Thomas Jefferson invented the dumbwaiter to hide the slaves that he used to run his mansion. Today, we use the ‘dumbwaiter’ of globalisation to hide the dark parts of our supply chains.
Also read my blog post Behind the Dumbwaiter, which includes more information about how I developed the Jefferson/dumbwaiter concept as the basis for a comic, and a list of further reading.
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Certainly there are areas of the world that lack material wealth, and certainly the humans who populate those areas have comparatively more difficult lives, but every society has gone through similar industrialization, and the west has come out more prosperous, more peaceful, and more egalitarian for it. So-called "sweatshops" only exist because the economic alternatives are worse. The facts are, as the U.N. measures poverty, "extreme poverty" globally has been cut in half in the last couple of decades, and by almost three-quarters since the 1970s. Places in Southeast Asia and Africa have seen great improvements in prosperity and general wellness. According to The Economist, this is due almost exclusively to the economic growth and wealth creation that free enterprise catalyzes. Economic liberalization is the best solution to poverty humanity has ever employed. So-called "sweatshops" seem to be an integral part of the path to economic prosperity, and I often wonder what those who issue blanket criticisms of such practices would replace them with? Just banning them would only make things worse, because as I pointed out, people only work there because the economic alternatives are worse. Certainly there is more work to do, and certainly we shouldn't rest on our laurels, but we should also be particularly keen to point out the progress we have made, considering that misery and tragedy make up the majority of the news cycle, and yet there is much to be grateful for and to celebrate in our world.
University lecturer introduced me to your work. Hoping to see more thought provoking and challenging work in the future which I can share further with others. Thank you.
Excellent cartoon! Very thought-provoking; thank you for creating it.
Hi Stuart, I recieved your last cartoon about the dumbwaiter and I think it is very interesting. I also notice that I firts knew about your work through the oil peak cartoon which was translated and posted on a french website. I do think it would be nice for me to post your work on FB, but that would be at the condition that it is adequatly translated in franch. Would you like me to send you the French version ? It could spend some time to do so during the week of october 7th. Please let me know if it interests you and if so, explain how to proceed. Thanks you.