The busier I get, the smaller my world becomes. Trying to run a business and plan a wedding at the same time (which I do NOT recommend) has recently shrunk my world to little bigger than my apartment. I forget about friends and family, my neighbors, and my community, because my brain is so consumed by immediate, personal stresses. Then I hear a lecture on my car stereo and it blows my world wide open again.
Kevin Bales, the President of the organization, Free the Slaves, recently delivered a concise and compelling lecture at the World Affairs Council on the state of world slavery and how to end it. The problem of slavery, while a very real one, is at its most solvable point in history, according to Mr. Bales. Slavery accounts for the the smallest percentage of our world’s population ever, despite the fact that in some places, slaves have become so inexpensive that they are practically “disposable.” There is also not a single country or industry that is financially dependent on slavery and every country in the world has laws against it. Furthermore, the estimated cost to bring the world’s 27 million slaves out of bondage and rehabilitate them to become financially independent is only $10.8 billion dollars — the amount Americans spend on pretzels and potato chips in one year.
The lecture is free to listen to online. I highly recommend it. When you’re baffled by the seemingly insurmountable problem of getting your sales up, or figuring out why your books don’t add up properly, it helps to be given some perspective. If we can eradicate slavery from our planet the way we eradicated smallpox, for the cost of improving Seattle’s light rail system, surely we can figure out what the font should be on the top of our letterhead.