Monday, 3 October 2011

Robbing the poor to give to the rich!

When did we stop caring about Quality? Because we don't care any more. There's an ad on TV that has Kmart rounding up a group of women and challenging them to guess the price of a number of items. Of course they're all shocked to find out the cushions/scarfs/shirts/sheets/pants cost so little.... and they laugh and celebrate at how wonderful life is in a world with a store that's a large shed and able to sell products for a price that is far less than the sum of any of their parts. God bless our modern world!


Of course the fact a multinational/multi million dollar profit making company is so comfortable to put an ad like this on TV is the real story here. And even worse is this real story is no longer even noticed. It doesn't shock anyone as cruel of the super chain stores to gloat at the bargains they can bring to our everyday lives. How well we've all been deceived by the rich about the world we live in and the quality of the lives we lead!
How does anyone offer a microwave for $45 or a pair of jeans for $10 and shoes for $5.


There are a number of possibilities - 1/ Slave labour. Third world sweat shops as producers. 2/ Electronic components being sourced from raw materials from third world countries, 3/ A buying power so enormous that individual units are incredibly cheap, or 4/ Make the products as cheaply as possible with little regard for longevity or ongoing quality.

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Once you factor in the fact that corporations are now legally ruled to be people, a decision that still defies any sense of credibility, and they only answer to shareholders and shareholders are only after or happy with one thing, increasing share prices - you can safely bet all of the above go into keeping prices low and profits high.

 "The United Nations issued a damning report on the, "illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo."  Guns, Money and Phones. Global Issues.

And these resources are going into all electronics. Now every company will declare they never source any of these raw materials or labour from third world countries. They source their supplies only from reputable manufacturers. And those reputable manufacturers source their raw materials from reputable suppliers who get their materials from many varied sources and they in turn - HEY LOOK OVER THERE! IS THAT A MICROWAVE FOR $45!!!!

And the corporations wash their hands of the whole thing. 

To be tarnished by exacerbating the plight of an innocent impoverished third world people would be bad for the image and may cause a backlash that would reduce sales and then reduce profits. So lets not dig too deep - because we love profits and we love $20 bedlinen!



And that's why we're so happy! Because tonight we are sleeping on 500 cotton thread count sheets and they feel so good. And next month, after a couple of washings they'll feel a bit thin. And in 8 months, they'll rip and the stitching will come out and - Oh sorry, there's no guarantee on that item and no return after a month. But it was only $20 - so no harm no foul. Let's just buy another one! Hooray all around! I am happy, the shareholder is happy, even little 15 year old Indira is happy because she was just allowed a pee break - now back to work Indira - or risk your 15 cents an hour!


And somewhere, there are a few who own enough of these companies' shares to accurately lay claim to owning the entire chain of stores. They never stop to think of how their products are directly disadvantaging those who make them. They'll argue Indira and her kind are better off having a job than not. They don't care that the pair of pants you bought are so thin they'll rip if you brush by a sharp corner on a bench or that the microwave is supplied with raw materials raped from an African farmers land. They're only concern is to bring you the best quality at the lowest prices. They want you to be happy.

It's pleasing to hear them say they are trying to give you the best quality. What? Sorry? That's not a singular statement, more a compound phrase? Huh?! Oh.... I see, best quality at the lowest prices is only accurate when spoken together. In other words, ...
So it's not a lie. They really do bring you the very best quality at the very lowest prices. Any higher in price an they'd no longer be able to lay claim to bringing you the best quality at that price. Any lower quality and they couldn't argue they are doing you the best price - because by lowering the quality even slightly you could get the same exact thing for free by scouring a tip, your neighbours bin or the back of a charity shop.

"But they aren't ripping me off. I'm not playing into their hands by blindly accepting what they tell me. I'd never succumb to a shiny new thing at the expense of doing harm to an already impoverished worker." 

99% of us do and there's nothing we can do to stop it or change it. We can agitate and make people aware - but the wait to change, equalise and eradicate poverty is like the wait for Godot... so don't give up agitating, especially when directed at the fat cats who can truly do something to change things. But try to enjoy yourself while you're doing it - because we may be here a long time.

And while you're waiting, here's a test to work out whether you are of the new aristocracy or an everyday pleb/serf simply being toyed with to allow the wealthy upper class to continue their lavish lifestyles.
  1.  Look around your home, can you find small items, bought because they looked good, you thought you'd use them, they were something that appealed to you on impulse?
  2.  Are these things now cluttering up shelves and on display so others will see that shiny new thing you liked in the store so much, even though you haven't used, looked at, thought about it for days/weeks/months?
  3.  When you go through a cupboard/storage area, are you reminded of a different times of your life just by the small and varied trinkets/objects/gizmos you re-discover?
  4. Are you sitting on a yacht or on an Island, or would you need to ask the help to answer any of the first three questions?

If you answered yes to any of the first three - grab an oar and keep rowing before you get your ass whipped. If you answered yes to question four - can I have my money back please?

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