Our New Presidency and Ethical Production
Photo by Washington Post - Original post by Fashioning Culture
There are two sides to every story, and multiple vantage points to every situation. At least that's how we have to look at future of our country for the next four years. While the future is currently very uncertain, and while I am no political expert, after hours of research I must say that there seems to be some positive light to be shed in the midst of much negativity.
1. FREE TRADE
Ethical brands have a large stake in the future of international trade and a world market. The President-elect has stated on multiple occasions his issues with our previous international trade deals. His opposition to free trade could hinder importing artisan-made goods from around the world, in exchange for fair payment. Fortunately, filing as a non-profit or 501(c)(3) may protect organizations from being heavily taxed when working with international groups or projects.
2. INTERNATIONAL MANUFACTURING & PRODUCTION
Our President-elect's views on international manufacturing could be a blessing in disguise, or 'bigly' hurt the lives of many laborers. "Trump has threatened to place big tariffs on imports from China, raising the cost of consumer goods that come into the U.S.," (Northam, NPR News). While this may seem like a let-down to many Americans, as ethical consumers, we must not forget that the epicenter of fast fashion manufacturing takes place in China. Decreasing the amount of manufacturing imported from China will hopefully decrease the amount of fast fashion products allowed on the U.S. market. This could also promote U.S. made products, providing more jobs, and stimulating our own domestic economy. We can only hope that this will be carried out in a fair fashion (no pun intended), including fair treatment and wages for U.S. laborers.
Unfortunately, while our importing of "Made in China" fast fashion products may decrease, this does not mean that the unfair treatment of laborers will cease. If anything, the existence of ethical brands, partnered with non-profits and fair trade missions around the globe, are some of the only hope that these laborers have. If our government were to ban certain acts of international trade, or make international trade extremely costly in taxes, we risk the extinction of many ethical brands, and letting artisans slip back into unfair treatment and working conditions.
3. WITHDRAWL OF THE TTIP / TTP
For the past few years, international trade deals such as the TTIP & TTP have sparked much controversy. They have been criticized for giving all of the power to international corporations, and not protecting our government from financial downfalls. What is often overlooked about these agreements is the humanitarian and environmental downfalls of pursuing these partnerships. The TTIP has specifically been attacked for it's support of fracking and use of animal hormone products, some that might not even be legal in the United States.
Along with the enivornmental effects of these deals, "the TPP negotiatiors failed to inlclude enforceable methods to stop foreign labor abuses, incluidng poverty wages and perilous working conditions." If there partnerships were to become legal in multiple countries, they would also perpetuate unfair labor conditions and wages around the globe.
Fortunately, to end this analysis on a positive note, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to slowly kill these deals over time, re-focusing on domestic production and consumption.
The only thing that we, as ethical consumers, can be 100% sure of is that the future of this industry is extremely uncertain. The only way that we can press forward in a positive manner is to stay informed, and consciously pursue practices that support the most ethical treatment of humans and our earth for years to come.