chapter  12
6 Pages

Purchasing

Labour here is consistently paid a low wage, which does not permit workers sufficient finances on which to live satisfactorily, or surplus money to invest

in their business, such as agriculture, or to purchase material goods. In the case of agriculture, if farmers are able to invest in their businesses by, for example, drilling a water well to yield better crops, then they generate more finance which in turn allows them to purchase goods. Once labour is able to purchase goods, then somebody needs to manufacture them. The result is improved standards of living and a more sustainable and equitable society. That is a simplistic view on very complex issues but was highlighted in the Independent Commission on International Development Issues publication North-South. Only by raising the standards of a given country can that country begin to make strides towards development. This is a very complex issue, as whilst it is naturally considered to be unacceptable by those in the developed world, if a society is poor it cannot afford education for its children, so what should the children do instead? Only by raising the standard of that country can education be made more widely available to children. The greater the finance available the higher the age to which education can be offered. Exploitation of labour in developed countries

It is often forgotten that exploitation of labour still happens in the developed world. The employment of illegal immigrants is an obvious example, but many people, especially women are exploited by being paid to carry out work in their home at rates of pay well below the national minimum wage usually paid on piece work rates, i.e. based upon output rather than an hourly wage. This is difficult for a purchaser to identify, because it is hidden from view. Exploitation of the environment in the manufacture of materials

There are relatively strict regulations in the developed world concerned with environmental pollution during extraction and manufacture of materials and components. However, many materials are sourced from elsewhere in the world, where legislation either does not exist or is less stringent. In effect, this means Western countries can export their environmental problems. Typical examples are obtaining timber from non-renewable sources and the extreme amounts of uncontrolled pollution caused in the extraction of metals such as waste rock and slurries, not to mention the pollution of watercourses. There is much documentation of these occurrences, but the purchaser may have some difficulty ensuring the material bought actually comes from a less polluting source. Timber from sustainable sources has over the years become easier to trace.