Friday, October 03, 2008

Difficult Questions...

This photo shoot kind of shook me up. It is at once beautiful and haunting.

Number 18 shows the resilience of youth. It warms the soul.
Number 20 shows the face of somebody who is beginning to learn just exactly how life is, but still clings to a bit of hope.
But it's number 8 I can't stop looking at. It's number 8 that breaks my heart, makes me think.

Part of me wants to say, "See? This is why we should buys stones made in a lab". So people aren't forced to toil away their childhood, scraping at the walls of a shaft, looking for stones that are sent to 'civilized countries' so we can look pretty.

But if we do that, there will be no more demand left for these stones. And where would the miners be then? How will they feed their children if their livelihood is taken away?

I think the thing that burns me up the most is that these people are the ones wasting and wearing out their lives, they are the ones losing their childhood, and working long hours to find the stones, only to have a bunch of middlemen make all the money. From the guy who sits behind the bars and buys the stones, to the guy that gets them to the 'western world', to the jeweler down the street who then charges hundreds of dollars more to 'make his cut'. That is the part that makes me sick, and I want no part of it.

I would love to buy one of these stones, and I would love to pay full price, but I want the money to go to the person, or more likely the family, that is doing the work.

Why, in this so called 'flat world', can I not do this?


RobisonWells said...

Sorry to bring politics into this, but...

This, Mr. Buckley, is exactly one of the reasons I despise libertarianism. This situation is exactly the kind of problem caused by wide-open free market capitalism. There is no good way for the market to correct itself. Laissez-faire capitalism would suggest that (1) if workers don't like their job they can get another one, and (2) consumers won't allow companies to remain corrupt, because the consumers will take their business elsewhere.

The more and more we deregulate commerce, the more we allow businesses to grind the poor into the dirt, all in the name of "increasing shareholder value".

Matthew Buckley said...

And we see the benefits of a regulated commerce currently on the front pages of all the newspapers. I will freely admit, with apologies to Winston Churchill, that capitalism is the worst economic system, with the exception of all the other ones that have been tried from time to time.

I believe that in an age of information, these kind of problems can be dealt with outside the realm of government. A good example is the 'fair wage' movement that is currently going on in the coffee industry. The private sector, and non-profits, can help deal with the problems that arise from 'pure capitalism'.