questioning money does not mean you are free.. from your worldly masters… and the work they are forcing you to do…
questioning money doesnt mean if you are in a gang or a “tribe” or cult that participates in “slavery” directly or indirectly that you are not still involved…
questioning money doesnt mean… you are free from the abuse … control and power of those making that claim of “owning” you…
questioning money does not mean what your job or position in society of slavery is going to change… now or at any time…
questioning money does not mean that those that sell slaves are not going to stop trying to sell you… again… or others.. you care.. for….
questioning money doesnt mean that if you do with all your heart question it… won’t make the mistake of intentionally or unintentionally enslave others… again…
questioning money doesnt mean … the memory of the abuse and debauchery done to you and your community post traumatically stresses you and your community out… in a constant struggle even after… the blessing of temporary freedom occurs…
questioning money doesnt mean you can free people from slavery with the tools and weapons from slavery…
questioning money does not mean you are still not a servant to money… as imposed by those who “claim you”… it does however…
questioning your beliefs about money is… asking
If money was a person with whom you have been in relationship since you were five or six years old, how would you describe the nature of your relationship with him or her?
nothing frees… except…. GOD
trust in the Father
hope is in the Father
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
One of the most amazing things to me about God is the fact that He created us with free will to choose to accept Him. Now I know the huge theological discussion that exists between Calvinists and Armenians over that first sentence but please don’t get distracted by that thought but rather I want you to think about how God allows you and me to live and choose to follow Him or reject Him. That thought really is endearing to me. The Creator God did not need you and me or any of mankind to make Him complete or because He was lonely or any thing like that but chose to create us and allow us to live freely in our thoughts and mind. I think this characteristic of God shows how blessed we are and directly should make our attitude towards Him be positive and always wanting to please Him. This of course is not the case as even well-intentioned believers will be distracted and fall into sin but the Scriptures talk about our attitude in both positive and negative ways and also show when we need a change in attitude, which will often result in a change of course (also called repentance). Consider the following…
Scripture Verses About a Positive Attitude
Psalms 45:7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Acts 2:44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
“The Creator God did not need you and me or any of mankind to make Him complete or because He was lonely or any thing like that but chose to create us and allow us to live freely in our thoughts and mind. I think this characteristic of God shows how blessed we are and directly should make our attitude towards Him be positive and always wanting to please Him.”
Scripture Verses About a Bad Attitude
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Ephesians 4:23 an to be renewed in the spirit of your minds
Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Bible Quotes That Show a Needed Attitude Change
Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Luke 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
Luke 24:25-27 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
1 Peter 4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin
2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
1 John 2:4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
What is your attitude today? Are you bitter and carrying around anger or jealousy or even rage towards another person? Sometimes we even carry around those feelings towards God. Friends, adjust your attitude where God (through His Holy Spirit) is showing you it needs to change. God loves you the way you are but He loves you too much to leave you that way.
Seek the Lord your God today!
Positive Commands: The Means—A Focus on Attitudes
The positive One Another passages in Scripture express the means and the methods for living as members of the body of Christ and as brethren together in the family of God. These passages also focus on two things: attitudes and actions. Since attitudes form the soil and the root out of which actions grow, we will look at those One Another injunctions that focus on attitudes, particularly those that enable us to obey the One Another commands.
Attitudes can be like cobwebs which clutter up the mind and cause us to fail in the purposes of God. Or they can be like an interstate highway to an automobile, smoothing the way to our destination. Swindoll writes:
This may shock you, but I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude is that ‘single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.5
Because attitudes are so important, Scripture has a great deal to say about our thinking processes which produce our attitudes and which in turn produce our actions. Proverbs 23:6-7 shows that a man who is thinking selfishly will invariably act in hypocrisy.
Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.
Matthew 12:33-37 shows what we say is but the product of how and what we think and believe. Scripture teaches that wicked behavior is the product of a wicked and deceitful heart (Jer. 17:5; Matt. 23:26). “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” The problem is “stinking thinking,” thinking that is lacking divine viewpoint and faith in the power and purposes of God.
To grasp this concept, it is helpful to divide sin into two categories:
(1) Visible acts of transgression against the commands and principles of Scripture, and
(2) Inward acts of transgression, sins of the mind and attitude which would include subtle violations of our Lord’s command to love.
We tend to deal only with the first category or if we deal with the second, it is superficial. Larry Crabb in his book, Inside Out, gives us a good illustration:
“Are you willing to follow Christ?” The hundreds of teenagers shift uncomfortably in their seats as they hear the speaker boom out the challenge at the morning meeting.
“He invites you to come to Him, to really come, to come in total surrender. If you’re sick and tired of playing at Christianity, then take His invitation seriously and come. Get your drugs, your porno magazines, your rock tapes—get everything that defiles you—and bring it all tonight to the rally. We’ll have a great burning of all these tools of the Devil to symbolize your decision to follow Christ.”
That night, dozens of kids, with eyes moist and jaws firmly set, dump their marijuana, Penthouses and Bon Jovi tapes in a pile outside the meeting room. As the fire roars, they all join hands and sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
As a teen, I took part in similar happenings, making strong commitments as I stared into the dying campfire to never miss devotions and to witness every day. But although good spiritual directions were sometimes set in these moments, the promises I made on the mountaintop often dissolved into complacency when I returned to the valley of everyday life. Something inside me that needed to be dealt with was never touched.6
The focus is too often all wrong: I have no argument with exhorting people to abandon clearly sinful practices and to develop good habits … But a sharp focus on visible conformity to specific standards of right and wrong can easily lead to a disastrous neglect of subtle sins against relationship.7
Verses that Focus on Attitudes
COMMAND 1: HAVE THE SAME MIND WITH ONE ANOTHER
The believer is commanded in Scripture to have a different mind, to develop a biblical viewpoint, and possess a Christlike attitude in all things.
Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus;
William Law wrote nearly two centuries ago, “Man needs to be saved from his own wisdom as much as from his own righteousness, for they produce one and the same corruption.”8
(1) Having the same mind means knowing and understanding Scripture.
From the Word of God we need the infusion of God’s thoughts which are infinitely higher than ours (Isa. 55:8-11). Then, in faith we need to apply His truth as we depend on the indwelling Spirit. The need is to think with the same kind of viewpoint, to possess the same kind of attitudes toward life and one another. We need to have the mind of Christ, to think with His values, to possess His vision, and to allow that to change our attitudes which in turn will change our actions and pursuits.
