I’ve noticed a troubling phenomenon: the people who complain that everything in all the shops is made in china are the very same people who complain about poor wages and benefits for hard working Canadians and the inflated prices of certain luxury goods.  I’ll grant that our world would be a better one if more of our production were local, our workers were better paid and beautiful things remained cheap.  But to complain that this is not the world we live in is to ignore economics.

The reason all of our production moved to Asia and South America is because our labour costs are high: Canadians demand wages that support our growing consumer lifestyles.  We want more and more money for our work yet we don’t accept that increasing labour costs will increase the prices of goods.  If we lived in a closed system economy, asking for a raise would be forcing inflation.  This is the simple fact that we capitalist consumers don’t like to talk about.

Your affluence isn’t in contrast to the world’s poverty, one is the product of the other.  Your money buys an obscene amount of goods because someone else is working an obscene about of hours for pennies.  We are all standing on the shoulders of millions of poorly paid workers and immigration law is the only thing keeping us on top.

And don’t let yourself think that it’s good for both us and for the workers.  Just because they want the jobs doesn’t make it a fair transaction.  It’s like hiring a homeless guy to mow your lawn for five bucks because the landscapers charge more.  Sure the homeless guy wants the little money you gave him, but you are taking advantage of his poverty for your own gain.

If you want products made in Canada you have two ethical options.  Either you demand that Canadians be paid developing world wages, take a huge wage cut, and live with dramatically less, or you accept that Canadian goods cost more, buy those goods and live with dramatically less.  If you want to maintain your luxurious standard of living with a bigger house, more cars, and more stuff than any era or region in human history, then shut your mouth and be glad that the people of the world work their fingers to the bone so you can enjoy Wal-mart’s every day low prices.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

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