I don’t know how to insert a quote from another post, but the following was from a previous post.
I think it is cultural hubris to assume people pounding out brass bells are living in abject despair.
========end quote
Well that was not exactly my intent. I agree that we cannot sustain our American lifestyle. I have forsaken that long ago. My vehicle is a diesel and I am exploring veggie fuels. But the folks referred to in the quote above do not aspire to it either.

A bit of history to put this in prospective.
My daughter, Mal, is a multi-cultural social worker in Portland Maine. She speaks Spanish fluently, learned in Equator as a teenager. Portland Maine is somewhat unique in that it welcomes folks from other countries. Not that there are no problem, but most of the problems come from “outside”, like the INS crews that ....woops off topic.

When I am in Maine, I speak more Spanish than English. Her world is filled with folks that have migrated from other parts of the world. Africa, South America, you get the picture. They are doing jobs that Mainers will not do. Last time I was there I spent a lot of time with a guy from Nicaragua, we will call him H.

H. left Nicaragua, in his early teens. As the oldest male in the family it is up to him to support the family like his father would. He has no father, but does not want to talk about that. He left home and traveled to the US, and yes, entered illegally. In 4 years he has become a “legal” and continues to work, living in very poor circumstances so he can send most of his pay home. Not for BMW’s, but to provide the basic needs of his family. He is a family person and he grieves at not being home. But he knows he must do this. Would you have similar courage? I could relate many many similar stories learned from my Daughter.

Nicaragua is a disaster. I won’t get into the politics of why, but the good ol’ US had a lot to do with it. I have friends traveling there right now and they report many locations with HUNDREDS of people along the roads, entire families living without shelter, or perhaps if lucky a plastic tarp.

Mal is working with a woman’s group in Nicaragua, trying to build a chicken farm. No money for nails. Can’t buy a hammer or saw. We are trying to get money for them, and it is a slow and difficult process. No phones, no mail, very remote, lots of people. Anybody know a woman master carpenter that would like to go to Nicaragua?

What does this have to do with Wal-mart and other international companies? Well, They are a fact of life. They won’t go away and the best tactic is to use them. Take time to track down a group called “Nosweat”, http://www.nosweatapparel.com/ which provides good working conditions for their employees. Written Contracts, Unions, the whole bit. They want to put pressure on Reebok et al, and it seems to be working. Rather than avoiding the situation and burying your head in clichés, look at what you can do to “spoof” the system.

Sure the international companies will exploit the workers. That is the capitalistic way. But it is a beginning. Any beginning is better than no beginning. I am not an apologist for the international companies, far from it. But they are the only tool we have and I guess we gotta use it. You have a better method?

As an aside, my degree is in appropriate technology. For over 30 years I have been beating this issue. Know what we carry in Mexico to give away? The standard pencil, paper and crayons for the kids. But cheap reading glasses from Sams for the adults. $5.00 each and talk about a little thing doing a lot.

<rant mode off>...
Sorry, but this is something I feel deeply about. Probably not quite an appropriate use of the campfire, but......

I will behave now.

...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97