1 Peter 3:8 To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
The term “harmonious” is literally, “of one mind, likeminded,” (homophron,oJmovfrwn). The actions of being brotherly, kindhearted, and humble all stem from having one mind, thinking with the mind of Christ.
Acts 1:14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
Acts 2:46 And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
Acts 4:24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is Thou who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, …”
Acts 5:12 And at the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.
In each of the above verses “with one mind” or “one accord” is homothumadon(oJmoqumadovn), from homos, “one” and thumos, “passion.”
Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus;
In these two passages in Romans, the verb is phroneo (fronevw), which means first, “to have understanding” and then “to think, be minded in a certain way.”
In all of the above verses we see that the positive actions of the body of Christ are tied into possessing the same mind (or mental attitude) which formed the dynamic for its ministry in the world. For your own study compare also: Philippians 1:27; 2:3-5; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 2:16; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; 13:11; Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:1.
(2) Having the same mind means thinking with the Word.
To have the mind of Christ means to think with the Word of God, to live, not by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (the Scripture), so that we bring our thoughts and actions into harmony with God’s viewpoint by applying God’s thoughts to everything we do and to everything that happens to us.
To experience God and the joys of His plan and purposes for man, man must know His Word.
Isaiah 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
The Devil sought to get the Lord to live independently of His Father at the beginning of His ministry. Jesus not only countered each time with Scripture, but He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to show how vital God’s whole council is to our ability to handle temptation and sin.
Matthew 4:3-4 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
(3) Having the same mind means regular renewal in the Word
It requires biblical truth for its development and maintenance, daily renewing of the mind.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Ephesians 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
It requires conquering thought patterns by focusing on principles and promises of the Word.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(4) Having the same mind means possessing an attitude of joy
We develop an attitude of joy through biblical vision for and submission to the calling and purposes of God (Prov. 29:18; John 13:3-4; Heb. 12:1-4; Phil. 4:4-8). In Philippians 4:8 we see again an emphasis on our mind and our attitudes. They can be kept free from bitterness, blame, self-pity, and hopeless pessimism if we cast our cares on the Lord and trust in His sovereignty. By getting rid of the stuff that chokes out God’s viewpoint, we create space for hope and joy to take its place.
(5) Having the same mind means an attitude of humility
An attitude of humility expresses itself in servant living. Humility prepares the way for sacrificial love which puts the needs of others above self (Mark 10:45; John 13:4; Phil. 2:3f; 1 Pet. 5:5; Rom. 12:10, 16b; Gal. 5:13). Humility is never self-depreciating. Rather it is the recognition of who we are by God’s grace and leads to the use of our abilities in loving service for others. Humility allows us to take the position of John 13.
Religion and religious striving are far too often egocentric and, though this can be purified and brought into the service of God and others through the Word, too often true religion is corrupted and nullified by cravings and striving for power and security—the opposite of submission, humility, and trust.
In Crabb’s book, Inside Out, he talks about the problems of self-protection and our motives: “The sin of self-protection to which I refer occurs when our legitimate thirst for receiving love creates a demand to not be hurt that overrides a commitment to lovingly involve ourself with others.”9
(6) Having the same mind means an attitude of loving family affection
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
Christ became one with us that he might feel for us in our humanity. Likewise, as brethren in Christ, God wants us to become more and more devoted to one another so that we place the needs of others above ourselves. Romans 12:10 means we are to love one another with a family affection as brothers in Christ (cf. Heb. 2:11-18 with Rom. 12:10).
We cannot impart to others what we do not ourselves possess! Our relationship with one another always manifests the reality of our life with the Lord and the condition of our thinking and attitudes!
Often, the prayer that’s most in accord with God’s Word is not, “Lord change my wife, or children, or church board,” but “Lord, change me!”
The big question is not simply, is Christianity true? There is plenty of historical evidence that it is. The basic question is, what difference is it making in my life and the way I think and believe? This is what the world looks for in our lives as the evidence of reality, and that’s what the church needs in its relationships with one another.
The all important ingredient is our focus and an attitude of trust in the Lord. One of the best illustrations I know of the importance of keeping a focused and right attitude is found in the book by Chuck Swindoll, Strengthening Your Grip:
The colorful, nineteenth-century showman and gifted violinist Nicolo Paganini was standing before a packed house, playing through a difficult piece of music. A full orchestra surrounded him with magnificent support. Suddenly one string on his violin snapped and hung gloriously down from his instrument. Beads of perspiration popped out on his forehead. He frowned but continued to play, improvising beautifully.
To the conductor’s surprise, a second string broke. And shortly thereafter, a third. Now there were three limp strings dangling from Paganini’s violin as the master performer completed the difficult composition on the one remaining string. The audience jumped to its feet and in good Italian fashion, filled the hall with shouts and screams, “Bravo! Bravo!” As the applause died down, the violinist asked the people to sit back down. Even though they knew there was no way they could expect an encore, they quietly sank back into their seats.
He held the violin high for everyone to see. He nodded at the conductor to begin the encore and then he turned back to the crowd, and with a twinkle in his eye, he smiled and shouted, ‘Paganini … and one string!’ After that he placed the single-stringed Stradivarius beneath his chin and played the final piece on one string as the audience (and the conductor) shook their heads in silent amazement. ‘Paganini … and one string!’10 (And, I might add, an attitude of fortitude.)
Swindoll goes on to say:
This may shock you, but I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-do-day basis is my choice of attitude. … Attitude is that ‘single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. … When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.
Yet, we must admit that we spend more of our time concentrating and fretting over the strings that snap, dangle, and pop—the things that can’t be changed—than we do giving attention to the one that remains, our choice of attitude.11
For the Christian, however, we are not talking about just a positive attitude. We are talking about an attitude that comes from a heart focused on God and that trusts in Him.
Drugs Are Big Business
Addicts are good customers, often willing to pay almost any price to obtain the drugs upon which they have become dependent. As a result, drugs have long been some of the most valuable products on earth. Coffee is today the world’s second most valuable legally traded international commodity, trailing only petroleum. A single company,Starbucks, sells more than $8 billion worth of coffee a year. Americans spend more than $50 billion every year on cigarettes, and more than $100 billion on alcohol. Illegal drugs have a smaller market than the “Big Three” legal drugs, but ounce by ounce they are even more precious. Cocaine is literally more valuable than gold, and by a wide margin: the drug has a street value of more than $100 a gram while the precious metal trades at less than $25. Marijuana is currently the United States’ most valuable cash crop, with cultivators growing nearly $36 billion dollars worth of the illegal weed every year. (Corn, the nation’s second most valuable agricultural commodity, is worth only $23 billion.)6
Drugs command such high prices that drugs are—and always have been—big business in the American economy.
