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You Can't Buy Your Way to Social Justice

You Can't Buy Your Way to Social Justice

Why the activism of some fellow Americans scares me.

I'm afraid of some American Christians.

I am an American, but I haven't lived in the United States in a while. I live in Djibouti, a country in the Horn of Africa, and when you pick me up at the Minneapolis airport, I might invite you to ...

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Displaying 21–25 of 94 comments.

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Paul Schryba

May 21, 2013  9:38pm

Rick: There would have been no loss of profits, had not a catastrophic event occurred. The building was known to be unsafe as constructed, and violated safety standards. The decision to build and to continue to operate could have been the result of only two things; first, is the inability of the owner to spend more for a safe building. In that case, concern for the workers should have never permitted the building to have been built in the first place; or, it was decided to build cheap to reduce building costs to the owner-and increase profits. As long as enough profits were made before the collapse, the owner will make out fine. There continue to be businesses that operate worldwide that permit unsafe conditions, subsistence wages, that harm the environment- because they bring immediate, maximum profit to the owner. And where the number of workers far exceed the available jobs, reduction of the workforce is of no concern whatever.

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Roger McKinney

May 21, 2013  9:22pm

Rick, yes the building collapsed because the contractor cut corners, did shoddy work, and probably bribed the inspectors to ignore it. The business owner probably didn't know anything about it. Neither did the US companies buying the products. Such corruption is a big problem in poor countries, but punishing the workers by refusing to buy their products will not change things.

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Roger McKinney

May 21, 2013  9:20pm

Paul: "but to placing maximizing material gain as the primary goal of human economic activity." Of course that is idolatry and there will always be idolaters and always have been. As the Bible says, greed is a form of idolatry. What does that have to do with our conversation? What does it have to do with the economics of helping people in Bangladesh? Are you saying that American Christians are idolaters because they buy what poor people produce and thereby help them feed their families?

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Rick Dalbey

May 21, 2013  8:39pm

Paul, the unsafe building in Bangaladesh destroyed profits, reduced the pool of workers, and triggered regulation. In the long run, it does not pay to build unsafe buildings or to abuse your work force or to operate outside the law as they are finding out. Profit is the reward for building safe buildings and having a willing, healthy workforce.

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Paul Schryba

May 21, 2013  7:17pm

Reference to the conditions in Bangladesh: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bangladesh-building-collapse-highlights- unsafe-conditions-in-$20bn-clothing-industry/1/267596.html

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