, that dream, and the uneducated, malnourished teens that sew up the spandex pants we need to cover fat American butts are, as they work, scheming how to get here and cut themselves in.

It’s obvious that if we really want to do anything about world poverty we must do a recount and redistribute the shares.  Will this ever happen?  I don’t think so but, at least, we could be honest about it.

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