A friend once said to me a year abroad will teach you more than you will learn in a year at university. Three months was enough for me to see that my standard of living and consumerism wasn’t something to be strived for. It comes at a cost and the cost is the poverty of human beings in nieghbouring countries. It is something I have struggled with in the last year because it is hard to be immersed in a society which is dependant on the products that lock people, families, communities, cities and countries into poverty. I can’t give up my life here, it’s where I was born. We have oppurtunies here, we have education, infastructure and media. Furthermore, I like clothes, I like fashion, I like to eat, I like to enjoy my world away from the sweat and the clutter and confronting reality of need. In western society, there is no need, except to fulfill our desire for more.
My Education taught me how the way our society is set up is wrong.Our consumer society demands that we have everything and we have it cheap. The workers, people in nieghbouring countries, get paid less; so we can have it for less. It is how business works, minimal cost price and high turnover. Through competitive pricing in all sectors of western consumerism the labour costs are driven very low.
My Education has given me a reason to buy a product that isn’t a part of this system: fair trade. It ensures workers are paid enough to provide food, education, healthcare and housing for their family. I see ads for World Vision, Compassion and other amazing charities alike, I think about how much money our consumer society gives out in aid. Maybe if we re-thought our business practices we wouldn’t need to give away so much money because the problem wouldn’t be there in the first place.
My Education taught me that buying a products at prices that ensure workers are not getting paid a livable wage, is me supporting their poverty.
My Education was Cambodia.