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Slavery and Coco... --Help with an assignment--

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Kitrax, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    So in my Contemporary World Culture class, we are covering the modern day slave trade/human trafficking that's going on in the Ivory Coast of Africa. We are specifically talking about the use of slaves in coco bean plantations. Coco beans, as you might know, are the main ingredient in chocolate. Three of the largest candy names in the world, Mars, Hershey, and Nestlé, use Free Trade instead of Fair Trade to obtain their coco beans. (It was requested that they only use Fair Trade to obtain the coco beans from plantations...but all three companies refused.) This basically means that the companies don't give a rat's ass about *how* they get the raw material...they just want it at the lowest price possible. They turn a blind eye that slavery was used to get them the coco beans.

    Now, as per my assignment, I need you folks to answer a few questions for me if you would be so kind.

    Prior to me just telling you about it....

    #1 - Where you *aware* that those 3 companies buy their coco beans from plantations that use forced labor/slavery?

    #2 - Do you think the world (not just the US) should act to stop slavery in the Ivory Coast?

    #3 - What do you think should be done...if, say the WTO, US, EU, or NATO took action?

    #4 - Will you continue to buy & eat Snickers, Butterfinger, Hershey Kisses, and other chocolate candies, knowing that the 3 companies buy coco from plantations that use slavery?

    #5 - Would you be willing to pay upwards for $3+ for the same exact candies if the 3 companies move exclusively to Fair Trade practices? (No slavery = higher price)

    #6 - What are your general thoughts of the 3 companies (not how candy 'X' tastes better than candy 'Y')

    #7 - What is your favorite color?

    #8 - What is your quest?

    #9 - What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?



    Ok, I admit, #'s 7-9 aren't part of my assignment...but I still thought I'd ask. :p

    Try not to go super crazy on this, as I have to print everything in this thread out...and ink is expensive. But don't give one word responses, except for #7....

    Thanks guys! :D
     
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  2. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    1. No
    2. Only in the way of a general support of democratic movements and in building up functioning societies.
    3. See 2
    4. Barely eat it now but this is not something that would stop me.
    5. No
    6. Such is the business world, they are no worse or better than 95% of the companies in the world. Price is king both for businesses and us consumers.
     
  3. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


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    1. No

    2. Yes. Not saying they need to drop everything and go invade the Ivory Coast, but there's nothing stopping them from taking action against the companies using slave labour.

    3. Severely sanction the companies. If there aren't laws against using slave labour, then they should pass some. I doubt they have much diplomatic clout in the area, but if they do there's no reason not to exercise it. I would support funding relevant NGOs who would take more direct action, though that's going beyond the general responsibilities of the government and I wouldn't really expect it of them.

    4. I don't buy much chocolate, but no, I doubt this would stop me. If there was a mass boycott, then sure, but boycotting on your lonesome is a pointless gesture and there's no reason to pointlessly not eat delicious chocolate :p If I bothered to educate myself more on the matter and found alternatives to these companies that don't use slave labour then I would be more inclined to buying those companies instead, all other factors being equal.

    5. Again, don't buy much chocolate myself. I would be less likely to buy more expensive chocolate due to a lack of funds.

    6. Sounds like capitalism as usual. **** it to pieces, but I have trouble getting worked up about it right now. Until we change or fix the system, this is to be expected because corporations are fundamentally amoral with no incentive from the system to act morally. If I got outraged at every company that did **** things, I'd be angry all the time, and I can't be bothered with that kind of permanent outrage.
     
  4. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] 1. No, although I'm not surprised:rolleyes:. So many of the daily products I buy can't be from fair trade. It feels hypocritical to oppose free trade, but I don't possess the budget to live by fair trade either. I just try to live as humbly as I can, and remain aware that I'm in no position to pass judgement.

    2. Yes. The focus should be on human rights violations and quality of life, though. If poverty, malnutrition, disease and suffering are worse from economic slavery:geezer:, then this should be tackled first. To clarify: Slavery usually requires the slaveholders to house, feed and care for their slaves in order to maintain productivity, so it may sometimes be less urgent than economic slavery (child labour, sweatshops). A balanced and objective response is required, not just an emotional reaction to a word/phenomenon like 'slavery'.

    3. Facilitate the capture of middlemen (slavers) and delivery to the *local* court systems (where justice is usually harsher;)). Public naming and shaming of the companies in question, in the hope they will adjust policy to avoid boycotts. I'm not sure if legal action against corporations would be effective. Perhaps an amusing way to harm the company's market position, is to loosen the trademark restrictions around their products, so other companies can copy their brand name chocolates. Great for boycotters; so they can still have their Snickers while refusing to buy Snickers:p.

    4. I'm proud to say that doesn't apply to me: I haven't eaten chocolate, for the most part, in the past 10 years. It's very addictive, and when I did start eating it again in 2004, I noticed I was getting fat fast. So I quit the habit, just like peanuts and pork.