Tobacco and American Colonization
In the early colonial period, the drug trade sustained both Virginia andNew England, allowing these beleaguered settlements on the far margins of the British Empire to grow into thriving American societies.
Jamestown, Virginia—the first permanent English settlement in North America—was on the verge of collapse when John Rolfe planted its first tobacco crop in 1612. That fateful crop fetched a good price a year later back in London, generating new enthusiasm and financial backing for the Virginia colony. Soon Virginia’s entire existence came to center on growing tobacco for export. Surveying Jamestown in 1617, Captain John Smith noted with some dismay that everything in the village was falling apart, but that every “spare place”—including the streets and marketplace—had been carefully planted with tobacco. By 1618, the Virginians produced 20,000 pounds of tobacco a year, and needed more workers to harvest the crop.7
In 1619, the overwhelmingly male population of Jamestown enthusiastically welcomed the arrival in port of an English ship carrying “young maids to make wives.” The colonists used tobacco as currency to buy the women, happily paying the price of “one hundred and twenty pounds of the best leaf tobacco” for each girl.8 The arrival of women meant the arrival of sex, and the arrival of sex meant that Virginia’s population could begin to sustain itself through natural reproduction.
In the same year that the Virginians used tobacco to buy themselves wives, they also introduced slavery to British North America by buying (in their words) “twenty negars” from a Dutch merchant vessel that called at port. For the next 240 years, slavery and tobacco would dominate Virginia society. Slave labor helped the Virginians to expand tobacco production rapidly, from 60,000 pounds in 1622, to 500,000 pounds in 1627, to 1.5 million pounds in 1630.9 Soon the early days of starvation at Jamestown were forgotten, as tobacco profits allowed Virginia planters to begin to take on the trappings of aristocracy.
New England Puritans and “Kill-Devil”
While colonial Virginia devoted itself to the cultivation of one drug—tobacco—Colonial New England built its own economy around the manufacture of another—rum. Rum is liquor distilled from sugar (or molasses, itself a low-quality byproduct of the sugar refining process). Before the colonization of the Caribbean, both cane sugar and its distilled alcohol were virtually unknown in northern European countries like England. But once exposed to rum’s intoxicating charms, Englishmen (and English colonists in the New World) quickly developed a taste for the drink initially known as “Kill-Devil.” The earliest known reference to the strong drink in the English language came in 1651, when a visitor to the sugar colony of Barbados noted the island’s inhabitants’ love for “Rumbullion, alias Kill-Devil,” which he described as a drink “made of sugar canes distilled, a hot, hellish and terrible liquor.”10 The name “rumbullion”—which was an old Scots-Irish word meaning something like “tumultuous uproar”—eventually became, simply, “rum,” and it quickly became the favorite drink of the British Empire. (In 1655, the Royal Navybegan issuing its sailors a daily ration of half a pint of rum each, a tradition that lasted until 1970.)
Perhaps unduly influenced by The Scarlet Letter and H.L. Mencken‘s pithy definition of Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy,” we tend to imagine the Puritan settlers of colonial New England as an unerringly stern and foreboding lot. But New England’s Puritans were happy to become both prodigious consumers and major producers of “Kill-Devil.” In the 1650s, New Englanders opened dozens of distilleries, importing molasses from the West Indies for processing into over-strength rum. As early as 1661, the General Court of Massachusetts ruled that excess rum production in the colony had become a menace to society. But neither the General Court nor the Puritan ministers could stop the colonists’ love affair with their “hot, hellish and terrible liquor.” In 1686, the prominent Massachusetts preacher Increase Mather lamented the “unhappy thing that in later years a Kind of Drink called Rum has been common among us. They that are poor, and wicked too, can for a penny or two-pence make themselves drunk.”11 Still rum consumption continued to rise. By 1770, New England was home to 143 separate distilleries, which produced nearly 5 million gallons of the liquor every year. That same year, the 1.7 million people who populated the thirteen colonies combined to drink down 7.5 million gallons of rum; that’s more than four gallons each for every man, woman, and child in America.12
Drugs, Slaves, and the Birth of Capitalism
Such heavy demand for rum made the liquor the mainstay of the colonial New England economy. By the eve of the American Revolution, rum accounted for more than 80% of the region’s exports. The rum trade drew New England merchants into the growing international marketplace that would soon give birth to modern capitalism. New England traders imported molasses from the West Indies, distilled it into strong rum, and then sold the liquor abroad—especially in Africa, where it could be traded for valuable cargoes of slaves. The slaves could then be sold again, at great profit, to the tobacco farmers of the American South or, more commonly, to the sugar planters of the West Indies—who would send back molasses, which would then be distilled into rum to start the cycle anew. This triangular trade in rum, slaves, and molasses turned Newport, Rhode Island, into the most important slave port in North America; by 1776, Rhode Islanders controlled 60-90% of the American slave trade.13The transformation of the sleepy Puritan settlements of New England into the driving engine of a burgeoning American commercial empire simply cannot be explained without understanding the foundational role of the rum/slave trade.
Neither colonial Virginia nor the New England colonies were founded for the purpose of supplying the British Empire with drugs. But in both regions, settlers quickly found themselves organizing their societies and economies around the production and export of tobacco and rum, respectively. The rise of the American economy into the greatest generator of wealth in human history began with the seventeenth-century drug trade.
Coffee, Cigarettes, and Modern America
Later, as the American economy matured into the modern system of corporate capitalism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, drugs continued to play an important role.
