Just as it can be quite a challenge to recycle responsibly (see this article), purchasing products with a sensitivity to economic and social justice can be very difficult.
The National Labor Committee website provides some eye-opening documentation of the abuse of workers in our global economy. I stumbled upon the website after seeing a story about crucifixes sold at some prominent New York City churches being made in “sweatshops” and with child labor in China.
The NLC Mission Statement declares, in part …
The mission of the National Labor Committee is to help defend the human rights of workers in the global economy. The NLC investigates and exposes human and labor rights abuses committed by U.S. companies producing goods in the developing world. We undertake public education, research and popular campaigns that empower U.S. citizens to support the efforts of workers to learn and defend their rights. As they fight for the right to work in dignity, in healthy and safe workplaces and to earn a living wage, we will work with them to provide international visibility and backing for their efforts–and to press for international legal frameworks with effective enforcement mechanisms that will help create a space where fundamental internationally recognized worker rights can be assured.
But China is not the only place in the world abusing workers so that the balance of high profit and cheap goods can be maintained. A lengthy article on the NLC website accuses Victoria’s Secret of opening a sewing plant in Jordan, staffing it with “guest workers” and abusing both the law and the women who are sewing the garments.
I fear that the challenge for those who desire justice will only get more difficult.