I was watching Downton Abbey last night (and imagining I lived upstairs), when my revelry was interupted by an ad for kmart which was advertising that it's already very "low prices have dropped even lower". $4 t-shirts, and $8 electric kettles are too good to go past - well so the ad says anyway!
But when we are paying $4 for a t-shirt, we cannot possibly paying for the full cost. I am sure that the store is still making a profit, as is the company that made the t-shirt. So what are we not paying for?
Probably we are not paying the employees who make the t shirt a decent wage. No sick leave, holiday pay, or over time payments. We probably are not paying for a safe working environment either.
We're not paying for the pollution that the production causes to be cleaned up.
In the western world we have become so used to the idea that cheaper is better, that we have forgotten the true cost of these cheaper goods.
Fair trade coffee and chocolate are common now. We are all happy to pay a little more to ensure that our treats are ethically sourced, yet we continue to purchase all manner of other products that are produced in third world countries by a poorly paid workforce.
I have written before about the ethical dilemmas I have when grocery shopping, and I don't have the answers to this problem. I don't even know how you can get ethically sourced clothing or home wares, but I thinks it is time we stop and have a conversation about the true cost of all these cheap goods.
What do you think? Do you know where you can source ethically produced clothes and home wares? I am still getting my head around this issue.