One of the golden rules of imperial systems, and especially imperial capitalism, is that what first occurs in the periphery will eventually take root in the core. Perhaps the most pressing near-term threats to human populations in the developed world is that of slavery. In Our Depraved Future of Debt Slavery, I made the point that many Americans lack the historical perspective needed to understand this threat, which is made clear by the fact that most “educated” Americans believe the system of slavery for African-Americans ended with the Civil War, even though it really lasted for decades after that.
But, what we lack in temporal perspective, we also lack in proximal perspective. Meaning, we completely fail to understand that many forms of slavery (or labor that is forced/coerced to a high degree) have been occurring in other parts of the world for years on end, and are still rampant to this very day. That is the topic of a recent article and infographic from Jake Edmiston, Jonathon Rivait, Chloe Cushman & Richard Johnson at the National Post. When considering these examples of forced/child labor, we should remember that the seeds of slavery have also been re-sown in the West, and we WILL be made to reap the harvest.
Statistics from a U.S. government study are helping trace common consumer products back to slave-labour origins. Findings released in the 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Labour outline 71 countries involved in exploitative labour practices, spanning 130 product types.
The National Post graphics department takes a look at this data and charts out what it means:
The list of products differentiates between forced labour and child labour. The latter is an all-encompassing term for work done by children under the age of 15, but also applies to the slavery of people under 18. Forced labour includes scenarios where a person is lured to another country where they’re stripped of their identification documents and forced into poor work conditions in order to repay their employer for providing travel to the labour camp.