I discovered that my mother owns an American flag with a “Made in China” tag on it. It’s times like this when I wish I owned a camera. Pictures can be far more effective than words at conveying such symbolic irony.
So what am I implying? That I’m against the advancing global economy? Not entirely. But when corporations move their factories overseas and cut deals with oppressive governments that put children to work in sweatshops for five cents an hour*, support lucrative violence and genocide (look up East Timor, and let’s not forget the diamond industry), and buy up indigenous resources so the citizens are forced to work for the corporations in order to pay for things they once obtained for free, then, yeah, I guess I have a problem.
But, hey, it makes for inexpensive products at Wal-Mart like U.S. flags.
Keep shopping cheap, America. You’re only helping to screw over less fortunate people thousands of miles away. Out of sight, out of mind. Right? We can all afford to be ignorant—literally speaking, that is.
* I recently watched a pro-Wal-Mart video filled with straw men, biased statistics, and flimsy anecdotal evidence. In it they tried to justify child labor by claiming that it provided work for children who might otherwise seek money from prostitution in order to pay for bare necessities. Here’s an idea: Pay parents a living wage so their children don’t have to work at all! How big an asshole do you have to be to justify child labor? (And if you want to consider the plight of third world workers, ask them personally how they feel about their situation instead of consulting a lone economist analyzing money matters from afar.)