It is a hallmark of the US economy that without pressure from interest groups, citizens don’t think about where their food and other necessities come from.  We are blind to abuses suffered by workers in other countries who produce the raw materials we need to live comfortable lives.  This story is but one more expose of the problem.  Palm oil is ubiquitous in consumer products, but no one thinks about the workers who tend the trees and harvest the fruit.  They are out there somewhere and not our concern.  Now that the AP has highlighted ill-treatment of workers,  interest groups can begin to pressure banks and consumer product companies to pay attention.  Maybe they will move, maybe they won’t.  It is an issue of public relations.  Are corporations responsive to human needs as they profess to be?  If they don’t act, they are hypocrites and their PR is publicity without foundation.  If we, the public, continue in our deliberate purblind ways, we are no less guilty.

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