[DFT] Fw: [ChivalryToday] Price of Chivalry

Seanan seanan at elfsea.net
Sun Feb 22 15:13:05 PST 2004

The Price of Chivalry
By Scott Farrell
©2004, Shining Armor Enterprises

Here's an unusual scenario: You walk into your favorite warehouse
store, search the shelves and select an item you want to buy - it seems
to be a quality piece of merchandise at a price that is comparable to
other brands. You take your selection to the cashier, put the box on
the counter and say:

"I'd like to pay a little bit more for this item, please."

This may sound like it has more to do with brain damage than with
chivalry, but in fact, paying a little more for things is the goal of a
project called "clean up your computer," which is a model of chivalry
at work in the modern world.

The issue that "clean up your computer" seeks to address is the fact
that many of our computers are made in foreign countries - particularly
Mexico, Thailand and China. Although these high-tech PCs are designed
and marketed by American executives, they're manufactured and assembled
by workers in these less-affluent nations. Many of these workers are
paid low wages, are subject to discriminatory hiring practices, work
shifts of 12 hours or more, and are not provided with clean, safe
working environments.

Shouldn't foreign labor laws prevent such unsavory business practices?
Yes, but this is a perfect example of the difference between "law" and
"justice." In many cases the factories are the "only game in town," and
workers who balk or complain are harassed and threatened with

So, the "clean up your computer" campaign is asking computer buyers to
step up to the plate and help the workers who make the PCs that we use
in our homes and businesses. The battle plan is simple and painless:
Consumers and shareholders are asked to write to the companies they buy
electronics from, asking what ethical standards they use in their
manufacturing plants and how they ensure those standards are
implemented. The philosophy is that if computer makers know their
customers are as interested in fair trade and living wages as they are
in RAM and Gigahertz, they'll clean up their acts.

One of the most basic tenets of the Code of Chivalry is that a knight
should protect the weak and defenseless. Some scholars point to this as
an example of the hypocrisy inherent in historical chivalry - medieval
knights enjoyed the privileges of rank and wealth while the peasants
endured poverty and oppression. Clearly there is some validity to this
observation, which makes this an ideal opportunity to learn from the
mistakes of the past in order to avoid repeating them.

Today, nearly every one of us lives a lifestyle that, until about a
hundred years ago, would have been reserved for the aristocracy - the
knightly class. Living by the Code of Chivalry in the 21st century
means sometimes stepping away from our own interests and pursuits to
help someone in need, to protect the dignity and human rights of those
who cannot defend themselves. Taking a moment to send a letter to the
company that makes your computer (or your television, your CD player,
your automobile or your kitchen appliances) is a way to become
someone's knight in shining armor.

Of course, if the "clean up your computer" campaign is successful,
you'll have to "put your money where your mouth is." Next time you go
to buy a new PC, you may have to pay a little more. In today's world,
however, a debit card can be just as effective as a broadsword in
protecting the weak and defenseless - that's the price of living by the
Code of Chivalry in the 21st century.

*****"Clean up your computer" is sponsored by the Catholic Agency for
Overseas Development as part of the Trade Justice Campaign - although
no membership in or endorsement of this organization is necessary in
order to send a letter or e-mail to an electronics manufacturer. To
find out more about the "clean up your computer" campaign, go to:
trade_justice_campaign/clean_up_your_computer *****

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Enjoy our newest article: Chivalry in the Air - A fascinating story of
an aerial combat over Nazi Germany that highlights the connection
between valor and mercy, showing why fighter pilots are often called
"knights of the air." Read it at www.ChivalryToday.com

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Readers are permitted and encouraged to share this article with others
as a way of furthering the understanding of the Code of Chivalry in the
modern world. Scott Farrell's seminars on chivalry and the knightly
virtues are available to businesses, schools and civic organizations
throughout the Southern California area; more information can be found
on our website. Please include all copyright statements and
attributions when forwarding Chivalry Today articles. Copyright 2003
Scott Farrell and Shining Armor Enterprises. Visit our website at
www.ChivalryToday.com .

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