Sunday shoes, a dilemma, and a Carnival
I was at Palmer Square yesterday and noticed that the Nine West store is having a sale. As regular readers of this blog probably have noticed by now, to me the combination of “shoes” and “sale” is essentially irresistible.
Nine West is carrying these,
The plastic Nine Wests are made in China and do not make the feet or your legs look attractive. Ugly shoes never do. I tried on a pair and the rough rims of the shoe will cause a blister on your tender skin.
This particular style is an atrociously poor knock-off of the classic Ferragamo Vara style:
The Ferragamos retail for $290.00 at Neiman Marcus and at the Ferragamo flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York.
The leather Vara is handmade in Italy.
I’ve had this style of Ferragamos (in black leather, not patent leather) for nearly twenty years. It is the kind of classic shoe that speaks of class, quality and conservative discernment. I believe I paid $120 or so back then, and they have been worth every penny. If there’s a woman’s shoe that spells “solid respectability”, it is the Ferragamo Vara.
More importantly, there are two other advantages: the Vara is a most flattering shoe, and a shoe that can be worn all day.
But there’s a greater issue: the issue of slave labor.
It is the mantra of the Manolo Blogs that instead of buying cheap footwear made with deplorable lack of attention to detail by whatever 8-year old Bangladeshi child was cuffed to that particular table, one must save up for the superfantastic shoes, lovingly made by handsome gruff men named Aldo who drive cool Italian scooters and get 90 minute lunch breaks.
Having had – when I was in Italy – too too many unwelcome encounters with handsome gruff men named Aldo who simply could not believe all I wanted to do was read the newspaper, eat my lunch and have my jolt of expresso by myself when I obviously could have been enjoying a blissful (at least for him) 90 minutes with scooting Aldo instead, The Plumcake has nearly talked me out of buying Italian shoes for the rest of my days.
But that’s not the issue. The issue is slave labor and child labor.
We have a dilemma when it comes to child labor: The Bangladeshi economy can not distribute what it doesn’t have (wealth), and in order to create wealth it must become a producing economy. At the same time, it is attempting to become a producing economy on a lowest-price-producer basis, and the cheapest labor of all is child labor.
(Please spare me the emails asking me why am I picking on Bangladesh. I am only using that country for the purpose of expedience. The same situation occurs in whatever third-world military regime and/or dictatorship you want to bring up.)
I have no illusions as to whether those children would have better lives if they were not doing factory work. They would not be in school. They would be enslaved in other ways.
At the same time, directly transferring moneys from the developed countries leads to even more corruption and exploitation. The only way for underdeveloped countries to move forward is through economic development. In developed countries child labor was not erradicated until there was a rise in the standard of living brought on by the Industrial Revolution and families could afford to send their children to school.
So I present the question to my visitors: What to do?
Would the answer lie on an emphasis on primary school education? And, if so, where to start?
Today Dr. Sanity has An Ahmadinejadpalooza of a Carnival!