A major piece of the puzzle in sustainability, which is often overlooked in the “fashionably-green” consumer movement, is sweat-shop labour. One of the most important of our natural resources is human-beings’ own time and energy. The idea that we can live prosperously off the sweat of another human’s brow is a continuation of an imperialist mindset that has parlayed its way into our current global economy.

We get goods that have been manufactured by companies that pay slave wages and hours to work in unsafe factory conditions. These manufacturers become the only means of local employment is some regions and devastate the land and human resources.  This is the reason we can buy stuff cheap. The price we pay represents very few of the human costs incurred in this process.

These costs will come back on us, because during the process of sending our manufacturing oversees, we have given much of our nations wealth over to a smaller percentage of the national and global population. This is the wealth that was, at one time, held by our very own middle-class. The evidence that our country previously experienced a different kind of prosperity is shown in the fact that there was a time that a blue-color manufacturing job could secure a salary and benefits that were on par with someone else who may have received a masters degree in their feild. This is becoming more and more rare.

For the sake of our brothers and sisters in other countries we should buy fair-trade, for our own sake we should bring manufacturing home and buy Made-in-the-USA, and for the sake of the world we should make that manufacturing sustainable, small-scale, local.

It doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way the wind blows, it doesn’t take an ecomonist to see we are in a pickle, and it doesn’t take an expert of any kind to come up with COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS to all the difficulties we face (but they can help too!).


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