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Executive Uses His Position to Help the Poor

Sweatshops in Southeast Asia crank out many of the name brand clothes that you and I wear every day. Sadly, many of these clothes are made by poorly paid and sometimes abused workers. How should Christians in America respond? Should we boycott these companies? Global missions expert Paul Borthwick posed those questions to a friend of his from Sri Lanka. His friend discouraged boycotting the big clothing companies, but gave this advice instead:

Tell people, especially your businesspeople, to become executives for Nike and other multinational corporations that run these factories. In positions of leadership, they can bring a Christian influence of compassion and justice and mercy into that environment. They can make rules of how the factory workers are treated. That could turn a whole village toward the gospel.

Borthwick shares what happened months later:

I shared his response with a church in New York City. One fellow approached me and said, "That's a great idea. I'm the representative buyer with a factory we have in Madagascar. I buy jeans from that factory. I sell them on Fifth Avenue; we buy jeans for a dollar and sell them for four hundred dollars. Maybe we can do something." He contacted the factory liaison in Madagascar and asked how much it would cost if the factory started paying for the school fees for the workers' children, better housing, health care, improved sanitation, and more reasonable hours. The buyer was pursuing compassion for these workers.
The buyer got a message back from the liaison representing the factory management. He said that they were sorry, but such added benefits would quadruple the price for the jeans to four dollars a pair. The buyer decided to authorize it anyway, thus making a smaller but still very good profit margin on the jeans. A Christian used his position of power to bring about compassion and justice for the poor. He was leveraging his position for the poor.

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