Tuesday, February 08, 2005

cheaper isn't always better

The following paragraphs are a condensed version of some comments on J-Wild's blog:

“…most of the day to day things we purchase come from countries that have far less regulation and afford their workers fewer rights than our own. [But] one company allows you to experience that sense of guilt free consumption, American Apparel. Every worker, from their cotton supplier to their sales person, makes a liveable wage and has health insurance. Their products are made in an environmentally responsible manner …other companies have followed this model as well, most notably Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.

As a result of these two companies admirable efforts to have proper business ethics, their products tend to cost more than the same products made outside of America's borders. A shirt at American Apparel costs $18. The same shirts at Old Navy might be poorer quality, but for $18 you can buy three shirts instead of one. For the most part Target, Wal-Mart, Old Navy, and other "big box" retailers are concerned with just providing low prices and pushing as much merchandise as possible.

What is our responsibility with regard to all of this? Is it realistic to take a "moral stand" in our purchases by buying products that are manufactured in an ethical manner? Is this just a concern for people who have enough disposable income to buy organic, free-range, or politically conscientious products? Given the information about American Apparel would you purchase your clothes from them instead of a place like Old Navy that uses products made overseas and out of reach of most regulation?”

A topic worthy of much thought.


Blogger J-Wild said...

I love how everytime it comes to taking the collection at Church we talk about money as our offering to God. That it's the physical embodiment of our work, rewards, and blessings. We give it back because we know it was given to us from God in the first place....yet we don't have that kind of "holy conscience" about it when we spend. It is such a hard...no wait...impossible thing to do. To always spend your money in moral ways and to ethical companies is just darn near impossible. But those kinds of odds don't stop me from being a Christian, and they shouldn't stop me from spending my money with a greater degree of thought than I normally do. I will probably still buy some things at Wal-Mart, and buy products from companies that aren't totally ethical...but I won't live in a state of denial about what my actions contribute to. That perhaps is half the battle.

There is a great documentary on Wal-Mart that anyone can watch on-line. Just click here.

11:05 PM  

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