Last night one of my good friends invited me to go to the "Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts" lecture with her at Bayridge Women's Residence in the Back Bay. The speaker, Jenny Driver, spoke about the pros and cons of globalization and used case examples of how the global economy's emphasis on profits creates a modern day type of slavery, in which factory workers for major corporations are not paid enough to meet their basic needs.
We watched clips of the film "Behind the Swoosh" which chronicled Jim Keady's mission to bring justice to Nike factory workers in the late '90s. The film was both horrifying and inspiring. It shows both how easy it is to be an ignorant consumer, but also how, as consumers, we have the ultimate power to change practices of big businesses. Nike is, in fact, a success story - Jim Keady's explosive research created a PR nightmare for the sportswear company, and changed their practices as a result.
Following the thought-provoking lecture, there was a discussion in which people shared both positive and negative examples of how the global economy affects people in different countries. It was great to hear from a variety of listeners in an open format. At the wine and cheese reception, we discussed these issues further and pledged to each other that we would try to be conscious consumers. All in all, it was an inspiring night, and I look forward to attending future lectures at Bayridge. Topics in the "Think Deeper" series include:
Why the Push for Assisted Suicide - October 17
The Eye of the Beholder: How Men See Women - November 28
The Art and Science of Happiness - December 5
Food & Politics: How the Food Industry Controls What You Eat - January 16
The Morality of Environmental Protection - February 20
The Skinny on Fat - April 17
What is Regenerative Medicine - May 15