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It's happened again - another chain retailer has been outed as underpaying their international garment makers. This time the hit is coming to H&M, but let's be real, they aren't alone. Nike, Disney and Walmart all send their handiwork overseas and have time and time again been known to pay their workers way (like almost slavery "way") under value.
Unfortunately for the American population, the knowledge that families in other parts of the world are poor doesn't seem to much phase us. And the fact that when we bought some Nike's last week so that we could drive to that really fancy park across town and have a nice jog we were contributing to that poverty? I've literally heard people say to that, "They should get a job!" Well, first of all, they have one.
The issue here though isn't just American consumer complacency or ignorance, but something much bigger indeed. Capitalism after all supports the notion that these big companies find the cheapest labor and raise their prices to the height that their consumer will buy, thus benefitting them the most profit. Morals are not a concern in the general practice of capitalism. Morals aren't generally the concern in any practice that deals exclusively with large sums of money.
And while not even I can say that I only buy "Made in the USA" clothing, the truth is that even in a capitalist society, morals do exist, and in a democracy, they exist with the most mighty: the people. Finding out that people across the world whom I will never meet are suffering because I liked a skirt at H&M, shoes at Nike or a Princess shirt at a Disney store is not OK - and it is something that not only I should think about, but that we all should think about.
Supporting small business and shopping local isn't just about helping out your economy, it's about helping the world economy, and changing immoral business practices that might not affect your life, but do in fact affect lives. Boutiques are obviously a big part of that, but so are craft makers like the people on Etsy and at your local flea market.
Be yourself. Be different. And make a difference in the process.