After the Civil War, coffee led the way as branded, individually packaged products displaced bulk commodities in the American marketplace. In 1865, a Pittsburgh grocer named John Arbuckle took advantage of an exciting new technology—the paper bag—to develop the nation’s first popular coffee brand. Arbuckle sold pre-roasted coffee beans in prepackaged one-pound sacks, under a colorful new label touting the brand, “Arbuckle’s Ariosa Coffee.” Before Ariosa, consumers had to buy green coffee beans in bulk from their local grocer, then roast the beans themselves at home. The convenience and relatively consistent flavor of Ariosa won converts from coast to coast, and the gold and red Ariosa label became a common sight from the teeming cities of the eastern seaboard to the lonely prairies of the western frontier. (A certain affection for the brand still exists in the West, where Ariosa continues to sell as “cowboy coffee” today.) Ariosa (and other brands that soon arose as competitors) helped to fuel a surge in American coffee consumption; in 1872 Harper’s Magazine observed that “the proud son of the highest civilization can no longer live happily without coffee… The whole social life of many nations is based upon the insignificant bean; it is an essential element in the vast commerce of great nations.”14
A similar process occurred in the tobacco industry. Prior to the 1870s, almost all American smokers bought their tobacco in loose-leaf form and smoked it in pipes. Then American tobacco manufacturers developed the technology for mass-production of standardized cigarettes, dramatically lowering the price of tobacco and changing forever the way most Americans smoked their nicotine. (In 1883 the New York Times inveighed against the country’s new habit in a seemingly bizarre editorial: “The decadence of Spain began when the Spaniards adopted cigarettes and if this pernicious practice obtains among adult Americans the ruin of the Republic is close at hand.”15) The Republic did not fall, but Americans’ cigarette consumption skyrocketed from 42 million in 1875, to 500 million in 1880, to 2.2 billion in 1889, to 100 billion in 1920.16
Following the lead of Arbuckle’s Ariosa Coffee, cigarette manufacturers sought to sell their standardized, mass-produced drug products through colorful brand names and evocative advertising. Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, and Camel became some of the most prominent brands in American business history, selling nicotine to an ever-growing number of consumers. By 1930, it seemed that just about everyone smoked; aHistory of Tobacco published that year concluded that “a glance at the statistics proves convincingly that the non-smokers are a feeble and ever dwindling minority. The hopeless nature of their struggle becomes plain when we remember that all countries, whatever their form of government, now encourage and facilitate the passion for smoking in every conceivable way.”17 Less than a decade later, scientists published the first study linking smoking to lung cancer, and tobacco’s march to world domination began to slow. Still, the rise of the American tobacco industry through the 1920s closely mirrored that of modern American capitalism as a whole.
Coca-Cola, the Drug-Based Drink of the American Century
Another drug-based product, Coca-Cola, became the iconic brand of the twentieth-century American economy. An Atlanta chemist named John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886 as a potentially useful medical tonic-the formula contained the stimulant drugs found in the South American coca leaf (the source of cocaine) and the African kola nut (a source of caffeine). Pemberton marketed his concoction as a patent medicine, a supposed cure-all for a variety of ailments. (Competitors in the patent-medicine market at the time included both cocaine and heroin, both sold over the counter by Bayer and other prominent pharmaceutical companies.) In the early days, Coca-Cola attained some local success in Georgia drugstores, but the product only really took off when the company stopped marketing Coke as a drug and rebranded the sweet formula as a tasty beverage. In 1895, Coca-Cola launched a new advertising campaign encouraging consumers to “Drink Coca-Cola, Delicious and Refreshing.” Sold as refreshment rather than medicine, Coca-Cola would soon become the quintessential drink of the twentieth century, as American as apple pie. By the 1970s, Americans would drink more cola than coffee, and Coca-Cola would become one of America’s most recognizable cultural and economic exports. International critics of the global domination of American culture even coined the term, “Coca-Colonization,” to describe the worldwide penetration of American brands. Today Coke is available in more than 200 countries, and nearly three-quarters of the company’s sales occur outside North America.
While Coca-Cola’s success came from repositioning itself as a thirst-quencher rather than a medicine, the drink’s very name reminds us that the product is and has always been a drug. The company dropped intoxicating cocaine from its famous secret formula long ago, but Coke rivals coffee as America’s leading source of caffeine, and Coke is by far the largest source of that drug to be consumed by children. (One indication of the drug’s significant contribution to Coke’s success: thecaffeine-free version of the soda accounts for a miniscule proportion of sales.)
In 1911, the U.S. government even tried to shut Coca-Cola down for violating the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. The government, led by Dr. Harvey Wiley—who considered caffeine to be a poison on par with strychnine—charged that the unnatural addition of caffeine extract to the Coca-Cola formula violated the Pure Food and Drug Act’s ban on adulterated food products. In the end, the judge ruled against the government, making the world safe for Coca-Cola. Coke’s recipe for success—selling a small dose of a popular drug, packaged in anenjoyable form, marketed with catchy advertising—proved to be an irresistible, world-changing formula.
Recent Drugs Entrepreneurship: From the Frappuccino to the “Ready Rock”
Coke’s formula has been mimicked, in a way, by two of the most successful drugs entrepreneurs of recent times: Howard Schultz ofStarbucks Coffee, who hooked millions of Americans on Frappuccinos, and “Freeway” Ricky Ross of South Central Los Angeles, who hooked thousands of Americans on crack.
Starbucks revolutionized the way Americans drank coffee. For most of the second half of the twentieth century, the vast majority of Americans drank cheap, industrially-processed instant coffee, usually prepared by boiling it in a percolator. The coffee produced carried its caffeine kick but generally tasted awful. During the 1960s and 1970s, a few iconoclasts began selling whole coffee beans, which customers could grind and brew fresh at home to achieve a better flavor. Among those iconoclasts were Alfred Peet (who started Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley, California) and the founders of what we now know as the Starbucks empire. Starbucks began as a small storefront in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, selling whole beans (which, ironically, originally came from Peet’s in Berkeley) in bulk to customers who wanted to brew their own strong coffee at home. It wasn’t until 1984 that Starbucks began experimenting with the format so familiar today, opening a small espresso bar to sell ready-made espresso drinks inside the Seattle shop as an add-on to the primary business of selling whole beans. After 1987, when Howard Schultz took complete control of the company, Starbucks fully remade itself into the retail coffeehouse that has since conquered the world. Starbucks sold its coffee as a symbol of urbane sophistication, and a tasty one at that; the company’s invention of sweet new coffee concoctions like the Caramel Macchiato and the milkshake-like Frappucino led some to quip that the company made its fortune not by selling coffee but by selling sugar, whipped cream, and chocolate. Like Coca-Cola, Starbucks found a wildly popular method of packaging America’s most popular drug, caffeine, with a sweet taste and desirable image. From 1987 through 2006 the company enjoyed explosive growth, forever changing Americans’ coffee-drinking experience.
Just as Howard Schultz and Starbucks transformed the way Americans take their coffee, a Los Angeles hustler named “Freeway” Ricky Ross transformed the way they take their cocaine. As cocaine rose in popularity in America during the 1970s, nearly all users took it in powder form, snorting the drug into their bloodstream via the nose. A few users, however, began experimenting with smoking the drug, which they found gave a more intense high. Smoking cocaine, however, required a complicated process of chemical adulteration to transform the powder into smokable “freebase.” Making freebase was difficult and dangerous; the popular comedian Richard Pryor infamously set himself on fire while trying to cook up freebase in 1980.
