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THE TRUE COST OF OUR LUXURIES

V. Ryan 2010

 

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Most people never consider how our luxuries are manufactured, where they come from and the working conditions and lives of the people who make them. Many luxuries such, as electronic gadgets and gold jewellery are manufactured by people who have poor living conditions and a poor quality of life. They are usually paid very little, have dangerous working conditions and work long days. The people who make the products we take for granted, often live in poverty.
 
1. Do you think this is right? Explain your answer. The key phrases below may help you answer this question.
 
ALL WORKERS SHOULD EARN A GOOD WAGE - THEY SHOULD HAVE DECENT WORKING CONDITIONS - WE SHOULD PAY MORE FOR OUR LUXURIES - WE SHOULD NOT EXPECT POOR PEOPLE TO MAKE OUR PRODUCTS - ALL PEOPLE DESERVE A GOOD LIFE
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. The people who manufacture our everyday luxuries/products usually do not have access to a Health Service (hospitals) and free medical treatment. If they become ill they have to pay to see a Doctor, but they may not have the money. Often, an entire family depends on the wage of one person for all their needs (food, paying for their children’s education, medical fees and the roof over their heads). How would you feel if you were in this situation and you were ill?
The key phrases below may help you answer this question.
 
SCARED - WORRIED - FRIGHTENED - CONCERNED ABOUT MY FUTURE - WORRIED FOR PEOPLE WHO DEPEND ON ME - PAY FOR MY MEDICAL TREATMENT OR FOOD FOR THE FAMILY?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. List the luxuries that you own, that you think you cannot do without (for example, a mobile phone or an ipod). Explain why each luxury is important to you.
A symbol that is occasionally seen on packaging is the Fair Trade symbol. This means that the contents of the package has been produced in the Third World and that the producer (ie. the farmer) has received a fair and realistic price. It also means that the produce is not from countries whose Governments help their industry / agriculture undercut those of much poorer countries, by giving them subsidises.
Gold is often mined in poor countries, with the workers earning very little money despite working long hours and in dangerous working conditions.
Design a new logo / symbol that will be placed on the packaging of gold jewellery. The symbol will show that a fair price has been paid for the gold and that the workers have got their fair share. Draw a rough version, followed by a colour rendered version.
 
 
 
 
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