    5. Probably not. Chocolate would become a 'special occasion' thing. On the plus side, it may help reduce the obesity problem in the West:lol:.

    6. I know their names, and I know the chocolates. I also know how companies behave under free trade; corruption is the very basis of the economic system. Better regulation should make the worst of their offenses less abundant, but this stuff will keep happening again and again. Nothing new under the sun, I'm afraid:(.

    7. Yellow:)

    8. My quest is to do good (I can't explain my drive to do good rationally - it's a religious thing).

    9. The airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow is roughly 11 meters per second, or 24 miles per hour.:book:
     
  5. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    I guess I should have posted links to literature and videos on this subject...oh well. GIYF!!!

    Wrong!
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    1. Until you mentioned it, no I had no idea.

    2. Yes, in form of trade sanctions, but I don't think we need to be hunting down slavers or anything like that.

    3. As per #2 above.

    4. I cannot remember the last time I purchased a candy bar. So while I won't change my buying habits, I don't buy any anyway.

    5. I suppose if I really got the urge to have a candy bar, I'd pay the $3, but like I said, I don't buy them now, when you can get them for around $1.

    6. I don't have much of an opinion on any of the three companies either way. I mean, they make candy. It's an issue that's hard for me to get passionate about. Sure, it sucks that they acquire their materials from nations using slave labor, but to me that's not much different than the shirt I'm wearing that was likely made in a sweat shop. The ultimate villian here is the Ivory Coast government, not the chocolate companies.

    7. Blue

    8. I seek the Grail.

    9. African or European?
     
  7. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    One thing that I found was really sad, was that a lot of the slaves went to these plantations on their own free will a normal men seeking work; once they were there, they had no money to get back, they usually didn't know where they were, and their new "boss" would refuse to pay them. By that time, they were *own* property, and escape meant twice daily beatings and often times - death. :toofar:


    Oh s***.... :p
     
  8. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    #1 - Where you *aware* that those 3 companies buy their coco beans from plantations that use forced labor/slavery?
    No, but like others I'm not terribly surprised.

    #2 - Do you think the world (not just the US) should act to stop slavery in the Ivory Coast?
    Legislation should be passed in our countries, stating that companies that knowingly use slave labor cannot trade here/can be prosecuted here. I'm with Coin, though, in that there may be worse things than this. I'd much prefer to kill the child-sex-trade for example.

    #3 - What do you think should be done...if, say the WTO, US, EU, or NATO took action?
    Basically, an international boycott, maybe with imprisonment for locally based company heads that OK use of slave products.

    #4 - Will you continue to buy & eat Snickers, Butterfinger, Hershey Kisses, and other chocolate candies, knowing that the 3 companies buy coco from plantations that use slavery?
    I prefer the non-name brands. They're cheaper.

    #5 - Would you be willing to pay upwards for $3+ for the same exact candies if the 3 companies move exclusively to Fair Trade practices? (No slavery = higher price)
    Yes, though likely not as often as I do now.

    #6 - What are your general thoughts of the 3 companies (not how candy 'X' tastes better than candy 'Y')
    Don't know enough, but this certainly doesn't help.

    #7 - What is your favorite color?
    Blue, green, black, and white. I can't choose which!

    #8 - What is your quest?
    To spread the Word of God and rational thought to all the corners of the internet (one post at a time).

    #9 - What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
    ... Do the feathers count as 'lading'? What about undigested food? Digested food? Is this at cruising speed, take-off, or landing? If either take-off or landing, is there a cross-wind, a headwind, or other altering conditions? :)
     
  9. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG]
    Besides watching Monty Python, did you check whether the African and European swallows actually exist? There's a South-African Swallow, but 'swallow' usually refers to the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), which often migrates from Europe to Africa. [Biology is a point of personal pride for me;)]
     
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Of course coin! But then again, the south african swallow is non-migratory...
     
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  11. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    #1 - Where you *aware* that those 3 companies buy their coco beans from plantations that use forced labor/slavery?
    No.

    #2 - Do you think the world (not just the US) should act to stop slavery in the Ivory Coast?
    Slavery = bad. I'm actually surprised it still exists, much less in such large scale. Isn't there, like, international laws against this, or is it just a question of a lack of enforcement? But it's not the first time I find myself too naive to the evils at large. :(

    #3 - What do you think should be done...if, say the WTO, US, EU, or NATO took action?
    SHOULD be done is one thing, but what CAN (realistically) be done is totally another. Putting some political pressure on the both the supply AND demand side of the equation should be a good start. I'm smelling Facebook activist action coming up.