Enter “Freeway” Ricky Ross, an illiterate, smalltime drug dealer from South Central Los Angeles. In 1980, Ross figured out how to cook up his supply of cocaine into large batches of a cheap, impure version of freebase. The drug could then be sold, ready to smoke, in small doses, saving customers the trouble and danger of cooking their own freebase out of powder. Ross called his product “Ready Rock,” but today we know it better as crack. “Ready Rock” made “Freeway” Ricky Ross into one of America’s richest drug dealers. By 1983, he had conquered Los Angeles and built distribution networks into dozens of other cities across the country. He was moving more than $1 million worth of cocaine every single day, netting between $100,000 and $200,000 in profit. Thanks in no small part to the street entrepreneurship of “Freeway” Ricky, America found itself beset with a crack cocaine epidemic18
If he had prospered in any other line of work, “Freeway” Ricky Ross might be seen as a hero of the American Dream, a self-made business success and entrepreneurial genius. But unlike Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, Ricky Ross went into business on the wrong side of the law, and eventually Ross had to face the consequences. By 2006, Howard Schultz was worth more than $1 billion, while “Freeway” Ricky Ross was serving out a twenty-year jail sentence in federal prison. The starkly divergent fortunes of two of the country’s most successful recent purveyors of popular drugs suggests that the biggest action in the American drug market remains in the sale of legal drugs.
A 2014 report by the United Nations estimates that tens of millions of people in the world are currently enslaved. Most of them are in the developing world, where they work in mines, quarries or shrimp farms for no money and without hope of escape.
“Slavery is the complete control of one person by another, and violence is used to maintain that control in all forms of slavery,” author Kevin Bales explains to Fresh Air’s Dave Davies. “The adults in that situation know that if they attempt to leave, they may be killed.”
Bales is the co-founder and former president of the organization Free the Slaves. His new book, Blood and Earth, chronicles the lives of people living in bondage and the environmental devastation he says the practice of slavery causes.
From the mineral mines of eastern Congo to the tidal mangrove forests of Bangladesh and India, Bales says that slavery and environmental degradation are often linked. “Every place I was finding slaves I was finding them in situations in which the local environment … been destroyed,” he says.
Bales spent seven years researching his book, during which time he visited slaves in a number of countries. He acknowledges that his work is often heart-wrenching but adds: “It’s kind of hard to describe how powerful job satisfaction can be when you know if you put in a good week, some people have come out of slavery. That in a sense is the tonic, it’s the balance, it’s what allows me to keep going in those areas where I see the horror, but I also see the triumph of freedom and that’s just worth it.”
Smuggling and Illicit Trade Have Always Been an Essential Component of the US Economy
Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview
Peter Andreas a professor in the department of political science and Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, authored Smuggler Nation. The book describes unsavory motives for illicit profit through illegal trade that have played a longstanding role in the development of the US economy. Interestingly enough, Andreas discusses how the founder of Brown University, where Andreas teaches, made money from transporting slaves from Africa – and advocated for the continuation of slavery. In fact, many individuals in Rhode Island, where Brown is located, profited handsomely from slave trafficking after a federal law made it illegal to import slaves into the United States as of 1808. Brown and others invested in swift slave transport schooners that were built in Baltimore and often sailed from New York.
We talked about this revelation that debunks the notion that the North did not have an economic interest in the slave trade along with other fascinating details about the United States’ deeply engrained history of illicit trade in the following interview with Andreas.
Mark Karlin: Of the many revisionist prisms the United States has been viewed through, what drew you to writing a book about the nation’s history of relying on illicit trade as a significant contributor to its economic development?
Peter Andreas: Part of my initial motivation for writing the book was to counter the extreme case of historical amnesia that I think afflicts current debates about transnational crime issues such as drug trafficking and migrant smuggling. These are serious problems, but they are too often depicted in the media and in public policy debates as entirely new and unprecedented. For instance, a popular political slogan is that we must “regain control” of our borders, but this alarmist phrasing falsely suggests that these borders were ever actually under control in the first place. Our borders have always been extremely leaky – for better and for worse.
Whether we like to recognize it or not, all sorts of illicit cross-border trade flourished throughout the nation’s history. And as I try to demonstrate in the book, this has been an essential component of the country’s economic development from colonial times to the present. One irony I point out in the book is that a country that was partly made through smuggling is now the world’s foremost anti-smuggling policing power – conveniently glossing over our own intimate history of illicit trade. For instance, we point an accusing finger at China for stealing our intellectual property – which it is obviously guilty of – while overlooking the fact that our early industrialization was made possible by massive theft and smuggling of British industrial technologies. The message to China and others today is “do as I say, not as I did.”
One of your arguments right off the bat is that the US Revolution was in part initiated, financed and fought for the right to continue smuggling unimpeded by the British Empire. Is that correct?
The conventional wisdom is that the American Revolution was motivated by lofty goals such as freedom and liberty. But to an under-appreciated extent, this included the freedom to smuggle and evade British trade laws. Smuggling, ranging from molasses (for rum production) to tea, was essential to many of the colonies, and the militarized British crackdown on such smuggling in the years leading up to the revolution provoked riots, protests and tar and feathering of customs agents and informants. It is interesting to point out how much of colonial outrage toward the Crown was directed at the customs service and its heavy-handed enforcement tactics. I don’t want to reduce everything to smuggling and smuggling interests, but it is also important not to overlook this. After all, many of our founding fathers were deeply complicit in this trade, including John Hancock, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Moreover, once the revolution was underway, the only way George Washington’s Continental Army survived in the initial years before formal French intervention was with the aid of smugglers. After all, there was no gunpowder production in the colonies – it all had to be smuggled in from outside, along with other war supplies. A lot of fortunes were made in this wartime trade, blurring the line between patriot and profiteer. There has been a lot of attention to the role of illicit trade in many recent conflicts, ranging from Afghanistan to Colombia, but our own early history shows that this is an old practice.
Certainly, one of the longstanding sub-themes of the slavery issue is that the North benefitted from the agricultural output of the slave states, particularly cotton that was utilized in manufacturing textiles in New England. You go one step further and talk about how various components of the illegal slave trafficking industry (after federal law outlawed bringing new slaves to the United States prior to the end of slavery itself) were vastly profitable to many individuals and industries in the North. Can you expand on that?
