James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

Education Failure?

Posted on | May 30, 2013 | No Comments

When it comes to being ethical consumerism are we a society of failures and excuse makers?

I mean really, last night on Nightline we had a conversation about being ethical when we are consuming, thinking about where our stuff comes from and the conditions the stuff  is being made in.

The upshot was that I was told that I cannot apply my ethics to other people because of the  contextual foundation of my thinking, uhhhhh so do nothing?

Then I was told that I should not even be talking about this UNLESS we as a whole are ready to do something about it.

I wonder if we have been whitewashed by consumerism?

I wonder if the stuff we get is more important than the lives and consequences of manufacturing?

But mostly I wonder if we even care.

Here is some of what came through on the SMS line during the show.


  • SMS Who has stopped living and working in sky scrapers knowing condition of construction labour?
  • SMS Your question goes down to the very core of the kind of society we the plane live in.  In My perfect world there would be no money being  exchanged.  And if there is no money there is no economy.  If you give this idea a moment to sink in you will start to realize it’s implications. Yes I care but  I have not yet done anything thing about it yet.
  • SMS Govt thru bilateral agreements can enforce that. This will have substantial positiv impact in the working envirnmnt of the low wage workers. In Bangladesh 4mill girls came out of their homes to work in RMG Factories during the last decade has becom the backbon of this economy. Pulling out means a big negativ hit on them.
  • SMS When THe BODY SHOP, said no to animal testing, it hailed to fame! If all the clothing shops come up with a No TO Sub standard conditions stand point, i have a feeling that’ll be a good marketting as well as longterm business decision
  • SMS As end consumers WE have contributed to the misery of many workers in other countries when we were preferring the cheaper products, as the pressure is pushed down to the labour.Gerard


  • SMS The consumer culture of our times is completely driven by corporates to increase their growth. These corporates indirectly are feeding us more products by using marketing techniques to make us feel like we need those products. For example Women are made to feel ugly and need to buy beauty products in order to look like the model in the advert. No one cares about where the products come from and which part of nature was destroyed in the bargain. More important than that is no one even asks how the products are disposed which is causing a catastrophe on our environment.
  • SMS What I do not like as a consumer is the fact that all these brands have move their factories into third world. What about all the people who have lost their jobs? This is what has started all these problems


  • SMS Years ago everything was made in America, Europe or Canada at the same price. And we did not have these issues. I believe that each country should reinvest in building its own factories not somewhere halfway around the world
  • SMS Ethical consumerism is an oxymoron imho. We need to evolve to the next era of humanity where materialism is anti-humanism. Robotics mean goods can be almost free for all and a more collective economy emerges. Cheers
  • SMS This will have substantial positiv impact in the working envirnmnt of the low wage workers. In Bangladesh 4mill girls came out of their homes to work inRMG Factories during the last decade has becom the backbon of this economy. Pulling out means a big negativ hit on them.
And then there was a great email that came in as the show came to a close, we touched a nerve.

Hi James,

We are well aware that exploitation of labour (including women and minors) takes place in the underdeveloped countries and from my home county in the Indian subcontinent.

But hold on a second, why go so far, what about right here under own noses and in the wider region? How hypocritical are we?

We live in villas and apartments that are built on the blood and sweat of labourers that live in this world ranking city of our, in unhygienic conditions, are probably ill nourished, are paid wages that are criminally inappropriate. These workers travel and work in front of our eyes, but what have we done about it? What have the authorities done about it? Who owns the corporations and earn the profits from this exploitation  – directly or indirectly?

How much are we willing to put on the line to stand up for the rights of these people? Or do we just want to be politically correct and sound as if we care and when it really matters – DO NOTHING!!!!

How thin is the line between us all and hypocrites?

Are we willing to give up our big fat salaries, bonuses and other perks so that the exploited can be alleviated? I don’t think so.

I have heard some of the business leaders in this place that we live in, say that the one reason that we are profitable is because of the cheap labour. Are we ready to let these workers have a voice? I doubt it.

James, I have been listening your show, and am a great fan, but I’m sorry we should not take up issues for the same of it. Let’s not do it if we are not ready to put our efforts and courage on the line for the needy.

Are we ready to leave our homes and jobs, because they are built and sustained on exploited labour?? Food for more than just thought!

Thanks/(name withheld)

So what do we do?

We had several callers who added there 2 fils and helped to muddy the water even more.
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So where does this all leave us?

We need to act, we need to make some small changes that may be an inconvenience in the short-term but will pay huge dividends in the end.

I mean really, can we afford not to do something?

How are we able to look ourselves in the mirror and not be ashamed?

Catch the full podcast on www.dubaieye1038.com/nightline


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