A great example of the problems that arise from a lack of connection between the consumer and the producer: Sweatshop Labor
On the tag of just about every brand new piece of clothing is the name of an exotic country where the garment was made. It seems there is a notion that forced labor is a thing of the past, something that is very easy to believe when trying on a brand new pair of jeans that fit like a dream. Instead of going straight into recent articles uncovering child labor and the like(which I encourage you to do yourself), I’m going to use logic to illustrate the superficial advantages to exported labor.
In terms of making money, it’s always best to spend as little as possible and sell for as much as possible. The cost of living in the USA is higher than Sri Lanka, for example, therefor a fair wage in the USA is higher. Saving money on production in this way is completely justifiable if you look only at the numbers, but think a little longer. The cost of living in the USA is higher because of the investments we have made and continue to make in our safety and general infrastructure (the assurance of food supply, military defense, quality in education, preservation of opportunity). Countries with a lower cost of living certainly have a lower quality of life, is it right for anyone to make a profit on that difference? The USA has a strong infrastructure because our former generations have worked for their children, most of us alive now will never see the hardships our ancestors did. But what have we done with that hard work, we have turned it into money. And now, because we have the foundation for it, we use energy from people who live in places where they have no foundation, no chance at staying alive but to work for whatever they are offered. This is called indentured servitude, just like the dark ages and medieval times, where the people with no foundation to work from are forever indebted to the source of their income.
Who is to blame? All of us. We buy these products with good intentions, these goods are produced for the profit of shareholders, and workers have no better opportunities. We can’t keep tabs on a global economy, money is worth less than human energy, and our precious infrastructure is based on a farce.
Human energy is lost in mass production, as well as art, originality, and quality. Money replaces such things, and turns into empty three-story beach houses with closets full of yellow high heels.