Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Depraved Indifference

When you think about it, almost all of us are guilty of it.

Toronto Star 14 Jun 2017
Re Caution: children at work, June 13

Recognizing child labour as a violation of children’s and workers’ rights, trade unions are joining with families and community organizations to combat child labour, to move children out of work and into school, and to support core labour standards.

Everything old is new again. The over-privileged Canadians will tsk tsk and the corporations will apologize profusely and come up with yet another “child-slave-labour” certification scam and a feel-good logo on the product, and the consumer monkeys will once again spread their cancer guilt-free.

Do the privileged humans care? Sure. They wish the kids and peasants had a better life and there was no runaway climate change and overpopulation, but they don’t stop consuming and breeding.

Mohammed Olukolu, Toronto

I’d argue that Canadians knowingly buy goods made by workers, including many children, who have been forced into servitude and have little to no rights.

It appears that the Rana Plaza disaster (which killed more than 1,100 garment workers in Bangladesh in 2013) did precious little to open consumers’ eyes as to how callously fast-fashion is produced.

They just gotta have all five colours of those poor-quality, fast-fashion blouses, instead of a couple of high-quality, fairlysourced ones.

Richard Kadziewicz, Scarborough


  1. The gravest sins, Lorne, are sins of omission -- because we could have done something and we didn't.

    1. The world, sadly, seems full of such missed opportunities, doesn't it, Owen?

  2. These people don't exist for us and so their common predicament is of no moment. That extends to climate change. We view it as a problem that might require better sea walls for Vancouver or new agricultural techniques across the prairies. We see it in the context of "our" problems which masks the more lethal impacts being caused among the poorest and most vulnerable in distant reaches. We don't draw connections which is critical to accepting self-interest such as exporting bitumen. If we were to acknowledge that each of those supertankers is a death sentence for some kid or kids in some far off hell hole we would have to weigh it differently, perhaps more responsibly. Yet responsibility is the very thing we seek to avoid.

    1. I totally agree, Mound. The fact is all of us take a measure of comfort in our willful ignorance. That way, we can live out our lives without personal sacrifice, even while we know deep down that the bill will become due for others, including our children and succeeding generations.