What if I told you it’s a grave sin not to be a responsible consumer?
Having read about distributism and how it advocates a just society where workers are partial owners of the means of production, entitled to a living wage, it becomes all the more real how important it is that we’re responsible consumers.
And yet, many would argue about what constitutes a living wage? If a person works 12 hours a day and has to sleep in a room the size of most closets, not able to save enough money to ever retire with a home of their own, let alone raise a family, can that be considered a living wage?
Awhile back I watched a Civil War miniseries starring Patrick Swayze: “North and South.” I distinctly remember a fight that broke out with a fellow soldier wherein the soldier was storming mad because of what was going on in the south. Namely, slavery was disrupting the fair price of tobacco such that he and his father couldn’t make a living.
This is exactly how it is today when, as consumers, we purchase goods made through slave labor or unethical work standards. Other businesses are forced to source cheap labor or go out of business. Moreover, businesses in today’s world find it increasingly difficult to ethically produce a product and pay a living wage when they have to compete with similar products produced through slave labor or unethical work practices.
The reality of this situation has become more clear to me as an entrepreneur developing a product. It’s tempting to have it developed in China in order to make a more competitive product, in spite of all the American engineers who’ve helped me develop it. Furthermore, I know that in having the product produced in China, I’ll be taking work away from Americans, who can enjoy religious freedom, even if taken for granted and under pressure by the government. This is not to say that I care less for the Chinese. Certainly it’s not their fault that their government prevents freedom of religion or allows poor working conditions and unfair wages. However, I’d rather help an American family who has a much greater opportunity to learn about Jesus and therefore a greater chance of eternal salvation, not to mention missionary activities that could help countries like China move in the right direction.
Consider the following list of countries where children are put to work or slave labor takes place: http://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods/
As responsible consumers, we should be aware of where products are being produced and, more importantly, whether or not ethical work standards are in place, even if that means paying more for them.
If I’m ever elected president, rather than ensuring products are stamped with their country of origin, e.g. “Made in China,” I’m going to work to ensure that all products sold in America contain, or do not contain, an acronym such as: CIFWELS.
Created in a Fair Wage, Ethical Labor Society
If it doesn’t have that stamp, don’t buy it!
God bless us in our freedom from slavery, and most importantly, our freedom from sin, capable through the knowledge and redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
Dear Lord, deliver the captives from Egypt.