Saturday, September 23, 2006

Let the market work properly

I believe strongly in the ability of a fair marketplace to bring up the standard of living for all people. Unfortunately, the current market is tilted in favor of slave wages and race-to-the-bottom economics. I've read "The World if Flat" and "Freakonomics," and studied some Adam Smith and other economics, and applied uncommon sense to the whole mess, and it seems to me that buying goods produced under slave conditions is a sure way to death spiral into the same conditions here. How long can McJobs keep this country and its people afloat? I'm thinking we can't last much longer. We're a flu epidimic away from total collapse.

So I came up with an idea to help turn back this tide. Its simple, its cheap, and people of good conscience can get behind it.

I call it "Trade History." The concept is simple: any item importeted into the US for sale or consumption must have marked on its packaging a history of where it was manufactured (marked as city/state or province/country) and the wage payed per hour to the workers who worked on it at that location expressed both in dollars and in equivalent purchasing power (measured in percentage of living wage).

I figure we can also replicate the wildly successful national alert level system, and color code these labels, with each entry being blue for "good" (higher than living wage, with enough resources to provide for housing, food, education, and health care), green for "acceptable" (enough for housing, food, and basic health care, with a shot at education), yellow for "basic living wage," orange for "absolutely essentials barely covered," and red for "sweatshop/slave labor conditions." Also, if children were used during that step it would be black with a white border and have a cartoony picture of a sad crying child next to it.

Then, people can no longer claim ignorance or say that its all "political" when someone points out that their old navy performance fleece was sewn together by an eleven year old girl who has carpal tunnel syndrome from sewing the same stich for the last three years every day for 14 hours a day.

Not that the cowards in Washington DC have the spine to pass legislation mandating this on their own. We'll have to force them to.

If you like it, pass a link on. Let people know. Together we will make this a better world.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trade History - good idea. Something similar has been implemented labeled "Fair Trade".


9:26 PM  
Blogger Larry Wilson's Blog said...

Great idea! Obviously, though, the powers-that-be will never go for it.

Still; great idea.

Larry Wilson

10:35 AM  
Anonymous wisejuno said...

well i think this is a great idea we label cd's, movies etc. why not label everything else ( they already put a made in label on almost everything so it would not be too much more to add a color code to it.... Great idea....

3:35 PM  

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