Volume 4, Issue 2, December 2018

Jennifer Bossard, Ph.D

Associate Professor of Economics, Doane University

 

Abstract

To show how consumers bookend the production process and how they can impact supply chains, I use evidence from Kevin Bales’ Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World (2016). In it, Bales describes the production process of a variety of products that contain slavery and ecocide, emphasizing the relationship between slavery, ecocide, and consumerism. In one part of the book, he describes a four-step process that illustrates how consumerism leads to slavery and ecocide, and in another part, he describes a supply chain that begins with slavery and ecocide and ends with the final consumer. In this paper, I begin by summarizing the four-step process and the supply chain and then link the two to show how consumers are found at the beginning and the end of the production process. I then describe the ‘books’ of slavery and ecocide and conclude with the ‘bookends,’ suggesting ways that consumers can impact the supply chain to reduce, and possibly eliminate, slavery and ecocide.