Monday, March 23, 2009

Why are we so Cheap?

Well this is a sight we sadly won't be seeing much any more. Last month Pacific Brands announced that it will be closing eight of its manufacturing sites around Australia and will instead be importing garments from China. The company recently posted a sizable half year loss and blame the "economic downturn" for their need to outsource to the manufacture of their garments to China, as it's cheaper. Article here.
I try to buy most of bub's clothes second hand, but when buying new I am conscious to look for the Made in Australia label, and Bonds often is the only choice available.
It really makes me mad that "lowest price" seems to be the greatest or only consideration in so many peoples purchasing decisions. We live in an extremely wealthy society. It's not like we can't afford to shell out a few extra dollars to support a local product. And what's the point of "saving" a couple of dollars if we're just going to spend it on some other unnecessary purchase? The great economic problem for the first world is not that we don't have enough money, it's that we have too much. We spend thoughtlessly on too much "stuff" and then once we've spent all we've got, we spend a bit more on credit. But "cheap" is no bargain - our consumption habits are literally costing us the earth.


  1. This is such a dilemma isn't it? I try to mostly buy secondhand too, but it isn't always possible. I do find that buying from on-line Australian eco sites at least gets me clothes that are fairly traded, and sometimes made in Australia, but it is almost impossible to walk into a department store and buy anything that I feel ethically at ease with...

    I am interested in your post on Mabon - what is its origin? I have never heard of it. I love the idea of embracing the darkness of winter - I always curtail my activities and hibernate in the winter. I find that going slower then gives me time to reflect on life...

  2. Hi Jo, I agree that shopping in department stores can be an ethical nightmare! I remember the big "buy Australian made" campaign of the 80s (or was it 90s?), I wonder what ever happened to that?

    Mabon is an ancient pagan festival celebrating the autumn equinox. If you do a google search for Mabon or "wheel of the year" you will find heaps of stuff. You just have to invert the wheel for us here in the Southern Hemisphere.

    take care,