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Hello. I was reading one of the posts about wearing "Vegan" shoes and a few people mentioned that they wear Newbalance etc. I am not positive, but I do believe I read somewhere that Newbalance uses harsh human conditions and sweatshops (along with a lot of others; Nike, Kohls, Old Navy etc). I was wondering if Vegans (I am still Vege myself but plan to be Vegan) happen to take into account where their clothing products come from. Sure they may be made out of Vegan material, but what about sweatshops?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
This issue is precisely what makes clothes shopping horrid for me.<br><br><br><br>
I'm not sure about New Balance, though, because I recall Pangea selling NB at some point, and I know they're particular about selling fair-wage/labor products.<br><br><br><br>
And the whole vegan shoe thing continues to frustrate me because if you want to buy an AFFORDABLE pair of non-leather shoes, they've more than likely been manufactured in sweatshop conditions.<br><br><br><br>
With clothes, I find that I'm already in that awkward stage for a girl in life where you're too old for that hoochie mama crap they market to younger girls and too young for the boxy, boring **** intended for your mama. The only other 'hip' clothing sources are places like Express, and if you take a look at the tags in their clothes, you'll not find any piece that's been made here in the U.S.<br><br><br><br>
I guess I shouldn't complain too much, though, because I am quite fortunate enough that I can financially afford to be picky about the clothes and shoes I purchase. Some folks genuinely can't.
 

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I dont normally speak on such issues because i find it very conflicting for me.<br><br><br><br>
I put animals and humans on two different levels, i dont see them as equal, so they dont get equal considerations from me. I dont expect animals to be able to change their own lives when in the company of humans, yet i think humans if they want change should work for it. So being vegan and pro-AR i dont see sweat shops as connected to the vegan/AR movement because i dont see these people as not having the capability to make changes in their lives. But on the other hand i deplore that these people are treated as such and would hate to contribute to their suffering even if i do see it as voluntary.
 

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Ooh! I was talking about this earlier. I think any form of cruelty should be un supported, including sweatshops! No, it is not to animals, people should not be abused. Some of those conditions are horrific. I think we should call sweatshop produced clothing non vegan. Some ways you can avoid direct support/ to avoid buying sweatshop produced clothing:<br><br><br><br>
1. Used. Removed from the purcharser, so you are not zactly contributing to the sweatshop holder. Lots more variety and cheaper too! Eco friendly. Recyyycling.<br><br>
2. Fair Trade Certified. This can get nitpicky, Pangea, apparently the American Apparel Company (labels like Classic Girl and the three circles), Patagonia, probably Uncle Zachs, give us a guarentee they are being kind to employees, and will throw a fit if they hear otherwise. Most organic clothing is probably fair...This stuff is more expensive though.<br><br>
3. Well, you -could-make something yourself! Yeah the thread, cloth etc. *grumbles* THings like scarfs you can knit, other things might get more complicated. But hey, DIY rocks!<br><br><br><br>
And, there are sites advocating letter writing, boycotts, awareness in general. Behindthelabel, and others too.<br><br><br><br>
On the other side, I heard once that people who would "work" in a sweatshop may get stuck using their bodies as a prostitue. Which is worse....So.....complicated issue here.
 

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majake, do you seriously think these people are chosing to work in deplorable conditions for extremely minimal wages? there is no choice about it.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by FemmeDemonica</i><br><br><b>AFFORDABLE pair of non-leather shoes,</b></div>
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What's your defenition of "affordable".<br><br><br><br>
For me vegan shoes were as expensive as leather (quality) shoes.<br><br><br><br>
My vegan shoes are "not expensive", they cost more than the cheapest, but they last longer and are thus cheaper in the long run.<br><br><br><br>
The most expensive shoes I ever bought were vegan shoes ($15) that lasted six weeks.......<br><br><br><br><br><br>
I'm so proud off my shoes<br><br>
- Vegan<br><br>
- earth friendly<br><br>
- made in england<br><br>
....boy they feel good.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you take a peek at veg*an-friendly websites like Pangea, Vegan Essentials, Vegan Wares, Vegetarian Shoes, etc., the majority of their shoes run anywhere between $75-$165. To me, that's just not affordable. Possibly those shoes last longer, making such an investment worth it, but I have a difficult time spending that amount of money on shoes... If you take a gander at discount shoe stores (in the U.S. I mean) like Payless and such, you'll find non-leather shoes for under $20 usually. But, like I said, those shoes are manufactured under seriously questionable circumstances...<br><br><br><br>
And majake, I'm actually shocked that you believe sweatshop employees truly have an option to pursue employment in those sorts of conditions! Certainly they may make the choice to work there, but if their choices are work in a sweatshop or let my family starve, can you blame them? I don't really consider that much of a choice...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No majake, of course they aren't the only ways to make money, but some people don't have a choice. Sweatshops do employ hundreds of people and in some towns they are the major forms of work. And people who defend sweatshops defend them by saying that the work is better than none at all. This is completely taking advantage of people, and if they were to protest the low wages and bad conditions they would be fired. For most, they have no choice.
 

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Oh i agree they are taking advantage of people and im not defending sweatshops by any means, but i am saying that where ever you are, there are always ways to make money and if you work in a sweatshop, you are there by choice and you have the capability to make a change if you so desire.
 

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I agree with majake actually. The reason I'm more active in AR issues than human issues is that I believe humans have it within themselves to stand up for themselves and change the conditions in which they live. Whether or not they actually choose to do so is ultimately up to them. Yeah it's harder said than done and yeah I admit I have no idea what it's like for these people but that's just how I feel.
 