    #4 - Will you continue to buy & eat Snickers, Butterfinger, Hershey Kisses, and other chocolate candies, knowing that the 3 companies buy coco from plantations that use slavery?
    No, but that's beside the point. I don't eat them because they're diluted chocolate that some idiot decided to call milk chocolate to please the masses, not because of the slavery. Dark chocolate (of the 80++ percent variety) is where it's at. ;)

    #5 - Would you be willing to pay upwards for $3+ for the same exact candies if the 3 companies move exclusively to Fair Trade practices? (No slavery = higher price)
    No idea if Marabou or Lindt are slavemasters just like the three you mentioned, but my conscience is tainted enough to not affect my decisions either way. They're expensive enough already, but I don't think +50% or even +100% price increase would matter all that much.

    #6 - What are your general thoughts of the 3 companies (not how candy 'X' tastes better than candy 'Y')
    There's a difference between (global) trade and charity. Multinational companies mostly deal with the first, while it takes exceptional altruism to qualify for the second. So no, I'm not the least surprised to know a whole lot of people need to be skinned alive (figuratively speaking) to pay for the luxury of the few.

    #7 - What is your favorite color?
    Mostly anything between wavelengths 400 and 490 nm.

    #8 - What is your quest?
    This: http://www.wowhead.com/?achievement=1681
    And I've completed it. My life is fullfilled. (And yes, I'm a qualified geek. And proud of it.)

    #9 - What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
    Constant average velocity or transient maximum?
     
  12. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Sounds like your professor wants to believe the hype of last year and not the most recent research. All to typical in the social science departments at universities. :rolleyes:

    Armed with more recent knowledge that has revealed the slavery issue was over exaggerated (although there is significant child labor in the industry -- but that's normal in the entire region. Kids work on farms in America as well for below minimum wage).

    1. Heard about it but the accuracy of the report is questionable.

    2. Of course.

    3. Sanctions may work, but I hope better solutions could be found.

    4. Yes. But then I don't believe the problem is as widespread as your professor does and as such has a minimal impact on product price.

    5. No. The products are not worth that much.

    6. I don't know enough about the so called 'fair trade' initiative and how restrictive it was going to be. If it went along the line of 'buy nothing from the Ivory Coast until slavery is completely abolished' I can't blame them for not going along with it. Over a third of cocoa is produced in the Ivory Coast, to eliminate that portion of the market would drop the production fo chocolate by a third (not just raise the price). The companies should apply pressure on the government of the Ivory Coast to clean up their act -- but when you look at the top producers of cocoa they are all notorious for using child labor and underpaying employees. The problem is global, not just the Ivory Coast.
     
  13. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    #1 - I had read a bit about it previously, and, like T2, I'm not 100% sure about the accuracy of your information. For purposes of the rest of these questions, I'll presuppose that your info is accurate.

    #2 - To some degree, yes, but I think that Africa has taught the world, generally, that what we want them to do, and what they actually do, are two very different things.

    #3 - The only thing that will ultimately work, IMO, is for the people promoting this behavior to willingly stop it. I think the only way that really happens is if they lose money continuing this way, so you'd need virtually universal monetary sanctions to get that to happen -- good luck with that.

    #4 - Don't eat any of them now, so no. I'm a chocolate snob so I already buy only expensive chocolate for when I want to eat chocolate. My "lowbrow" chocolate is Ghiradellis.

    #5 - See 4.

    #6 - They all taste like wax.

    #7 - I'm leaning towards green these days.

    #8 - If I knew the answer to this, I'd be golden. Right now, I'm keeping these Boards as civil as possible (yeah, and that ain't always so easy, y'know).

    #9 - Depends on what's chasing it.
     
  14. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    #1. No.

    (And like T2 and dmc I am going on the assumption that the information is correct at this time.)

    #2. Not militarily. I think we should think twice, or three times, before trying to use force to save the world from itself again...

    #3. Put pressure on the government of The Ivory Coast to act against slavery. Inform the people of the western world about slave labour in The Ivory Coast, and which companies benefit from it.

    #4. I prefer Toblerone or Marlborough anyway. :p But I will be more aware of which chocolates I buy in the future.

    #5. Yes.

    #6. If they knowingly deal with slaveholders, they are co-responsible for slavery.

    #7. Blue. No, it's ... Aaaaarrrgggh!

    /climbs up from deep ravine

    #8. Red ... No, wait! ... Aaaaarrrgggh!

    /climbs up from deep ravine again!

    #9. 72 MpH ... No, wait, that's a pink dra..... oh no, not again! ... Aaaaarrrgggh!
     
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  15. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    1. No, and I don't doubt it in the least. I would have been surprised if they did NOT use slave labor when it is available to them.

    2. Yes. But no chance of that happening.

    3. Military solutions are typically not the best approach. The US could pass legislation here in the US to stop American companies (with lots of nice loopholes for them). Good luck with that. But I thought Nestle was not a US company (?).

