SPIRITUALITY, FAIR TRADE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
12
September
2013

Using Our Purchasing Power for Justice and Hope

1. The reading on Using Purchasing Power for Justice and Hope contained many biblical passages inserted into the reading, suggesting that the word of God influences the actions described. This passage offered moving statistics and stories of real people, including pictures which allows the reader to make a personal connection.
2. The Disposable People Website displayed facts about slavery that deeply affected me. In fact, I found myself rereading the facts multiple times in disbelief.

For me, most influential part of the Purchasing Power reading was the chart showing how the distribution channel affects the artisan's payment. In conventional trade, the artisan has no control over the price of the goods they produce and therefore, are often underpaid. The middleman, or retail seller, marks up the good by enormous margins, however, in order to keep the end price cheap enough for consumers only end up paying the artisan about five percent. When I saw this chart I began to question the products I own and where they came from. Most of my clothes are from undeveloped countries, and were most likely created by an underpaid artisan. I also began to question the food I eat and products I use every day. Typically, American consumers want to buy products and spend as little money as possible. Without even realizing it, the less money spent on a good results in less payment to an artisan.

Although this reading was very moving, and contained a great deal of information and pictures, I was most influenced by the Disposable People website. I navigated to the website, not totally sure what to expect, I saw was a scrolling list of facts at the top of the page. The first one that scrolled read "There are nearly 27 million slaves in the world today." I read and reread this post nearly ten times. I couldn't believe what I was reading. I had no idea slavery was this prevalent today. I felt a pit grow in my stomach as I kept reading. The facts continued to scroll and I learned that nearly half of the slaves in the world today are children. These children are abused physically, sexually, and above all, mentally. One of the articles featured on the website was about the harvesting of shrimp. Nearly every shrimp has been touched by a slave, most often a child slave. Once the shrimp enter the global market they are impossible to track; therefore, finding the enslaved children is also impossible. I have always been interested in Fair Trade but reading these facts entices me to forgo cheap clothing for clothing I know has been bought and sold fairly.



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