Picking on the poor | AspenTimes.com

Picking on the poor

Dear Editor:

Many of us will have received the worthy email forward, “‘Tis the season to buy local,” which was published recently in the paper (Nov. 12, 2011), but a friend of mine had some comments on it that are also worth publishing. She says:

“I strongly agree with this concept of rethinking the purchasing of material things, particularly things the recipient doesn’t need. I have long supported small business owners and entrepreneurs over big business. Since a larger portion of Americans are now employed in the service sector, rather than the manufacturing sector, this leads to support these services. I agree with attempting to buy locally.

“However, what is still bothering me, after initially reading this email and then the same in the local paper, is the repeated castigation of the Chinese-made goods as evil. If the word Chinese were replaced with ‘foreign made,’ I would not have this reaction at 4 a.m. The items that the Chinese companies produce are what they have been hired to make by American corporations (and those of other developed nations). They don’t make them for the hell of it and then attempt to find buyers in the U.S. If there were no market, they wouldn’t make it. In fact, these are often no longer Chinese-made but now Vietnamese- or African-made. This author is targeting the poorest people of the world who have no choice but to work for the lowest wages, paid by companies such as Wal-Mart. Some unemployed Americans are not willing to work for low wages or for long hours, hence the many American employers who are dependent on hiring illegal and non-illegal immigrants. Compared to many Americans in this past generation, I see people in second- and third-world countries working harder, watching less TV, getting better educations and saving more for their futures.”

The author ends by asking if this isn’t what Christmas is about – “to me Christmas is a universal concern for humanity.”

It’s always wrong to point fingers, and I regret that this was part of the original and otherwise terrific message.

Catherine Garland