    4. Probably. If I stopped buying from every company I despise and I thought were dishonest bastards, I would not be able to buy ANYTHING. (I'm being overly cynical here, but it's still basically how I feel).

    5. Of course! But then they would probably charge us the higher price and go back to slave labor again.

    6. I think their products are OK. I like all kinds of chocolate. Yes, the "good stuff" is way better. But I'm a junk food connniosseur, of sorts. So their chocolate is just fine with me.

    I have a relative who was a senior VP for Mars back in the 1990s and worked directly for Forrest Mars. A lot of people don't realize that it is a privately-held and family owned business, at least it was back then. He claims that Forrest Mars was a complete bastard, so nothing would surprise me. Don't worry though, he's a good conservative Republican so he can be trusted in such matters (he doesn't share my liberal and "Commie" views of corporate America). I'm going to ask him about the slave trade (allegations). Especially since we all know that liberal professors in social science departments can NOT be trusted and are always saying bad and nasty things about our beloved corporations. How dare they.
     
  16. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    /rant.

    I never put politics anywhere in my post -- it is disappointing that you would choose to go down that path.
     
  17. Morgoth

    Morgoth La lune ne garde aucune rancune Veteran

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    #1 - Where you *aware* that those 3 companies buy their coco beans from plantations that use forced labor/slavery?
    No

    #2 - Do you think the world (not just the US) should act to stop slavery in the Ivory Coast?
    Yes

    #3 - What do you think should be done...if, say the WTO, US, EU, or NATO took action?
    Import ban on the goods produced by the slavefarms.

    #4 - Will you continue to buy & eat Snickers, Butterfinger, Hershey Kisses, and other chocolate candies, knowing that the 3 companies buy coco from plantations that use slavery?
    No (I wasn't buying them in the first place.)

    #5 - Would you be willing to pay upwards for $3+ for the same exact candies if the 3 companies move exclusively to Fair Trade practices? (No slavery = higher price)
    No (but that has nothing to do with the price.)

    #6 - What are your general thoughts of the 3 companies (not how candy 'X' tastes better than candy 'Y')
    I am only familiar with Mars, but I haven't eaten their products for a few years so I have no idea of what to think of them.

    #7 - What is your favorite color?
    Green

    #8 - What is your quest?
    To get my master degree

    #9 - What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
    Mach 1


    BTW, I have to object to the implication that free market -> slave trade. There are a lot of reasons to refuse to buy only from Fair Trade labeled companies.
     
  18. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    While I know how to read full-well between the lines, the subtext was an attack on social science departments, which tend to be political in nature, largely as a result of the subject matter that is taught. Your post may or may not have been political, but there was certainly a subtext to it with an agenda. But there is little point in personal accusations on either side - THAT would be a "disappointing path" to go down.
     
  19. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Thanks to you Kitrax for bringing this to our attention.

    1. Not as such although I suspected that they would exploit people I still assumed they would pay for their labour. That is shocking indeed.

    2. Yes but I'd say it would be a huge task if you wanted to enforce some fairness in the way people are remunerated for their work. Whether we like it or not we can't pretend we don't know that we get many items from sweatshops in Asia and elsewhere.

    3. Ban child labour and forced labour and enforce safe working conditions, minimum wages and acceptable working hours.

    4. I don't eat these sweets anyway but boycotting these products is not going to solve the problem either. It is impossible to know the origin of most things you buy and to ascertain that it didn't involve slave labour, child labour or dangerous working conditions and low wages seems rather difficult.

    5. There are some fair trade products available at a higher price but is it really fair or is it a ploy to create some value? I'd rather buy the "fair" stuff but I'm not rich so as long as I could afford the difference it would be fine but more than $3 for sweets seems a lot to me (I usually spend that much for 100 grams of Swiss chocolate though).

    6. They can't pretend they're not taking advantage of that awful situation to make money but it's not like we can pretend we don't know that labour conditions are not necessarily fair and minimum wages virtuallly nonexistent in most places around the world.

    7. Green.

    8. Got to check my quest status in DAO.

    9. Is it a Fereldan swallow?

    @CtR: Nestlé is a multinational company which HQ is located in Vevey a small town in Switzerland where interestingly enough Charlie Chaplin lived and where he was buried. By the way, there is a statue of Charlie Chaplin not far from Nestlé Foundation's Alimentarium.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  20. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    1 - No, I wasn't.
    2 - Yes, definitely so!
    3 - Send Nato troops in to intervene and shutdown said plantations.
    4 - Nope, I am a chips guy, hate most candies.
    5 - Nope, woouldn't buy the product.
    6 - Lost all respect for the companies.
    7 - Bullet Silver
    8 - My Quest? World-Domination of course!
    9 - Checking with local hooker, oops, wrong kind of swallow...:p
     
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