Monday, March 21, 2011

Mama Always Said to Play Fair

Mama always said to play fair; in fact, most of the adults in my life told me to play fair. What did that mean? Well, you gave everyone a turn, followed the rules of the game, you never stacked one team, winning was not the most important goal, and everyone was to be treated they way you wanted to be treated. I now tell my students and youth groups to play fair. I share with them that three most important things to remember when playing a game or working together is to play fair, play safe and play hard.

My question is: Why does this term not extend into adulthood and business? Do adults forget this important lesson when it comes to their choices and behaviors? It amazes me that still to this day we have sweatshops, child labor, slave labor, and other unfair labor practices around the world and in the United States. Yet, we are drawn to the lowest priced goods that are manufactured in conditions that are reprehensible and are certainly not fair. What makes us think that we deserve a pantry, closet, house, and storage units full of items and goods that are made and produced unfairly?

I for one want to try my best to play fairly and trade fairly. I want to be sure that the items that I buy are made in fair and safe conditions. The producer, farmer or artisan should receive a livable wage that will provide money to send children to school, to obtain clean water, decent housing as well as an adequate diet. Also, these products should be made in safe working conditions. Doors should not be locked, 18 hour work days are unacceptable, child labor is wrong, bathrooms should always be available and hazardous conditions avoided.

So, what is the alternative? Fair Trade!

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