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.