“There are no sewing plants here anymore”

On December 22, 2009, www.billshrink.com wrote an article called “12 Reasons Companies Outsource Operations Overseas“. The first reason they gave was to lower wages. They went on to say that the average wage for a manufacturing worker in China was still $0.60/hr. and Mexico’s average wage was $2.46/hr. “Needless to say, an executive whose primary obligation is to delivering maximum return to his shareholders is strongly motivated to outsource such operations as can be outsourced without unacceptable losses in quality”.

The fact that the primary obligation is delivering maximum financial gain is where our culture strays from God’s word. (If you happen to not consider yourself a follower of Jesus, this would not necessarily concern you. However, if you truly have a relationship with Jesus, don’t feel judged, just read on) . Gain in and of itself is not considered wrong in the Bible. However, gain by exploiting others is forbidden. Jeremiah 6:13+ states “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain, prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace, they say, when there is not peace’”.

In response to the article above, a person wrote: “I was a spreader/cutter in the apparel industries (sewing plants) making beautiful clothes, helped a few close down to start operations in other countries where they get cheap ‘cheap’ labor… we are being put out of jobs for slave laborers in other countries… there are no sewing plants here anymore…”

If the primary goal of the company, consumer and stock holder is gain, then the decision to outsource to a company in China for $0.60/hr. regardless of their working conditions and insufficient wages, needless to say the loss of jobs right here in the USA, is quite logical. However, Jesus states in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other, You cannot serve both God and Money”.

This example in and of itself is not very convincing evidence that our culture is leaning more towards money as our god than any one religion. However, this is the first entry. Please return at a later date for other entries. Also, it is not very productive to point out a problem without at least looking towards a solution. Therefore, with each entry there will be a suggestion to start change, a goal to work towards, and an invitation for readers to brainstorm together. As a tailor and the Bible would say in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”.

Suggestions to start change:

Pray that God will show us his concern for the people that produce for us, that we will appreciate their hard work an give them worthy payment for their work.

Employ a local tailor to sew one thing for you.

Get your church to buy t-shirts from a fair trade company for things like Bible schools, summer camps and fund raisers. One organization is Madres Solteras in El Salvador. It is owned by the workers, gives a living wage, and their bottom line is the employees.

Long Term Visions for the Church:

The church of God to support or establish a fair trade company that pays a living wage, empowers its employees and has good working conditions.

The church of God to start their own labeling system; visiting factories and giving stamps of approval to just places, hopefully making people aware of their buying power and their responsibility to use it wisely.

Jesus says in Matthew 23:37+ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”. We can not systematically love our neighbors around the world as ourselves and at the same time, value money above the common good of the people who produce for us.

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