MODERN SLAVERY

by Truus Dokter in


Does it make sense to still commemorate our slavery's past?

Has slavery really vanished from our lives, not only in the Western world but worldwide? In India there is still a cast system, in Dubai foreign workers are flown in and kept while their kids grow up elsewhere, hardly ever seeing their parents and in countries like Colombia poor farmers have to escape to a miserable life in the city in order not to delay the production of cocaine for European and North American consumption. On a sophisticated small scale we see something happening: Max Havelaar coffee and bananas, child labor is traced where possible and now and than slaves are being released from factories in the inland of China.

Thanks to Al Gore we are finally aware that we are globally responsible for the status of the natural habitat, but shouldn't we also show a bit more interest in the living conditions of people less fortunate than the Western consumer? Or is our wallet more important than a decent life for the workers - far away - who actually partly keep our economy running and healthy?
Every world citizen should be aware of the fact that we are living together on this globe and that we have a shared responsibility. That doesn't stop with buying now-and-than a biological product, to work more at home and drive less or to donate to charity once in a while. A new global attitude is needed that shows interest and cares for everything and everybody.
Sceptics will say:" We have heard the socialists and communists say the same." Capitalism didn't bring what it has preached either: a great number of people in the US live under very poor conditions.
A complex world isn't helped by conservative thinking: we need vision and insight like for instance William McDonough and Michael Braungart are showing in their book Cradle-to-Cradle or Eric D. Beinhocker in his book "The origin of Wealth" and the many others who are publishing about nature, sustainability and new economic thinking. Unfortunately  the most important component of a production process, human labour still hasn't reached the top of our list.
On the threshold of a "responsible revolution", let's include the right for every human being to food, education and respect.