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The quandry of finding ethical work

Over on Twitter, I recently had a discussion on the ethics of supporting events and projects backed by Goa’s mining companies. If you have been following the news in India, you might have heard of the Shah Commission and what its report on mining in Goa has said. The impact of the report has been instantaneous – all mining has come to a standstill while the government tries to wrangle its way out of a bad situation. Of course people are affected and livelihoods are at stake. The answer, though, is simple : recover some or all of the Rs. 35000 crore (how much is that anyway?!) from the miners and help rehabilitate the mining-dependent families. These few mining barons have looted the state and the country over decades. They are rich beyond measure. And that money is ours. It is blood money from our land. And they need to give it back.

While this period of recovery awaits in the wings, what do we do? Do we continue to support , directly or indirectly, these mining families? Are we so desperate and starved for options that we continue to patronise outfits like Sunaparanta, Tea Cafe, the Marriott, Cidade de Goa, The Goan newspaper? Can we do without a slice of cake from the Tea Cafe and support the more homely bakery next door? Can we buy with a conscience?

I am doing this. My money is not going to a mining family. Not until there is evident remorse. I know my solo boycott doesn’t make a difference to them. It does to me. What about you? If more of us join the boycott, will it matter then? Oh yes. Money talks, you know.

The same argument extends to events like ThinkFest 2012. Great programme, interesting line-up of speakers, lousy choice of venue once again. Is the illegal Grand Hyatt the only place in the country that can host a large conference? After last years brouhaha I would have expected Tehelka to redeem themselves and move elsewhere. But perhaps all the rumours about them are true, too.

Carrying on with the mining boycott, I recently said no to an assignment to write content for a Goan mining company. I’d rather starve than be associated with any of them.

And so comes the quest to write for ethical brands and companies. And here’s proof that the universe conspires in the strangest ways. A stray comment on Linkedin brought in a flurry of job offers. Suddenly I have three deadlines due at the end of the week. I’m in correspondence with two editors to write for them on a regular basis and now that certain domestic events are behind us, the will to write is returning.

What about you? Do you care who pays your bills?

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