Essay Prompt #1: Consumerism (based on “The True Cost” documentary)

The garment industry is the second-most polluting in the world. A significant amount of this pollution is from “fast fashion” “disposable” clothing; a business model that relies on people, including children, making clothes under conditions that we would consider intolerable. As we have seen this semester, our buying and consumption is largely driven by psychological impulses of which we may not be fully conscious. Indeed, as experts posit in the film, consuming more can have a negative effect on our psyche.

What social, ethical, economic and/or philosophical issues are raised by the documentary? Why do we tolerate such a system? Describe whether a “Fair Trade” model could represent a more sustainable and ethical alternative to the existing garment-consumption model. How will you choose to use this information as you move forward with your life?

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