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What Part of You is NOT for Sale?
Economic Justice and Consumer Choice

When we purchase goods produced in the Third World — coffee from Latin America, for example — we are at the end of a long chain of transactions, most of which are completely invisible to us. The corporations that mediate these transactions often seek to distance themselves from the moral implications of the way in which goods are produced. It is perhaps natural that we allow them to do so — for in their safe distance we also may find refuge — but is this inevitable? How do we think about, or face, the impact that our purchasing decisions have on the lives of the people who do the actual production?

  [Photograph taken by Stan Grossfeld for the Boston Globe]

Boy carrying coffee plants
Photograph by Stan Grossfeld
for an article by Elizabeth Neuffer et al.
in the Boston Globe

We are co-sponsoring a discussion on these questions with the MIT Technology & Culture Forum. Among the speakers will be:

  • Katia Lemos
    Anti-sweatshop activist

  • Rodney North
    Equal Exchange, which imports and sells fair-traded coffee

  • Tom Beaudoin
    Department of Theology, Boston College

These are people who have tried to take a moral inventory of their own belongings and purchasing behavior — and they will help us do the same.

7 p.m., February 6, 2002
6-120, MIT