The North was complicit in all sorts of ways in the illicit slave trade. And it is important to emphasize that this was especially true in terms of outfitting slave ships for the transatlantic slave trade supplying the vast plantations in Brazil and Cuba. In the mid-19th century, New York City was one of the world’s leading ports for this. Many of the slave ships were also made in America and flew the American flag. American merchants were banned (by federal law) from participating in this international flesh trade, but this didn’t stop them.
That, of course, brings us to the man that the renowned university at which you teach was named after – [John] Brown University. Obviously, he was not the abolitionist (with whom he shares a name), since he was a prominent slave trader. He was a colleague of another even more active illegal slave trafficking family: the DeWolfs. A descendant of the DeWolf family made a documentary, Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North, in 2008 that included the claim that Rhode Island was the leading slave trading state in the union, due to smuggling. Can you elaborate?
The extent of the Rhode Island and Brown connection in various illicit trades was one of the big surprises for me in researching the book. I had no idea that this tiny place and the founders of my university played such an important role in the nation’s early illicit economic history. The slave trade was more of a side business for John Brown, but he gained extra notoriety because he was such an outspoken defender of the trade at a time when it was being outlawed. He also went to great lengths to facilitate and protect the slave trafficking interests of the DeWolf family in nearby Bristol, Rhode Island, which was especially involved in the trade in the first decades of the 19th century. What is interesting is that Rhode Island was a leading advocate for abolishing the slave trade while at the same time a leading evader of the early anti-slave trade laws. John Brown’s brother, Moses, was one of the other founders of Brown University – and a leading abolitionist. The two of them were constantly arguing and feuding over the slave trade issue. Indeed, John Brown was one of the first violators of the anti-slave trade law that Moses Brown had successfully lobbied to pass.
I was fascinated with your chapter in which you detail rum smuggling and how it played a role in “pacifying” Native Americans so that their land could be taken and that they would not put up a fight. Benjamin Franklin, you quote, was a supporter of this strategy.
I think it’s fair to say that alcohol very much helped to lubricate ethnic cleansing and westward expansion in the 19th century. And much of this alcohol – dubbed “white man’s wicked water” – was actually illicit, given that selling alcohol to Native Americans was banned by many state and then federal laws (which were minimally enforced). Here the fur trade was crucially important. Fur traders such as John Jacob Astor (the richest man in America and the country’s first multi-millionaire at the time of his death) relied on illicit alcohol as a leading currency to exchange for Native American furs. In this sense, pacification took place not only through military means, but also through illicit trade. It started with rum, but was soon supplanted by whiskey in the early decades of the 19th century.
How prevalent were contraband and “embargo busting” in the early years of the United States?
American colonists opposed to British rule popularized the slogan “no taxation without representation.” But the fact was that many American merchants after independence also believed in “no taxation even with representation.” In other words, they were opposed to even modest taxes on trade, and continued to engage in illicit tax-evading trade long after the American Revolution. They also continued to routinely evade the trade laws of other countries, such as France and England, but also increasingly China. In this sense, America’s early rise as a trading nation was partly based on illicit trade. US-Canada trade ties, for example, were significantly founded on illicit trade. Adding to this was that one of Thomas Jefferson’s most ill-conceived moves was to impose an embargo on all US trade with France and England in an effort to punish those two imperial powers and avoid further entanglement in their conflict. But American merchants balked – and massively evaded Jefferson’s embargo from the very start. American merchants also engaged in substantial illicit trade with England even while the United States and England were at war during the War of 1812. In this case, profits clearly trumped patriotism.
Given the long and documented history you provide of de facto recognition and tolerance for illicit trade in the development of a robust US economy, what are the implications for the current unabated drug trade and the failure of the “war on drugs” in terms of stemming their flow into the United States?
From a broader historical perspective, drug trafficking (and government efforts to suppress it) is just a late chapter in the long history of the country’s intimate relationship with illicit trade. However, it is the longest chapter in the book, and for good reason. No other anti-illicit trade campaign has been so costly and generated so much collateral damage as the so-called “war on drugs.” It has now been going on for a century if we date it back to the Harrison Narcotics Act. Moreover, many of the dynamics we repeatedly see in the drug trade we have long seen in other illicit trades throughout American history, including geographic dispersion and shifts in smuggling methods in response to law enforcement crackdowns. We can learn much about the drug war by looking at America’s ill-fated experiment with alcohol prohibition in the 1920s – except in the case of drugs, the product is much easier to smuggle. High levels of violence and corruption also came with alcohol prohibition, just like with the drug war today – but now, we also have unprecedented levels of incarceration, helping to turn the US into the world’s leading jailer. And while the US turned against prohibition within 13 years, a century later, the war on drugs is still going strong – with the important exception of marijuana in recent years.
Another current topic has a long history as you write in Chapter 12: the smuggling of immigrants into the United States. How does that reflect on the current migration, often with the assistance of coyotes (paid guides) into the United States?
Most of the book focuses on the smuggling of goods, but the smuggling of people is also covered in several chapters. The organized smuggling of migrants into America (not counting slave trafficking) goes back to the Chinese Exclusion Act in the late 19th century, banning further importation of Chinese laborers. The ban did not end the entry of Chinese, but instead redirected it to clandestine entry methods and routes through Canada and then Mexico with the help of professional smugglers – the “coyotes” of the era. Interestingly, there was so little official US concern about the entry of Mexicans in the early 20th century that some Chinese migrants attempted to blend in with the Mexican foot traffic across the border at border crossings such as Juarez-El Paso. The federal government built up its initial immigration control apparatus partly through its efforts to curb the unauthorized entry of Chinese – long predating the now massive border enforcement system primarily dealing with Mexicans (and now increasingly Central Americans).
Your last chapter uses the term “illicit globalization.” Can you define that given its current importance?
In the last chapter I try to situate America’s long relationship with illicit trade within the context of today’s ongoing debates about globalization – which tend to lack sufficient historical perspective. The illicit side of the global economy – ranging from drug trafficking to intellectual property theft to money laundering – can be described as the illicit side of globalization. I emphasize that while there is much that is new about illicit globalization (such as illicit transactions in cyberspace), much of it is actually a continuation of past patterns that we can learn a great deal from today – and also get clues about where we may be headed. It’s the only chapter in the book that has a present day focus, bringing the long 300-year history up to the present and situating the present in this much larger story.
