In Disposable People how is modern slavery defined?
This fascinating text seeks to explore the 21st century version of slavery, which, as Bales expertly dissects, is very different from colonial notions of slavery. Bales explores the conditions in which slavery in the 21st century thrives, and argues that developing countries that have experienced both massive population growth and economic growth are natural hotbeds for modern slavery. This is because such an economy normally features avaricious, unscrupulous businessmen who are willing to get rich themselves through exploiting the most weak and needy in society. The combination of the huge number of such poor people and then the high levels of violence that are associated with slavery allow those engaged in this practice to work their "slaves" so hard for short periods of time and then dispose of them. Bales goes on to examine how implicitly the Western world is involved in supporting such practices, even pointing the finger at both you and I:
...consumers do look for bargains, and they don’t usually stop to ask why a product is so cheap. We have to face facts: by always looking for the best deal, we may be choosing slave-made goods without knowing what we are buying.
Systems of global inequality that therefore allow such slavery to flourish are therefore explored and itemised, with the impact that our actions today have on these systems fully documented. This book makes for a disturbing read, as it particularly focuses on the horror and savagery of modern slavery in our global economy.