No Other Option: Exploitation Of The Third World

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see too many nativists or anti-migrant organization pushing for the real solutions to our immigration issue which has a lot to do with the way our companies and country treats these people abroad.  Rather than promoting fair labor and sustainability in other countries these angry groups only seek to build walls and terror tactics to keep them from coming here.  With this thought I bring you the video titled "The Story of Stuff" which explains how American greed and consumerism is aiding the destruction of economies and environment abroad.

"Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life. That we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals. That we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever accelerated rate.


 

If the nativists want the migrants to "stay home" then they need to start supporting better treatment of these people in their own countries by our corporations. American greed fuels the terrible treatment of both people and natural resources abroad which leads to their migration away from the environment we've created.

From the video:

"That's the beauty of this system. The erosion of local environments and economies here ensures a constant supply of people with no other option."

Companies externalize the true cost of production. Who actually pays for this stuff? Don't you ever question how in the world some items can be made so cheaply?

They're paid for by all the people that had to sacrifice their environment, health, economies and natural resources.

Our primary identity has become that of consumers. We are not mothers, fathers, friends and neighbors we're just machines that drive the engine of capitalism.

Only 1% of the things we buy are still in use 6 months later. We need to develop local living economies.

When our country was in shock after 9/11 and the president could have suggested any number of things - the grieve, to pray, to hope - no he said to shop.

"Our enormously productive economy...demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption...we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate." - Victor LeBeau

Another key component is corporate responsibility within the United States. The beauty of our system is that rarely does a citizen ever find themselves as the one with "no other option." Instead it's the migrant that ends up in terrible factories producing those things that we need to sustain life.

Third world countries are exploited because they have "no other option." These people are seen as expendable having little value in the eyes of the 'developed' world. In many cases just beyond the camera some television special on the wonders of the world lives an impoverished group watching the beauty captured by the cameras being torn away.

In a story on child labor used to harvest bananas in Ecuador the author states:

The question they never ask is: Compared to what? But people for whom indignation is a way of life seldom pause to compare the available options. Instead, they are ready to foreclose some of the options of poor people, who have painfully few options to begin with.

This is where the issue of immigration can be injected. Why is it that we're allowed to take from these countries, but when their people want to come here we feel we have the right to say no? Is it any wonder they want to leave the mess we leave behind?

Two years ago Greenpeace produced a report that McDonald's, America's most beloved and well-known fast food chain, was contributing greatly to the rainforest destruction in Brazil. Not only is land cleared for growing animal feed, but it's also cleared to fuel the paper need of McDonald's and other chains.

Walmart has found that third world labor is far better than the American labor is once celebrated. If Wal-Marts goal was to help bring prosperity to these countries there efforts would be applauded, but the truth is they exploit the cheap labor of the 'other.' The 'other' being those people we can't see who are different from us and too far away to have empathy for. When our own people were treated this way we fought like hell to stop it.

While the third world gets the blunt of corporate greed (which is fueled and made possible by consumer greed) even small town America is susceptible. As companies like Nestle, known more for its wacky bunny character than its heavy handed tactics, comes barging in to small towns trying to bottle their water until the well runs dry.

Check out Nestle's "Goal and Philosophy." See if you can find the part where they show concern about the environment or the communities they get their water from. It's just not there. Their concern is how they can effectively steal the worlds natural resources and sell them back to us.

Our goal is to produce our product under the safest and the healthiest conditions in order to perfectly cover the final consumers' needs and expectations and to reach the consumer by sales and marketing teams which adopts the total quality management with the mentality of high quality product and eminent maintenance.

In this press release Nestle touts its venture with Coca-Cola in Indonesia as a great profit making scheme for its investors. It's not secret that Indonesia is a poor country and many residents don't have proper access to clean water. However, Nestle tells its investors that Indonesia is the "seventh largest bottled water market in the world."

My little write-up is nothing compared to what's out there. So watch the videos, do your own research, write something and tack it on to the comments section of this post or link to your blog. Let's work together to ensure that exploiting people and countries with "no other option" is no longer an option for these predatory companies.

(check out another great write-up on this video at Reality Sandwiches)


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I recently had the honor of writing a profile of Annie Leonard, creator of Story of Stuff, for the Sept/Oct 2008 issue of Women's Adventure Magazine. She is an amazing activist doing very important work.

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This page contains a single entry by symsess published on September 28, 2008 8:40 AM.

Two Pro-Migrant Bills In Congress: Protecting Vulnerable U.S. Citizens was the previous entry in this blog.

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