I believe that globalization and the ability to do business worldwide almost instantaneously benefits me as an individual. However the larger picture is not quite such a pretty picture. Personally, I benefit by being able to purchase goods online that are often not available to Canadians in retail locations. I shop on sites such as Ebay and Amazon regularly. I have purchased textbooks for my classes from American and sometimes worldwide sellers. While I may benefit buy lower prices and being able to acquire goods I would not otherwise acquire, the result is that Canadian companies no longer have my business.
So consumers like me enjoy the endless availability of products worldwide the consequences of this international trade is not simply more products and cheaper prices. If all consumers were aware of how their products were made many of us would object. Corporations continually exploit cheap labour and take advantage of the environment internationally. Wal-Mart for example sells Kathie Lee Gifford’s brand of clothing that was manufactured in Honduras where the women were abused and raped on a regular basis being paid poorly and treated inhumanely. (Bakan, 68) It is only until consumers became aware of these conditions and demanded change by boycotting the company’s products. All too often though consumers do not become aware of these conditions and the situation is not improved.
However, I do wonder about the situation of the people who take jobs in sweat shops like the one described above. Often poverty forces these people into taking jobs with poor pay and unsatisfactory working conditions. If the alternative is no job at all, is a bad job really that bad? If we force companies to either: improve working conditions and pay better wages- will the end prices increase as a result? Will consumers be willing to pay these higher prices? If the manufacturing plant is shut down how will the local people survive? Will another manufacturing company with a...
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