Thursday, 26 March 2009

Back on my high horse…

SYDNEY Lord Mayor Clover Moore has banned Tim Tams from council events for fear they're partially produced through cruel child labour on Africa's Ivory Coast.

An Arnott's spokeswoman said only a very limited supply of chocolate was from the Ivory Coast.


Okay - so the bit about Tim Tams caught my eye. I worship at the altar of the mighty biscuit. However – this, to me, is another case of over the top political correctness. Why? I get what this woman is saying. Exploitation of any individual – any worker – is wrong – but do we ban all clothes or shoes from overseas that are probably made in less than ideal working conditions? How about carpets, coffee, tea, any food that is harvested in our own countries or in others? Do we think about the crappy minimum wage people are on and say ‘well hell no – I’m not going to eat or buy that product any more.' What about people who work in call centres? If you have done that job you know capacious it is. Do we refuse to deal with any company that times staff loo (toilet) breaks? Do we say ‘oh no’ to anything where people could or are being exploited? How do we then keep economies going if we don’t buy anything? How do we trade with each other? How do we keep people employed if we ban stuff?

And yeah, there are some items I will never buy. For example, I always buy free range eggs as I don’t like the idea of hens in cages - but I am damn sure I eat or use or buy goods that have been made in less than idea conditions. I try and buy Australian made but that isn’t always possible. Do I know if the employees who manufactured a can of salmon are being treated fairly in Alaska? Are the fish killed humanely? Regardless what stance we take, we’re probably screwing someone over somewhere. And no – I am absolutely not advocating exploitation of workers. If you only knew how many battles I have fought on that front. But singling one product out – and it could be anything – smacks of tokenism to me.

I don’t think there will ever be an answer to the exploitation of workers. It’s been happening since day dot. Greedy people will use needy people. It’s a viscous circle and I don’t see it changing any time soon.
Go Ahead : Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?