Every year we start out with good intentions of bringing in this brand new year right, right? Whether it is eating healthier, exercising more, losing weight, or being a better person, the new year begins well enough, but then the enthusiasm fades away with time. For me in the past few years, it has been buying American products or more importantly avoiding buying goods from countries that use child labor and unfair labor practices. I have been great shopping for clothes made in the USA, but for the other products it’s about 50% – but that requires extra work, because there are so many products that are no longer made in the USA, and there may no choice but to buy “made in China”. If this is the case, and I don’t absolutely need that item, I go without. As the year goes on, sometimes I get lazier, and might not even check the place of origin labels. But the new year is about to start, it is time to get re-energized, and I will re-up for renewal of these resolutions.
Inspiration (to start a New Year’s resolution) comes from all sorts of different ways. This year what has renewed my commitment is an old Art Young political cartoon, which I saw in a Theodore Roosevelt biography. Now, this particular cartoon was done in the early 1900’s, and was referring to U.S. use of child labor, fast forward 100 years later to 2014, it is still about American greed but child labor is being used in other countries. (The sign in the upper right says: “Child Labor Investigators,Sentimentalists, Charity Organizations and all meddling old women – KEEP OUT”)
It seems that sometimes a political cartoon says so much more than a lengthy treatise that nobody reads. So, with that, I have added a few more political cartoons about child labor and corporate greed.
The United States is a great place to live in this day and age, but there are things that we need to be concerned about: the worsening income inequality (the worst since the 1920’s); the continued erosion of the middle class with the continued outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to developing countries to increase corporate profits; and as we buy products from slave labor countries we are, indeed, endorsing their practices. Continue to seek out where things are made – whether it is food or products. And buy American if you are in favor of: better quality products; fair wages; and keeping employing your neighbor and yourself employed. Have a happy New Year.