Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Rule: Ethical Imports

If a product’s actual method of manufacture would have violated labor or environmental laws in the US, it should not be allowed to be imported into the US. We can’t claim to have abolished slavery if we still buy products made by slaves, and pollution in another country is still pollution that will poison us.


  1. Here's a thought: when child workers in factories were banned in Thailand, an even larger sector of the population turned to the sex trade - simply a different form of slavery.

    A blanket ban on imports for products that use unethical business practices has larger ramifications.

    The answer is not to create a law around it, but to change the heart of those in power to change their business practices around the world.

    1. The same sort of logic was used during the slave trade, since we were doing black people such a huge favor by bringing them out of the jungle and into the civilized world.

      The answer is never exploitation. One cannot justify exploiting others using the mindset, "Well, they're better off for me having used them for my benefit, because if I didn't take advantage of them, someone else would."

      The answer to child sex slavery isn't child labor, sorry.

    2. That wasn't what I was saying - what I'm saying is the answer is not found in creating laws.

      Both sides of this is evil and I have a heart for social justice, but the answer has to lie at the heart of the one in power, otherwise laws only create more lawbreakers.

      History has proven this to be true and it's the heart of the gospel message.

    3. History has shown you need laws to prevent something from happening because people won't just do the right thing. We ended child labor in our own countries (the US and Canada, in this case), not by changing the hearts of greedy capitalists, but by making it illegal.

      We cannot control what happens in another country, but we can decide not to profit off the exploitation of people we will neither meet nor probably ever even see. The way to curtail child abuse in another country is for them to make the effort to outlaw the practice and prosecute offenders. That is what history tells us will work.

      I'm curious whose heart you think can be changed and what that change of heart could even bring. Is there a real gameplan here, or would you rather just pray about it and do nothing, hoping for the best now and banking on God sorting it all out after we die?

    4. The way I see it, we have exported our environmental problems to foreign countries; cheaper made goods made overseas are often cheaper because of laxer environmental laws. So we are still contributing to destroying the Earth, but we don't care because we don't see it happen right in our backyards.

      So I have to agree with you. We need to make it illegal to import goods that are manufactured with methods that would be illegal in the US.


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