This I Believe

Mitchell - Boalsburg, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 22, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Take a seat, pay attention; as you sit there, in your nicely put together outfit of Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, Express, Wal-Mart brand, or Penn State apparel, I want you to go along with Dhrewv. Dhrewv’s a laborer, 11 years old; he’s been working in a factory in Indonesia since he was 9. Making less than 35 dollars a month, he has been the main breadwinner for his family the last 2 years. Everyday he endures 10-14 hour days of non-stop work, maybe a lunch break, the same stew and bread from yesterday.

Dhrewv works in an export processing zone, which is the socially excepted term for a sweatshop. Everyday, Dhrewv wakes up to work for another 14 hour day, consisting of sowing together apparel that is imported to his factory from Abercrombie, Gap, Express, and clothing sold at Wal-mart; then exported to America. Each item is sold for as much or more than he makes in a month of hard labor. Dhrewv is part a child labor crisis that is occurring today, all around the world. Children are working, for less than most of us spend on a night out, just so you and I can walk around in designer goods. Dhrewv joins millions of children, which work everyday in these export processing zones around the globe.

I am 22 years old; I attend college and work two different jobs. When I was 9, I was running around my yard being a kid, riding motorcycles; playing sports with my best friends. I think this is the type of stuff a kid should do, go to school, and have fun; not be the main breadwinner for a family at age 9.

Globalization’s started something, a race to the bottom; a company’s way of finding a country with the lowest paying wages to build factories in, to import and export goods. Children are hired, not only because they will work for pennies a day, but they are docile, they won’t form unions asking for hirer wages, and they won’t complain about the harsh working conditions.

I believe that our world is a self destructive force; we are in a race to the bottom, to find the lowest wages. I believe that we need work together, towards a goal of operating the world efficiently, before diminishing the ozone, before we blow up another country, or before another country brings the war to America, instead of us fighting on their soil. The goal of creating a more efficient world is tough, but we can start; not racing to the bottom, not employing 9 year olds to sow apparel, and making auto makers to build cars to be more energy efficient. While most of us worry about what clothes to wear, Dhrewv just hopes that he has a job everyday, to make the small amount of money to feed his family. The next time you buy an 80 dollar shirt, think that dhrewv doesn’t even make that in two months, think about it.