Sunday, January 20, 2008

inspiration or exploitation?

In researching a forthcoming post, I stumbled across this remarkable video (wmv) about rural Kenyans who have gotten the rights from the corporation that owns the Simpsons to produce and sell handmade soapstone carvings of characters on the show. They receive $6 for each carving, which they use to support and educate their families. The spokesman from the group is very pleased about the work and the impact it has had on the community.

But then we find that the carvings can be sold in the UK for ten times that amount, $60 a piece. Does it really cost $54 to ship a small bust of Homer Simpson from Kenya to Britain? Perhaps, but I am skeptical. But I’ll refrain from complaining too loudly since if the project were ended for some reason, the Kenyan artisans would clearly be worse off than they are now.

[Continued at Citizen Orange]

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