Thursday, November 24, 2005

Commentary: What a bargain!

As the ecstatic owner of a new eMac, I've discovered the joy of on-line everything, including music purchasing. A friend seemed truly stunned when I refused to "lift" her music preferring instead, to actually pay for it! This situation deeply troubles me, as I'm a writer / Developer and need to earn something for my hours of labor.

Theft is theft period. If I submit this piece of electronic writing to some publishing source, I expect they will accept or reject it. It is illegal to publish it without my knowledge, or permission. That is, stealing my work to go on making a profit! Is it any different for our starving artists?

I had gotten a demonstration disc from a computer publication and discovered a song I just had to have! Since the contact information was on screen, I sent a pleading email to the artist, so I could buy his glorious song. I was shocked when within seconds of sending my request, he'd responded! I immediately went to the iTunes Store and satisfied my craving! I figure this poor man probably got a penny from my $.99, but that's business. I am glad to support his work, and the work of others.

I then remembered the really cheap clothes I scored at a huge department-box store. God, it was magnificent! I went home feeling like I'd really gotten over on 'en! Unfortunately, I heard a report about this store, showing their wages are so low that they freely and openly provide welfare and food stamp information to their full-time new hires! As an unemployed person on disability, I know the horror of welfare and food stamps. I cringe to think that someone would be thrown into those systems while working full-time!

The reason the huge chains are able to provide dirt cheap items to the US market is because the suppliers get their items from slave-labor-like arrangements in the third world. Sometimes, it is truly prison labor, as in China. I am beginning to question who I'm getting over on. Am I contributing to the abuse of fellow human beings, in a third world country? I attempt to avoid buying things from China, because they are at the bottom of the list, as far as how they treat their people, But the lust for the "best" at "next-to-nothing" is turning larger and larger regions of our world into employment nightmares.

It is a small thing, but when a magazine, newspaper, or some other service has a fee, I am willing to pay up, or go without, because somewhere, someone put their soul into creating something I am enjoying.

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