How long has the scourge of sex trafficking been with us in the United States?
I should probably have given this topic more attention in the book. What I found most fascinating is how much today’s raging debate over sex trafficking [to the US] in some ways resembles the debate over the so-called “white slave trade” in the early 20th century. Then, as now, there was a societal moral panic over the issue, with all sorts of hyperbolic claims of dubious validity. Just like today, this doesn’t mean there wasn’t a sex trade, but in retrospect, it was clearly less transnational and less organized by criminal syndicates than was depicted in many sensationalized media accounts at the time. And then, as now, sweeping new federal laws were passed and enforcement agencies empowered that may have had symbolic value, but lacked clearly measurable positive results [in preventing the sex trafficking].
On the generations of slaves who work in the quarries of northern India
They’re in hereditary slavery, and that means the people in that quarry have never known freedom. They were born into slavery, and when you’ve never known freedom, when you’ve never been outside the quarry, you’ve never been to another village, you’ve never seen a school, you’ve never had a doctor’s appointment, you’ve never seen a newspaper, all the lists of all the things we expect in freedom don’t apply to these people. And they simply say, if you talk to them, “My family has always belonged to that family and this is where we are and this is what we do.”
On why slavery still exists in the Congo
In the eastern part of Congo we’ve got two key problems: The first is that it’s a war zone and one of the first casualties of war is always the rule of law. So to say “What is law doing about this?” when the rule of law is, in fact, absent or disintegrated, it answers its own question pretty well. But the second part … is that the Congolese government [and] army has had its own problems with corruption and lawlessness. So it’s very difficult at times to get any sort of enforcement. Now it is true that after the United States passed the Dodd-Frank Act and put embargoes on conflict minerals from Eastern Congo, the government had to step in and start working at the local level to stop government officials and Congolese army officials from taking bribes and enslaving people themselves. So there’s been a diminution of the problem over the time, but that’s a work in progress, I have to say.
On the slaves at Bisie, a mine in Eastern Congo that provides minerals for cellphones and other electronics
They do the washing and preparing of the minerals. A lot of them, as I say, are living and sleeping in tunnels, which they’ve been digging through the mountains and so forth, and then there are a few structures, but those structures are controlled by the armed gangs that control the mines and enslave all the people in the mines ….
The jobs that they’re doing are divided up in two or three categories. One is simply the digging — digging into the side of mountain or digging down from the top — and you’re just hammering away with hammers and chisels and shovels to pull these minerals out. Another job will be hauling those minerals on your back out of the tunnels and out of the holes to take them down to the river, where they’ll be handed over to more women workers who will then wash the minerals to get a lot of the clay and other dirt off them. They just put them in giant tin cans with lots of holes poked in the can to shake around in the water and clean them up a little bit. Then there’ll be people who put those [minerals] into bags and then those people who carry those bags and stack them up and store them. And then, ultimately, there will be people who are enslaved whose job it will be to put those bags on their back and walk for 20, 30, 40, 50 miles to get them out of there and into the supply chain that brings them to our cellphones.
On common diseases and injuries at Bisie in Congo
You can imagine that if you have people with no medical care and no opportunity to even bathe what happens when … those people sleep together in big piles in tunnels. So there’s all the types of injuries that you can get in mining, so broken bones and being smashed with hammers and shovels and picks and pikes and holes put in you. There’s what happens when the tunnels collapse, which happens often because this isn’t industrial mining with careful supports and hardhats or anything like that, so people are crushed to death or desperately injured or a big rock falls on your head. There are scabies and other infectious diseases that sweep through the camp. Occasionally something like cholera will break out and it means that there’ll be a very intense spike of deaths from that cholera. And then there are the sexually transmitted diseases, because the women on the camp really have no control over their bodies whatsoever. Once they’ve come there, perhaps even hoping to find real work or honest work, they discover that they’ve been caught in a web of slavery as well, and really any member of the armed gang that controls that mine can take any woman and do anything he likes.
On the connection between modern slavery and environmental damage
This whole book for me is about exploring and illuminating that relationship between slavery, environmental destruction and climate change. … I was amazed to discover the role that slavery plays in CO2 emissions and in the simple and basic fact of how global warming takes place ….
When we calculated up, very conservatively, how much CO2 is coming from slavery, it worked out like this: That if slavery were a country it would have the population of Canada, but it would be the third-largest emitter of CO2 after China and the United States ….
I can point to … the gigantic mangrove forests at the bottom of Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Burma that’s called the Sundarbans forest, and it’s the largest carbon sink in Asia, in other words, a place where carbon is taken out of the air and sequestered by the trees, both into the sea and into the trees themselves, so this is a very important forest for removing atmospheric carbon. This is also a place where slaveholders are using slaves to clear cut these mangrove forests, to put in shrimp farms, to put in rice paddies, to burn the wood, to do a lot of different things with it, but it’s almost all slave-based deforestation.
On slavery in the U.S.
You will find people in slavery in lots of places where you don’t expect it in the United States. Sexual exploitation is probably the highest, but the second is domestic servants that we find particularly in the richer cities. After that, lots of people are enslaved in agriculture. Often these are migrants, whether legal or undocumented, but you can find people enslaved in hair-braiding studios and massage parlors, and it sort of goes on and on.
On how consumers can be more informed about the products they buy
At the moment, if we were only able to use just the minerals or just the foodstuffs or materials that we know are absolutely clean, we would all be sort of short on cellphones and clothes and food, because a lot of it is still rather murky. I spend some time in the book walking through the supply chain that leads to our cellphones and our laptops and trying to point to who are the criminals and who are the accomplices and who are the people who are deeply and certainly responsible, and at what level that responsibility lies.
Of course, the ultimate responsibility on the ultimate end of the supply chain rests with us. And we’re responsible for what we buy and what we use, but we’re not as responsible as the people who sell it to us, and we’re certainly not as responsible as the people who make the phones, because this is their business, they should be clean about what they do.
Modern day slavery exists every day, everywhere all over in the world. You may hear that there are more people in slavery, as sex workers and forced labor bondage, than at any time in history. According to the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) 2015 report, “The Economics of Forced Labor”, the illegal profits obtained through the practice of human trafficking/sex slavery/forced labor, amount to an estimated $150 billion per year worldwide, an estimated $99 billion in the sex trade (mostly women and girls) and the rest in forced labor (mostly men and boys). The ILO report says, 20 million people are in forced labor, 4.5 million of them are in the sex trade, and another 14.2 million are forced unpaid or underpaid labor; some 59,000 of these workers are in the U.S. and 5800 in Canada. A forced laborer makes a profit of $30,000 for their owner in a developed country, compared to $4800 per worker globally; a sex slave makes their owner 10X as much as forced labor in other areas.
