I scanned this from my Equal Exchange Fairly Traded Organic Chai Small Farmers Big Change tea packaging. It is a picture of a brown person ‘slaving’ and i don’t know why that is in quotes because working on a plantation in modern day is still slavery, slaving away picking tea on a tea plantation. I was so encouraged to learn that this woman is toiling now under a new model, a co-operative, so she gets to share in the profits from her labor.
OK. So why do i write today? Because we can say, THANK YOU, for the plantation. Not the brutal, violent, exploitative, arrogant, elitist, capitalist, system that brought the tea plantation to us, but now that it’s there, well, now we have the field cultivated and the system in place to grow, market, sell, and distribute the crop. Thank you Queen Victoria.
no, that is going too far. but, oh…. what DO i mean? Turning poison into medicine.
Take WalMart. WalMart is ‘everything wrong with America’ as was stated by a good friend of mine. It turned supply-side economics on its head. Now instead of a manufacturer saying, this is how much it costs me to make this product. I will sell it to you for $x amount. Walmart said, this is how much we will pay you to make this product. And if you can’t make it that cheaply then we will buy it someplace else. We own you. It caused good manufacturing jobs to be shipped overseas where there are no labor unions, no environmental regulations, no OSHA, no paid leave, no workmen’s comp, no child labor laws, no 40-hour work week. All those people wanted jobs though and now they’re part of the machine…. but i digress. Not only that, it put mom and pop stores out of business, destroyed our small towns, and flooded our homes with cheap ‘stuff.’
So, now what? Don’t shop at Walmart. OK. Don’t shop at Walmart. Good for you. But the truth is, we lost that war. Walmart has been here for 20 years (30?) and it is not going anywhere. What’s next? Well, the good news is, if WalMart decides to change one thing, then the change ripples through the whole globe. Good things can happen as well as bad. For example, they decided to reduce waste in packaging. That has an enormous impact on our landfills. If they decide to raise wages and benefits, then millions of employees benefit. If they decide to sell locally grown organic produce, then organic farmers will benefit.