- McLibel -

It's often difficult in our western 'lap of luxury'

Posted by: Mark Wells ( Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada ) on April 01, 1999 at 18:44:16:

In Reply to: exploitation of third world children posted by Belinda Hind on June 24, 1997 at 11:11:25:

It's often difficult in our western 'lap of luxury' to even remotely ponder the extreme abuse and exploitation that occurs in many 'third world' nations. I, too, rarely take the time to think of what it is I'm buying, though it's not a reasonable excuse for any of us.
I spent a long time in Guatemala which makes it particularly painful when I hear of people who don't care or think about what the real situation might be like and that sending a monthly token donation to an unfamiliar cause, they are making a difference. Granted, we in the west tend to legitimize all that we do or do not do; this way our consience is set at ease as our part is done. How many of us really think of who gets that nice $25 'gift', I dare say not the children. Our media and "relief agencies" even expliot children. I'd like to bring your attention to that commercial where a nicely dresses man is urging us for financial support while he takes a little girl of about 3 down a littered dirt road by the hand, she doesn't have any shoes and barely any clothes but he certainely does and doesn't seem to mind that the girl has no idea what he's doing or saying or that she is merely being used in an attempt to gain sympathy. We shouldn't need to expliot children to act humane. Just some of my thoughts. : > You talk about explotation? Why not channel your energies into the
: > terrible time children are having in Uganda, Pakistan, Brazil and
: > many others working for pennies foraging for food and having to fend
: > for other very young children often having no home.

: Third world problems are very often caused by economic and political influence from our own countries - often as a result of our own purchases or the overseas policies of or elected governments or unelected multinationals.

: > Do I care? Yes,as a matter of fact I do. Rather than spout off on the
: > internet about it I give money to help - do you?

: Give money? Oh that will help alot to change things... bet it make you feel righteous thought. While LIve Aid was raising millions for Ethiopia, the EU was importing grain from Ethiopia to feed to cattle. So you gave money I suppose - I stopped eating beef and started to inform people about the links between third world hunger and the actions of multinationals, what we eat, amd the IMF and the world bank.

: > Exploitation of kids here in the Western world is rather different.If
: > my kids pester me for a 2.00 gimmick with BigMac then OK, if I feel
: > pressurized (and I don't) I'll say "no".

: That's brave of you. And who says no to you when you mindlessly act on the influence of commercial advertising? Mny children simply can not understand the difference between a commercial and a cartoon or reality, they are gulliable and easily influenced. That inocence is cynicaly exploited by advertisers. That fact that adults can say no and control the purse strings does not change that fact.

: > I don't know if you're a young man or have children, but, when my
: > kids moan and groan for a pair of 80.00 trainers I see exploitation
: > in action. I can guarantee that you will have a T-shirt, trainers,
: > bag or whatever with a branded name.

: Personally I do not - but I don't see how that is relevent.

: > And you argue about a Big Mac?

: Something wrong with that? There are many serious issues at stake. You have concern about children in poverty then you might be concerned about the children who make the stupid plastic 'happy meal' toys for McDonald's suppliers.

: > Get real.

: Get educated.

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