[image source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/view/ ]
In Week 3's reading, there is an article about cheap labor and poor working conditions behind all the goods we buy- "Santa's Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it's Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift - and Under What Conditions." The article states, "6 in 10 Americans are concerned about working conditions under which products are made in the United States and more than 9 in 10 are concerned about the working conditions under which products are made in Asia and Latin America. But few consumers possess enough information to make informed buying decisions (8)." Although there are people who are concerned, this problem still occurs due to "Manufacturers [playing] contractor against contractor, constantly driving down prices for their goods (9)." There will always be desperate workers who need money and manufacturers and consumers who want to spend less. Even with the recommended steps within the article, in the end, people would rather purchase the cheapest product to save money. Take Wal-Mart for example. According to the online article, "Is Wal-Mart Good For America?" Wal-Mart and China have a joint relationship which includes cheap labor and cheap goods. In the article, a worker states, "If you want these low prices, then you go buy your products from Wal-Mart. But what does that actually do for this country? It's putting people out of work. And it's lowering our standard of living." The consumers who want to keep things cheap and foreign workers who are attracted to any form of labor keep stores like Wal-Mart alive. People's actions reflect whether there is benefit in it for them or not. Also, almost everyone shops for the cheapest products- who would stray from the norm? However, there is hope, such as student groups and the National Retail Federation that could spread more awareness and eventually stop this conflict. Even with this small hope, will it be enough to cause a change in the future? I even have friends who continue to buy cheap products... I am guilty of this as well... Our excuse is that we can't afford much since we are just college students. So then what will it take to change our minds and consuming habits? ...Is this where the Consumer Challenge kicks in...? ;)
[Consumer Challenge update]
I haven't bought anything that was not necessary. Again, I've been spending most of my money on eating out... I guess this challenge is good for me to not spend so much money but there's still that problem of eating out so much hahaha...
- Hope (Hyeon) Nam
[inside soure: Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman and Ito. "Santa's Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it's Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift - and Under What Conditions." Reader. ]
[outside source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/view/ ]