SPIRITUALITY, FAIR TRADE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
12
September
2013

Blog #1: Using Our Purchasing Power/Disposable People

Disposable People:
-"It is this illegal labor that usually goes unnoticed once the popular crustacean enters the global market making it nearly impossible to track down."
-"When you thaw shrimp to put on your barbecue, it’s likely that the last person who handled that shrimp was a slave."
-"There are 27 million slaves in the world today."
-"It is possible to end slavery in 25 years."

Using Our Purchasing Power:
-"We know what it is like to be victims. We see the pictures on television and we can't send money, but it gives us joy to be able to help our brothers and sisters in the USA through the sale of our products. Never in my life did I think that would be able to give money to help an American."

Response:


Slavery is a serious topic discussed in classrooms in America due to its grim history. However, when we are taught about slavery it is taught to us as if it is a thing of the passed. This promotes ignorance of the subject, which is as much of a concern (maybe even more of a concern) now than it was over the past few centuries. I knew slavery still existed in some parts of the world, such as in Sierra Leone to mine for diamonds, but I did not realize the number of slaves was so large: 27 million! It's scary to think that a lot of the products we deal with on a daily basis may have involved slave labor. What frightens me even more, is that we cannot ever really know which products use illegal labor and which do not. However, it is reassuring to hear that we can put an end to slavery within the next couple decades if we all work together. Even though it is possible to end slavery, the fact that the use of slave labor is unknown when buying products makes me question if conscious consumers really are helping put an end to the problem, or just continuing it.

I was extremely inspired by the quote I posted from the text after I read it for the first time. It made me realize that there is hope in solving humanities issues. The artisans know what it is like to be the victim from living in poverty all of their lives, so they did what they could to help the victims from Hurricane Katrina. This struck me because we don't often think of how the less fortunate can help us, but how we can help the less fortunate. The artisans have a different view; they view the world as a family, referring to us as their "brothers and sisters." This made me realize how important creating a global relationship is. It creates an environment of harmony and selflessness, in which the goal is the common good of the people and not the individual. American culture strongly supports individualism which often causes us to overlook global problems and focus more on what is happening at home. The artisans do not value individualism as strongly as Americans, which is why even though they are in poverty they still want to help those who are also struggling to support their global family. I was also inspired by the empowering feeling the artisans received by helping the Katrina victims. Even though they still rely on our help to make sure they receive fair wages a difference, they were able to feel like they too made a difference by donating their profits. It's that type of feeling that gives us the spiritual nourishment Emily spoke to us about in class.



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