That’s where the current “30-35 million in slavery worldwide” number comes from, but unlike the “good old days of slavery” when apologists will give you a list of why it wasn’t that bad and actually was good for the workers, the value of slave labor was a long process over time where there was a possibility of freedom for the worker after so much “profit” was made. Today the owners get a quick and high return on their investment but can “replace” the young worker very easily and quickly. That euphemism means death, drug addiction, or abandonment and if the culture is conservative, they can be shunned, abused and never fit back in society.
As you can see that’s a pretty good way to get attention, loosen heart-strings and send money to the nearest organization that pledges another war on euphemisms. Make no mistake the problem exists all over the world, maybe near your neighborhood, maybe you purchase goods made by child labor and we all know stories of someone who was affected, missing, abducted or who survived. Unfortunately there are high-profile cases of purported sex slave survivors who have embellished their own experiences into money making ventures. Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times supported two of the biggest names until their stories unraveled, Somaly Mam whose story generated major fund-raising for her non-profits and Chong Kim, whose story was turned into the 2012 movie “Eden”. Advocates for sex workers have been exposing these scams because as marginalized members of society they suffer abuse at the hands (or the neglect) of authorities.
The ensuing moral outrage and “white panic” has resulted in conservative, sometimes repressive, legislation and law enforcement tactics. It also generates media stories, more sales and donations, and more embellishment by various government officials who use outdated or unreliable data to generate higher numbers to justify budgets. Sex workers claim they are being swept up in raids, targeted by repressive laws, and websites that advertise services are taken down, but the workers say these sites are a layer of protection and information. Part of the corruption are aid agency workers and government officials who were found trading sex for assistance or other questionable behaviors. In the U.S. recent studies state that almost 10% of all police misconduct reports are for sexual abuse, second only to excessive violence. Sex workers report that they are abused more often by the police than workers in care facilities, and even more than pimps.
You can follow the anti-trafficking, non-profit, profit-making breakdown of the top 50 charities and related issues in copyrighted stories at Truthout by Anne Elizabeth Moore, Mike Ludwig and Alana Massey here.
$150 billion is a huge amount, but authorities tie human trafficking into drug smuggling and such magic numbers are used to estimate income for illegal drugs, illegal arms trade and counterfeit goods, all unknowable. Yet in 2005, the same ILO report stood at $44 billion profits worldwide for this “industry.” Perhaps they are including the fund-raising going on worldwide for “human trafficking/sex slavery/forced labor” and other euphemisms. Critics say the numbers are obviously estimates and that actual criminal and justice reports can only find thousands of reported victims. Anti-trafficking sites say many runaways and missing children are not reported accounting for missing numbers. Sex workers say official statistics merge slavery numbers with legal or accepted forms of “consensual” sex which skews them upwards.
105 years ago U.S. politicians passed the Mann Act to protect defenseless females from white slavery and threw in “for any other immoral purposes”. The FBI used the Mann Act to grow its agents in the field and political power in D.C. Current moral outrage and “white” panic seem to spur media reports, celebrity and targeted fund-raising and justify the passage of conservative, even repressive legislation. Now the recent corporate victory with the TPP legislation (passed while everyone was arguing about flags and burning churches) includes provisions that drop human trafficking to a misdemeanor, to make it palatable to the host countries and the Corporations.
Global economic slavery is just a matter of depth perception and how much light you have to shine. American workers may feel like they work for ‘slave wages’ when they see media reports on Corporate CEO’s making $30,000 -$750,000 U.S. dollars PER DAY, while they fight for minimum wage or are denied food stamps and health care coverage by many of those same executives, or by politicians with tax-subsidized health care and government officials in revolving door jobs with industries they once “regulated”. But Sex Slavery forever changes a young person’s life and while many can find opportunities to get back their self-esteem, very often society does not treat them well, and they end up in self-destructive loops. In Third World countries the police and judges still abuse them, telling them to go back to the streets to make better money, as any government subsidy is meager and the bureaucracies just don’t care. All poor countries have terrible economic conditions that the predators depend on to basically steal or buy people for profit and then discard them, and that includes poor counties in the good old USA. Along with overworked, underfunded Social Service Agencies there are group homes, professional women’s groups, ethical non-profit fund-raisers, village to market co-ops and Third World micro-loans that help many get their lives back by creating support systems.
You can check non-profits and NGO’s before you donate to any organization that uses the euphemisms: forced labor/human trafficking/sex slavery/CSEC – Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. You can even hire ex-CIA-FBI-Navy Seals to “rescue your missing children and bring the human traffickers to justice”. Part of the current climate of fear is the wife-slavery agenda of ISIS and Boko Haram and even the Taken movie franchise with Liam Neeson. We’ve all heard: “Terrorists are crossing the border bringing in drugs to pacify us, or they will kill us all, institute Sharia Law and turn everyone into sex slaves!” Now we have Jeb Bush telling those stressed out American workers with 3 jobs they need to work longer hours to remain competitive in the global marketplace. One business website has a story about the Big Money to be made at the 2016 Super Bowl and how it is targeted by traffickers, anti-traffickers and law enforcement. Slavery is now a business reported on in business journals and people are probablyinvesting in human futures and commodities without knowing it. Or maybe they do know, it’s just called something marketable, some brand – and where does that trendy term come from?
Foster Care Children in and out of the programs are targeted by traffickers as well as non-profits raising money to place them, protect them or rescue them. Some state reports say thousands of foster children “disappear” from any contact with programs. One story linked to the U.S. Congressional Hearings on Human Trafficking in 2012, was a young girl from the West Coast, who testified: “In most of my 14 different placements in foster care homes, I was raped, and attached to a check. I understood very early that I could be raped, cared for, and connected to money. It was therefore easy to go from that to a pimp, and at least the pimp told me that he loved me.”
It doesn’t take much to apply these issues to Indian Country as Native advocates fight for the rights of Native children and women through ICWA, VAWA and MMIW. Indigenous people survived slavery on this continent and it is part of our Historical Trauma yet it continues around the world as the seamy underbelly of Corporate Globalization. Tribal, clan and mutual aid societies are natural ecosystems and offer the possibility of the “it takes a village” philosophy to take hold.