Part of the Problem

It seems that everyone, including myself, wants to get everything as cheap as possible.  This seems logical and is even spiritualized as being a good steward of the God’s money.  But with some of the reading I have done lately (i.e., Everything must Change, The Irresistible Revolution, etc.) before I buy something at an unbelievably low price I have started to ask myself, “At whose cost?”  As in who had to pay for the cheapness of this item before it ended up at this store for $2.99?  Did a beautiful 7-year-old girl in malaysia work long hours in a sweat shop so I could have this item for such a cheap price?  Was she forced to give up going to school because her mother and father and older brother work at the same sweat shop but are paid such meager wages that her income is needed just to get by?  Did a young Brazilian boy walk miles through the forests to harvest bananas so that I can eat them year round while he is forced to place himself in danger for money that I would

     throw
              in a
                  wishing well?

I have more material goods than I need as it is.  And I am willing to pay three times what Wal-mart is charging if it means that all the folks along the way will be paid more fairly for their labor.

I was talking with a couple folks about this recently and one lady asked, “But won’t that just reduce the amount of money going to the folks who already don’t get paid enough?”  I thought about this for a moment and realized that while this may be true at first and if I am the only one taking a stand, if we all decided to control the only thing we really have control over, the overlords who pocket 90% of the profits would start to feel the effect in their pockets and would be forced to change their ways.  What is the one thing I can control? 

ME.

And even that’s a farce to a certain degree since there are things I want to do and I don’t do them and the things I dont want to do, I do anyway (echoing Paul). 

BOTTOM LINE: I am part of the problem. 

There are a lot of things I can’t change.  I can’t change where Walmart buys their goods.  I can’t change what country those goods come from.  I can’t change how much Walmart pays for these goods.  And I can’t change how much the seller charges for them.  I can’t change what the seller pays his employees and I can’t change the conditions under which the employees work. 

But I can change me.

I CAN change whether or not I shop at Walmart.  I CAN change what type of products I buy with the money God has entrusted me with.  I CAN buy less of things at higher prices to try and ensure people are treated with dignity and respect.  And if enough of us did that, we could change the world. 

Do you believe that?

I have not thorougly investigated each of these websites yet.  I have collected them from a few different places (to include The Irresistible Revolution) and am posting them here in hopes of providing myself and others a list resource for discerning where to spend the money God has entrusted to us. 

Cheap isn’t always better.  Think about it.

Human Rights Links
Global Exchange
Sweat Shop Watch
CorpWatch
Human Rights Watch
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Amnesty International
Not for Sale Campaign (added 3/7/09)
Free2Work (added 3/7/09)

Fair Trade Links
Trade as One
Presbyterian Coffee Project
Equal Exchange
Sweat Free T-Shirts
A Greater Gift/Serrv
World of Good
Fairest Buy (added 3/7/09)

Environmentally Friendly Stuff
Reusable Bags
Electric Sstewardship (For PCUSA Churches)
Eco-Palms (Palm fronds for Palm Sunday)

Other
Just Living

**If you know of other websites that speak to these topics, please leave them in the comments.  And if you know that any of these organizations are questionable, please let me know.  Thanks.**

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