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June 25, 2007

Comments

HempyDave

I run a small privite label store that carrys mostly great items made in Canada from good material and the consumer is not demanding cheaper goods. Corperations are trying to under cut good cloths sellers and by demanding cheap crap they can foist apon an often guilable, propagandized or terrorized customer.Big box stores pratice perditory pricing till the little guys are all gone.Not helping are city officals who want the small stores out of the downtown core,so they can drive down the price of real estate ,making it cheap for the bribe paying developers to buy and bulldose all small store fronts leaving nothing but Big store s full of crap made by slave labor for a goverment that sells the body parts of unwilling live donors who worship unpopular religions to rich americans.
Grow a spine and only pay local people to make things for the local market and stop buring tons of fuel,shipping crap to poison us while filling our landfills to over flowing.

Harvey Chan

Hey HempyDave

Got your comments. Thanks. As I said on this blog and on the MEC section on Ethical Sourcing, there are many right answers. And yours is one of them.

"Grow a spine" ouch.

Good luck on your biz.

Jeany

Good to read the discussion.

Since I cannot visit factories around the world I depend on places like MEC, Ten Thousand Villages and others to do the best they can to ensure fair wages and working conditions are enforced.

One irony I often find is that well paid union members in Canada (including in unions I've belonged to) want good wages and working conditions, but most don't try to buy accordingly. Even when I've shown them ethical sources of items, or ones that support local, union or fair shops, they go for the cheapest goods they can. They don't seem to see any connection between buying goods made at the expense of workers' health/environment/families/freedom ... and the loss of jobs or quality of goods here or offshore - me first seems to be their motto!

Thanks for your vigilance.

Harvey Chan

Hi Jeany,

Thanks for the frankness and encouragement. It's taken a long time for all of us to accept that our actions have a direct consequence on global warming. I think we will eventually realize our impact on the world abroad (as you insightfully write).

Cheers

HC.

Jason Town

The reason that most consumers in the Western world are demanding lower prices, or buying less expensive, cheaper goods, is that we are subject to the same downward pressure on wages that workers in the developing world are. Most workers have seen their "real" wages decline in the last 30 years while the myth of the middle class appears further away in the rearview mirror. Many people, like myself, want to support local producers and living wages for factory workers in developing countries and are not buying cheaper goods for any reason than that is all that we can afford. The real answer is multi-faceted and requires addressing inequality at home in the Global North and the developing South. The working class in one area of the world should not have to exploit the working class in another, but that is how our system is organized. I applaud MEC and Harvey Chan for taking steps to right these wrongs; it is, fortunately, easier for a co-operative to address these issues, but they do have to compete in a capitalist marketplace.

HC

Hi Jason,

Thanks for your support.

I've found in my interactions with many people from the "South", they tend to have a much sunnier view of their place in the world than our view of them.

Whereas for many Canadians, Asia is one giant sweat shop, for many Asians its just not so. It's a life full of opportunities and hardships.

Cheers

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