Monday, August 31, 2009

Blood, Sweat, and Airsoft

It always makes perfect sense to seek out bargains, but is your typical low-cost Airsoft gear ethically produced?

By: Ringo Bones

Maybe it was that BBC produced documentary titled Blood, Sweat & T-shirts exploring whether typical high street fashion items are ethically produced that had me to start wondering if your typical low-cost Airsoft gear passes muster as being ethically produced? But first, let us examine the idea about what makes a typical product and / or commodity ethically produced.

Ethically produced products and / or commodities are usually defined by the way the workers responsible for producing and making these items “marketable” are compensated fairly and / or ethically for their laborious efforts. Some companies are starting to advertise that their goods and services are ethically produced, although they are still part of a very tiny minority that announce to the world that they practice ethical business governance.

In the world of hi-fi, Wilson Audio Specialties can be considered a paragon when it comes to championing ethically produced products. Dave Wilson and his wife, Sheryl Lee, always made sure that everyone interested in acquiring their renowned loudspeakers knew – either through advertising and plant tours – that their factory workers are provided with full healthcare coverage and matching 401K plans. Wilson always made sure that when a customer buys one of their 45,000 US dollar per pair loudspeaker that’s made in America and built in-house, the customer is also paying for their workers’ way-higher-than-Wall-Mart-wages and benefits that his company are his obligation to his loyal team.

But in the Airsoft gaming world, every time you look at their glossy catalogues of Airsoft weapons systems, BDUs, and other replica of infantry-level paraphernalia. The testimonials and assurances – that are verifiable via plant tours and Michael Moore-style fact-finding missions - to whether their products are ethically produced are nowhere to be found. If you are following on the Beeb on the incidences of forced labor camps of the People’s Republic of China, it can be somewhat disconcerting to think about it every time you buy those ultra-cheap Airsoft weapons systems and their associated peripherals. Especially if they are made in the People’s Republic of China.

Given that most of us are starting Airsoft clubs as a way to save money in firing real ammunition and / or able to use low-cost non-lethal weapons systems on each other. No, make that because the primary goal of our rag-tag militia is to stop tyranny when our own government’s military can’t or won’t be bothered to do so. The ideals we are fighting for should extent to the ones making our goals possible. Airsoft gear providers should start making sure that their products are ethically produced because their regular customers can always boycott their products. If you bought that Free Tibet concert DVD, maybe you should start concerning whether your Airsoft gear passes muster as one of those ethically produced products.