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Modern Slavery?


Like most people, I look back on people who "owned" or benefited from slaves and think "How did they not know it was wrong?". Depending on how you define it, you could argue that we are not much better (me included of course). Do you think people in the future will ask the question I asked about us?

Most people who benefited from slaves in those days never saw one. The slaves made the goods (e.g. cotton/rice/sugar) that were consumed far away in the rich countries. Today I can go into Primark (cheap clothes store) and buy a shirt for £4 (about 6 dollars). I know that the person who made the cotton and the person who sewed the shirt must have been paid almost nothing if the shop can afford to sell the shirt so cheaply. I also know that most of that £4 is going on the shop and the western shop staff. I could say the same about foods or ipads or a whole host of things. I am complicit in the abuse of these workers...

Then you get the counter arguments:

In these poor countries there isn't much work and this job is the difference between eating and not eating. This industry will lead to development, allowing the people to work themselves out of poverty. It opens trade links which then allow investment. Put simply, this is capitalism, the person may only get a dollar a week but it is better than no dollar at all. By buying the shirt I am keeping food on the table of this worker and his family…

I have my own opinion but I will let a few others speak first...

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