38. Christmas, 2014

Our society is increasingly superficial. We take what is given and we don't question it. We expect nothing more than sound-bite information and quick-fix psychology. We no longer want information that isn't readily apparent. We don't dig deeper or apply our minds or our understanding. We don't question the pabulum the media serves us, but we should. Many people give gifts this time of year. One of the reasons I write these essays is because they allow me to discover things beneath the surface. I wrote an essay in 2011 (see #5) that surprised me because I hadn't seen it coming, so I'd like to go back and revisit the topic of slavery. Most of us only think of slavery as part of our unpleasant, long-ago cultural heritage, but slavery is more prominent now than it ever has been in the history of the world.

According to the website Products of Slavery, there are over 12,000,000 adults and children making products to be sold--in actual slavery. You could say anyone who is producing products to be sold who is not being paid a living wage is to some degree in slavery. However, this would increase the Products of Slavery number substantially. Slavery can be broken into three broader categories:

Indentured servitude
Virtual slavery
Actual slavery

I worked in the trades for a dozen years before I went to college. I worked hard and was well paid. I belonged to a union. Hard work deserves being paid a living wage. Those in manufacturing deserve to make a living wage. So I ask you to be careful with your purchases. Look at the labels to see where the products are made and don't buy products that were likely made by people not being paid a living wage. There are not enough countries in the world where you can be certain the government is accountable enough to their citizens to protect their workers from this type of exploitation. Slavery in all of its forms is not possible with out the consumer--I repeat slavery in all of its forms is not possible without the consumer! THIS MEANS YOU! So please do not be a selfish consumer. Do not be a greedy consumer. Do not be a slave-mongering consumer. If you are going to give a gift to someone, do not make your loved ones complicit in the continuation of slavery. Give a gift to all of humanity and do not support slavery with your purchases. Give a gift to all of humanity and boycott slavery in all of its forms. Give a gift to all of humanity and boycott products made by slaves.

Note: If you're unsure which countries protect their citizens, visit the Products of Slavery website (see link) and remember a government that doesn't protect every worker won't protect any worker.

Products of Slavery
originally posted December 2014
reposted March 2018

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