Teach A Man To Shoe
The moderate daily use of an African child’s pair of shoes yields a need for durable shoes at an affordable price. This need creates an opportunity within the local economy to profit and grow from, strengthening the local economy. Companies that produce the materials for the shoes, the companies that assemble the shoes, and the market venders that sell the shoes all exist based on this need.
Villagers have to go to the local market, existant near most villages, where venders sell everything from fruits to shoes to old bike parts, daily in order to get fresh groceries to feed their families (Makinwa). The shoe venders exist based on the need of shoes by local villagers, especially children who need shoes to go to school. As with any economy, the more buying and selling that happen within the economy, the more the economy thrives and grows; so when a vender suffers, so does the local economy.
When a shipment of TOMS shoes arrives to a village, the local market’s shoe vender takes a major economic blow. The free shoes, cause a drop in shoe sales, which loses the shoe vender business, which loses the shoe assemblers business, which loses the textile and other shoe material companies business. When this happens, jobs are lost and the local economy weakens, affecting the entire area as the workers who lose their jobs now must find new jobs or rely on increased foreign aid to support themselves and their families (Stream). Until then, the rest of the market loses the business of these people, hurting the rest of the market, which hurts the village’s economy even more. Now, many villagers may not be able to feed themselves, let alone replace their shoes once their TOMS shoes wear out. While a $70 pair of shoes may be “the ultimate feel-good purchase,” providing the impoverished with shoes is more harmful than good (Zimmerman). But, if TOMS shoes was to relocate its factories to Africa, the African economy would benefit instead of suffer.
Instead of giving away one pair of shoes for every pair sold, TOMS shoes could relocate their factories to Africa and employ the locals, paying them a fair wage and creating jobs. These jobs would allow the Africans to buy their own shoes, as well as other necessary products, promoting self-sufficiency and raising their villages out of poverty. It is more beneficial and rewarding to teach the impoverished “to fish” than to hand them a pair of flimsy shoes.
Makinwa, Thiat. “The Trouble With TOMS.” Okayafrica.com. OkayAfrica, 10 Apr. 2012. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.
“The Stream.” Stream.aljazeera.com. The Stream, 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.
Zimmerman, Mike. “The Business of Giving: TOMS Shoes.” Success.com. Success, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2013.