The Big Picture
Today I decided to step back and attempt to see “the big picture.” It is not always an easy task, but over these last few weeks of economic crises and natural disasters, it would be self-indulgent and inhumane to not take pause. As the death tolls from the earthquake and cyclone in China and Myanmar, respectively, surpass a staggering 130,000, the suffering of the survivors in these two nations is unfathomable.
To put the numbers of this human loss into perspective, lives lost from September 11, 2001 and for Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana were less than 5,000, and still the devastating effects of both of these events will have far reach in the American collective consciousness long into our future. During this time of healing and rebuilding in Asia, it is certain the people of these nations will be forever changed.
Knowing full well that our industry, and even many of our individual paychecks, in some way relies heavily on the hard labor and manufacturing efforts of the people of Asia, (whose hourly earnings range anywhere from $0.45 per hour in village manufacturing plants to $1.19 in urban areas*) it is appropriate, if just for a single moment, to forget borders, shipping costs, cultural differences, which product is made in America/which is not, competition for labor contracts and so on, and take pause.
On May 19, throughout China, a three-minute moment of silence was observed to grieve and show respect to those who were lost in the tragedy. I would like to suggest to each of our readers, as you flip through this issue reading up on bags, calendars, office products, fan apparel and the scores of other promotional pieces that appear on these pages and have served our economic and financial purposes, take pause in observance and respect for the deep suffering and loss of those who may have quite possibly had a hand in your success.
* From the U.S. Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site.