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I'm just glad I wasn't born a slave, or a child forced into early labor at a sweatshops making clothes for people in countries I could only dream about.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by kpickell</i><br><br><b>majake, do you seriously think these people are chosing to work in deplorable conditions for extremely minimal wages? there is no choice about it.</b></div>
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I VERY SERIOUSLY think that these people are choosing to work in deplorable conditions for extremely minimal wages.<br><br><br><br>
In fact, I am a BIG supporter of sweatshops and cheap labor.<br><br><br><br>
These people basically have TWO choices:<br><br><br><br>
1) Work in deplorable conditions and get some money to feed your kids and yourself.<br><br><br><br>
2) Don't work at all and earn no money and see your kids starve or eat grass or even animal feces.<br><br><br><br>
I am NOT exaggerating. I know this from FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE. I have traveled through many slums in India and the conditions that these people live in are FAR MORE deplorable than the conditions in the factories and sweatshops themselves.<br><br><br><br>
It's really a Hobson's choice. If they had a third and better choice, they would have taken it a very long time ago. No one is forcing them to work in the sweatshops. It's nothing more than the economics of extreme poverty.<br><br><br><br>
Here is the paradox: the more sweatshop-made products you buy, the more jobs will be created for starving people.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am completely flabbergasted. Just...shocked.<br><br><br><br>
To give you a bit of context, I am a SOCIAL WORKER. My job consists of helping POOR people. Unless you've ever been destitute or have worked with them to the degree I have, I personally consider you unqualifed to make any assumptions (which is all they are) about the choices afforded to the impoverished.<br><br><br><br>
Yes, humans are autonomous creatures with the ability to reason and make their own choices. Absolutely. I don't disagree with the notion that folks are to be held accountable for the decisions, good and bad, that they make. HOWEVER, you've got to understand that some people don't know any differently. I think about my clients and the populations with which I work, and I see people who've always lived in deplorable conditions. While some seem comfortable with that, many are not--they simply know no other way to live. They don't understand or even believe that other opportunities exist for them. This is the way their grandparents and parents lived. This is the way their neighbors live. Those ****ty lifestyle conditions are continually reinforced by their surroundings. It takes TONS of education and a constant supply of support to help people elevate themselves from those sorts of conditions. <b>You can't blame someone for making poor choices if they've never been educated about the true breadth of choices available.</b>
 

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As the global economy expands and the areas of exceptionally cheap labor are utilized, you will see an upward trend in wage rates and working conditions. Similar to the process that led to better working conditions in the US, with the south lagging somewhat behind the north.<br><br>
Over time, workers will organize and create better opportunities for themselves.<br><br><br><br>
The exceptions will be in countries with less political freedom. (China - I'm looking at you....)
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by FemmeDemonica</i><br><br><b>They don't understand or even believe that other opportunities exist for them. This is the way their grandparents and parents lived. This is the way their neighbors live. Those ****ty lifestyle conditions are continually reinforced by their surroundings. It takes TONS of education and a constant supply of support to help people elevate themselves from those sorts of conditions. You can't blame someone for making poor choices if they've never been educated about the true breadth of choices available.</b></div>
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I agree with you to a point. Some are not aware of better choices, but most are.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
FemmeDemonica,<br><br><br><br>
Just for your information, opportunities are non-existent in Third World countries.<br><br><br><br>
Read this article about the financial dynamics of poverty in a Third World country within the context of an auto-rickshaw driver's life:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/nov/14ash.htm" target="_blank">http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/nov/14ash.htm</a><br><br><br><br>
Select quote:<br><br><br><br>
"A rickshaw-driver's family does not live on Rs.3000 a month because that's all it takes to stay alive and healthy and happy. Instead, they live with the level of alive and healthy and happy that Rs.3000 can buy. Illnesses and injuries are neglected, the even deeper poverty of relatives in need is ignored, education is sacrificed. Meager shelter and manageable rations of food pass for 'life'."<br><br><br><br>
You give poor people too little credit. I have a lot of faith in the energy and ingenuity of poor people and I truly hope that they can get out of their unfortunate situation. But if opportunities don't exist for them and they have to live in a hand-to-mouth existence, then they basically have no choice. Like I said, if they had a third choice, they would have taken that a long time ago. They CANNOT create opportunities for themselves, even if they wanted to. They have neither the means nor the time and energy to do so.<br><br><br><br>
In the United States, education is free. food is cheap. Opportunities for hard-working people are immense. It is NOT the same in Third World countries. That's why sweatshops could even exist in those countries. And that's why people choose to work in sweatshops or as auto-rickshaw drivers. They have nowhere else to go. Just ask the auto-rickshaw driver.<br><br><br><br>
Note: $1 = Rs. 48
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Tame</i><br><br><b>As the global economy expands and the areas of exceptionally cheap labor are utilized, you will see an upward trend in wage rates and working conditions. Similar to the process that led to better working conditions in the US, with the south lagging somewhat behind the north.<br><br>
Over time, workers will organize and create better opportunities for themselves.<br><br><br><br>
The exceptions will be in countries with less political freedom. (China - I'm looking at you....)</b></div>
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This is exactly what I'm hoping will happen to people who work in sweatshops. As the Third World countries globalize, more opportunities will be available for the poverty-stricken and they will have MORE choices to work. As choices multiply, sweatshops will disappear as people migrate to better-paying jobs or jobs with better work conditions.<br><br><br><br>
In the meantime, sweatshops are the only game in the town. That's the sad reality.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yeah right, so you say, buy tons of sweatshop-made products and it will provide people with jobs? While I do believe that a job is better than none at all, this to me seems inconsistent. By buying these products will it not make the manufacturers believe it is acceptable to put these people in those conditions? And so the, therefore, will continue them, without making any changes? I believe that by boycotting the products and speaking up about what the companies are doing is effective in enacting change. I do not believe these sweatshops should be closed down, but rather their conditions improved. These people should not have to settle for so much less to survive!
 
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