A List of Goods Produced by Child or Slave Labour

It is not the function of this blog to depress people, or at least, it is not an intention of mine. However, I was over at the distributist review this evening, and came across this. It is a report, produced by the United States Department of Labour, on the products that are made with child labour, or forced labour. Slavery, in fact.

They are many and they are various. The list complements other articles on this blog in past years on how little we know of where economic goods come from. Gold miners seem little better than peons, to my mind.

The worst night shifts which I worked in the long ago--and there were a depressing few--didn't correspond to this. We live the lives we lead, of course, but I was essentially (as well as literally) moonlighting when I dragged my feet over all those otherwise soul destroying jobs that people do every day and night.

I was also 'pretending', in a sense, slipping away from Oxford into steelworks or warehouses and plastics factories and slaughterhouses and knowing that I wouldn't have to again, for a while. Still, I met people, talked to people, lived a little of the life my family led, just like I had when I first went out to work at a homecare store at the age of 16. I moaned a bit and thought of life as unfair in moments when I was down with the work. But, of course, I never bore anything remotely like the experiences of those in the report above.

There's a dignity in labour; there is also a horror in how your precious life slips away in this world, and especially, I suppose, your youth. We lie so much about employment too.

Can any reader really say that they believe the unemployment figures in their country? Can they believe that economies, like the American and British ones, that got used to holding down prices with illegal and barely legal labour, really know how many jobs have been lost in the current depression? Or how many people are working for less than full pay, or living in fear of redundancy, or not picking up benefits, or just not looking for jobs that are not there?

There was such optimism about future shock, once. I believe, incidentally, that future shock was a way of deluding oneself about industrial capitalism's decline, but an understandable and useful delusion. Technology was rampant and oil was cheap, and as a consequence the future seemed boundless. This was artificially extended by credit instruments and financial markets, and again by what would become overcapacity as specialisation was encouraged by the slow awakening of the Indian Ocean.

But now--that cliff edge is almost here for all to see. Too much capacity. Too few resources. Not enough investment in science, and new energy, and people, and education. The credit has turned into debt and the confident predictions of econometricians into astrology, just as you become aware of the lies and slavery around.

Still, chin up. If you have your mind, you may still be able to escape, and such are human beings there may still be a way out of the cage our political and media class have built for us that does not depend upon the slaves having had enough. What a strange cycle of recurrence the world is, though. We are fallen; without something to lead us out, we do the same thing over and over again.

God and science, love and reason--or debt, slavery, and decline. The wonder is that there is a choice at all and that so many people choose the latter, for others, is beyond understanding.

Oh, sod it. Here's a couple of good looking holy women to take your mind off how bad the world is. I make no apologies, they come from or live in hard areas and may understand some of the themes in this blog that seem crazy to all you metropolitan sophisticates--yes, you in the Big House.


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