Free Product vs Fair Wages

I saw this on the internet today:

cards

I thought “hey, neat, a company I like is actually doing something cool”. One of the comments though caught my eye.

“I’d rather see American workers get that paid vacation than Chinese ones.”

Why? Are American workers somehow more worthy than Chinese ones? No, I get it. You’re American and you’re tired of jobs going over seas. But here’s the kicker. How much are you willing to pay for that game?

We live in a world of free. We don’t want to pay for anything. Not sure if you’ll like a video game? Download a cracked version instead of shelling out anywhere from $30-$75 for the title. I mean, they’re all overpriced anyway, right? Download the movie from the web, I mean they already grossed how many million in the theatre, right? Music. Books. Art. We don’t want to pay a single penny for it.

And when we look at things that are tangible, like clothes, like food, things where we KNOW we can’t have them for free, we want them as cheap as possible.

Oh, but make it in America and pay the workers $15 an hour.

Right. And how much were you willing to pay for that shirt again?

We’re all sitting in our designer coffee shops sipping $8 coffees wearing our $5 shirts and complaining that more and more companies are manufacturing overseas.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for homegrown product. I firmly believe that a Canadian owned, Canadian based, company should provide service based out of Canada and should manufacture their product in Canada (though I understand they may be using a mixture of domestic and foreign parts/supplies to do this). I believe that American companies should work from and hire from America. Etc. But hey, we all want to export our country’s goods to the world, don’t we? Seems a bit hypocritical doesn’t it? Don’t buy the TV from Japan if you live in the US. But the Japanese definitely need American cars.

So what’s the answer? Does every country diversify to the point that we don’t need to trade with each other for anything beyond out of season fruit? Does every country specialize, dividing the world’s products between them? All cars are built in the USA. All clothes are made in India. All toys are made in China. All books etc are printed in Canada.

What would that mean for the people living there? What happens if your father works in a car factory and your mother at a printing press? What happens if there is no trade and you like Belgian chocolate more than America chocolate?

What does this mean for the future of corporations? For the future of the workers? For the future of the consumers?

I don’t have any answers. I just know that we’re too willing to spend too much on a cup of coffee and not enough on the things that actually matter. We’re too willing to demand change so long as it doesn’t affect our pocket books.

And I know I’d be very interested in what you have to say about this.

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