India is a developing country. Apart from many other things that makes it a country of relatively less wise and ‘smart’ consumers when it comes to marketing, advertising and exploitation.
For the last 10 1/2 years I have been continually troubled and embarrassed by the plain fact that there are a whole bunch of western companies who do things here that they wouldn’t dare to do in their home markets. What wouldn’t they dare to do and why?
Well, i’m talking about companies that dump waste, e-waste and other refuse here as a cheap option for disposal and relief from a headache back home. Then I’m talking about some of the ships they will happily and quietly send to Alang in Gujurat for wrecking, regardless of the fact that the average lifespan for the workers who break the ships is less than 40!
However, day to day the most invidious reminders of how low my fellow ‘first-worlders’ will stoop when nobody is looking properly are all around us and especially in the lives of our children. We only need to make a list of the foreign ‘products’ with the biggest marketing budgets in India;
coke, pepsi and other fizzy drinks
Violent cartoons and children’s programming
The list could go on. What all these products have in common is that consumers in the developed countries have realised just how harmful they are and turned their backs on them – so they have turned their attention and their marketing dollars to markets like India and China. What these people are basically saying is – by now we know our products are bad for people. People in some markets have got smart, so we must go to the markets where people won’t get wise to just how bad we are, at least for a while. It harms children? Shame, but we have to make our money.
I feel like i don’t just want to feel embarrassed any more. I would rather voice the reality as I see it.The consumers of this country need to wise up rapidly and find their voice. Just think, there are plenty of countries where a child won’t hear bad language, won’t see anything obscene, won’t witness gratuitous violence on the TV before 9.00pm. Why won’t they hear it or see it? Because the TV companies are subject to controls brought about by consumers (parents) finding their voice and using it. Basically, the public, in big enough numbers, made it clear to politicians that they had better have some purpose and had better start representing what really mattered to the people.
Anyone who is familiar with the writings of Stephen Covey will recall that a few years after the publishing mega-success that was the Seven Habits he felt compelled to add an eighth habit – Enabling people to Find their Voice. I don’t believe the people of this phenomenal country want their children to be poisoned, to be tricked into becoming addicted to products that will stunt and diminish their lives (or their minds). It’s high time people find their voice and the confidence to believe that speaking up can and will really make a difference.
Maybe then, one day, the reason for my embarrassment will diminish. Until then ……. we strive …….
Filed under: Educators of tomorrow, Life, Our Environment, School | Tagged: country, developing, ethics, foreigner, India, integrity, morality, products, western companies | 7 Comments »