Tuesday, May 27, 2008

These concepts are not static...

So, it's been almost an entire week of not buying outsourced products, and it's been rather interesting to say the least. Because I am involved in several extracurricular activities, I have also had a lot of semi-formal, end-of-the-year events. Being the self conscious person that I am, I felt like I had to buy a new outfit for each of these events. But this time, I couldn't do that because of my commitment to not buying these products. Needless to say, I was frustrated at first, but was able to solve my "dilemma" by borrowing outfits from friends and wearing old dresses I hadn't worn in awhile. I liked utilizing my resources and this experiment has prompted me to be creative in these situations. And, although I don't mean to sound conceited, I did get compliments about what I was wearing at the last three events I attended.
After reading my last entry, I realize my bias may have oversimplified a very complex situation. After reading Tracing transnationalities through commodity culture by Claire Dwyer, I realized that no single source could or should be blamed entirely for the results of globalization. In the article, Dwyer mentions how cultural products are not transferred directly from one culture to another. Cultural commodities are often depicted in that manner but, like the South Asian women merchants in Britain, their designs were developed with several different influences in mind. And so, I believe this concept can be applied to the consumer products made in sweatshops and garment factories. I still believe that these workers should not have to work in some horrendous conditions. But I cannot single out the the owners of these sweatshops or even the executives of these corporations who allow their products to be made under these conditions. Like the influences of different cultures on the South Asian dresses in Britain (Diasporic Connections: case studies of Asian women in business by Irene Hardill and Parvati Raghuram), the cycle of globalization is caused by practically every human being on Earth, as consumers and producers trying to make a profit and use these products to continue their lifestyle. It is much too easy to blame a single source for adopting these production patterns when the workers, consumers, and executives all continue to fuel this system of oppression. I also still believe that the executives of these corporations can stand to lose money from their own salaries in order to improve the labor conditions of these sweatshops. This poses me to ask the question: who decided that the labor of the mind was a more valuable asset than the blood, sweat, and tears put in by the labor of the body?

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