Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sorting Clothes and Cultures

This week's Smile Politely column is up: Clash of cultures, clothing edition, where I talk about sorting clothes with the Old Order Mennonites down in Arthur.

4 comments:

Adam said...

There was a documentary a few years ago about the cast-off clothes from American thrift shops that get shipped to various parts of Africa, usually by charities. The parcels frequently get sold in bulk to street vendors, who in turn flood the market with dirt cheap clothing. As a result, local textile manufacturing is not able to compete and goes out of business with devastating economic impact. See http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/tshirttravels/film.html

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Dan S said...

Bummer.

Unfortunately, that's often the way it goes with service/charity work. Which isn't to say we shouldn't do charity work, but make sure it actually helps.

Much better than charity is good social policy.

brownie said...

"...local textile manufacturing is not able to compete and goes out of business..."

Sounds a lot like what's been going on in America. Flooded with cheap products from elsewhere and American businesses go out of business, hurting our economy.

Hmm. Sounds more like a consequence of the "globalization" of trade than a poor social policy. (It certainly doesn't seem to me to be POLICY at all, but just part of the big game)