It is no secret that Camas is an affluent town. When walking through the halls, it is noticeable that many, yes even myself, have the coolest, “shiniest”, and most expensive brands on. Like those dapper new Nike Huaraches, or, gasp, a red iPhone 7 plus; these things are nice, cool to have, and super expensive, thus a status symbol.
Americans consume at a gluttonous rate, and every time something new comes out, they wait hours in line to get it. Yes, it is cool to have the newest Nike AirMaxes, but have you ever stopped to think about where your clothes, phones, and other items are made, and who makes them. Did it ever cross anyone’s mind that the people who make these barely have the money to afford food every night?
SENDING WORK OVERSEAS
Out of 620 Nike Factories, only 53 of them are based in the United States. Sending work overseas is a common practice for the majority of companies that provide consumers with buyable products. The main reason for this is because here in America, there are laws that protect workers from being taken advantage of by the companies. For example, companies have to provide workers with health care and have to pay their workers minimum wage. In other places around the world, these laws do not exist. In turn, this means that Nike can hire workers in China, or India for cheaper then they can hire the average American.
For this reason, it is cheaper for companies based here, to make products out of the United States. This is called a supply chain, which means that products are made elsewhere, shipped and then sold to the people who can afford to buy it. That is why your iPhone says designed in California, but made in China. Apple sends Chinese Factories their designs, the people assemble them, and then the phones are shipped here to be sold to people all over the United States.
CONDITIONS FOR WORKERS, THE TRUE COST BEHIND THE FASHION:
Conditions for workers have not been good, in 1997, Nike was accused of having people work in sweatshops which are basically working conditions that are not good for the human body. Furthermore, in 2015, over 5,000 Chinese workers went on strike because they were not getting paid fairly, and they had little to no rights. While the iPhone 6s, was being sold quicker than lightning here, in China, an Apple factory was forcibly closed down because of poor conditions for workers.
Yes, I know the iPhone 7 plus is amazing and oh-so-pretty in rose gold, but most of the products that we buy are coming at the expense of others. Meanwhile, big companies keep getting richer, more powerful, and well bigger.
IT IS TIME FOR SOME FAIR TRADE
Ironically, the thing to do is to keep shopping at these companies, but also to be aware. Yes, while the companies are exploiting their workers, they also are providing them with jobs. To stop shopping at Nike would not directly affect Nike, but the workers that make their products. However, there is a way to make the companies like Nike sit up, notice, and provide better work environments for their workers; this method is known as Fair Trade. Fair trade means that the workers who made the item, are being paid fairly, and being given basic human rights. The more Americans pour their money into Fair trade items, the more likely big companies are to invest in Fair Trade as well.
HOW TO HELP
Do not take away that I am telling you to stop shopping Apple, Nike, Adidas, or any other big name company because I am not. Nike shoes are fire, iPhones are beautiful, and Adidas is the boss at everything soccer, and it is okay to enjoy these things because that is what they are made for. But also as a human being, it is critical that all who are able to walk, be a crutch to those who cannot.
–The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but those who watch them without doing anything. -Albert Einstein