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The Social And Ecological Cost Of Throw Away Fashion
Do you ever feel like you’re running around in a desperate attempt to stay ahead of the latest fashion styles and consumer trends? Every season brings a new look, the latest colors, changes in heel height, and a variety of handbag sizes. One year it’s big and colorful, another year it’s small and dull.
Most of us don’t realize that this fashion accessory – which constantly distracts us from our next purchase – is actually an invention of the American economic system. It’s certainly hard to get rid of the spinning wheel, but if you really want to adopt a lifestyle that takes sustainability seriously, you’ll need to face the shocking truth about the true cost of the clothing industry and the economic system that sustains you. hear moving from one trend to another.
It is a story that will take us down a dark path, through a trail of worker injustice, and environmental exploitation. But after exploring this world of the apparel industry, you’ll be better equipped to put your consumer dollars to work—for the planet, for your people, and for a better world.
Our consumer culture—that wonderful life cycle we live with—hasn’t been around forever. In fact, almost half a century ago shipping, trading and living within our means was the basis for any society. People in these communities organized their lives around the main streets where locals would bring their specialized goods to sell and exchange with their neighbors – products created using resources close at hand – a system of products with quality that holds benefits. in the pockets of producers. People were valued for what they could bring to society; they were known as farmers, bakers, blacksmiths, tailors, ranchers and cooks.
This is far from the present situation. In our current market economy, we as individuals are no longer valued as productive members of society – mothers and soap makers and pharmacists. Instead, our greatest value is as a customer. But how did this happen? It all started shortly after World War II. Companies were desperate to increase their economy and profits. So they put their heads together and realized that the solution was to turn the average North American into a consumer—to keep people buying and buying and buying. Their plan was to keep prices low so customers would continue to move inventory as quickly as possible. . The bottom line in this system is just that – the bottom line.
Unlike the old manufacturers who prided themselves on creating quality products that benefit society, the corporations that control the world’s economies more than our governments are now primarily concerned with maintaining profits by strangling the consumer system. This is done by stimulating the constant need (yes, the need!) that people have things in front of something new and "better". And the system works very well & hellip; at least for companies. Check out these facts from CorpWatch:
– Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 countries (based on a comparison of company sales and country GDP),
– The sales of the Top 200 companies are growing at a faster rate than the overall global economic activity. Between 1983 and 1999, their combined sales grew from 25.0 percent to 27.5 percent of World GDP.
– The combined sales of the Top 200 companies is greater than the combined economies of all countries of the top 10,
– The combined sales of the Top 200 is 18 times the combined annual income of the 1.2 billion people (24 percent of the world’s total population) living in “extreme” poverty.
– While the sales of the Top 200 account for 27.5 percent of the world’s economic activity, they employ only 0.78 percent of the world’s workforce.
– Between 1983 and 1999, the profits of the Top 200 firms increased by 362.4 percent, but the number of people they employed increased by only 14.4 percent.
Whether you know it or not, your consumer choices, not to mention your clothing buying habits, flow into this system – a system that makes very few people very rich while harming our planet and the many people who live on it. The more we buy, the more we create, and it goes on and on. Only by shifting our focus from a buy-and-throw mentality to one of conservation, recycling and sustainable consumerism can we break away from this current, destructive path.
Recycling and reuse should always be the first choice, but when buying textiles is absolutely necessary, then choosing organic clothing and organic bedding will help rebalance this current sustainable industry.
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