Economics, Politics, Social Commentary and occasionally Superstring Theory.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Blood Jumps on the Bandwagon

I just saw a commercial that demonized globalization to try and get people to give blood. It was from a first-person perspective about a guy who was writing to a company about its child labor/sweatshop practices and kept getting coupons instead of responses. Then talked about child labor and deforestation as it pertained to the paper for all the letters he was writing. The upshot is that, get this, 'saving the world' is hard but you can do a little by giving blood. As if saving the world meant putting an end to globalization?

This is the kind of stuff that really pisses me off. In law, it's akin to what we would call inference stacking. Fact A would lead you to draw Inference 1. If you assume Inference 1 is a fact, then you can draw Inference 2. The flaw being that Inference 1 is not a fact. This is why it isn't allowed in courtrooms. This commercial does the same thing. Fact A: global trade means that children will be making our jeans. Inference 1: Children are forced to work. Inference 2: The factories that employ them are heartless and exploitive. See where the flaw is here? And the worst part about is that it fans the flame of misinformed passion in order to get people to donate blood. Metamessage: If you give blood, you're one of the good guys. Global trade is the bad guy.

Children aren't forced to work at the barrel of a gun. They're forced to work because their families are poor. The parents wouldn't send them to work if they had a choice, but they don't. The working conditions in foreign-owned factories are often remarkably better than any available in domestic industries. And wages are higher. Doctors and lawyers are leaving their practices in Vietnam to go work in foreign-owned factories. Would these people rather these children go back to the farm and starve to death? Take a good look at Sub-Saharan Africa. See what happens when people can't work for a living to put food on their table. The girls become prostitutes and boys end up riding in the back of a Nissan pickup truck with an AK-47.

If you want to register your complaint with the Ad Council, who published the commercial, email them here. You can view the ad here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:10 PM


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