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Response Paper on National Geographic Article, “Far From Home”

Foreigners—those who are uneducated, poor, and needy for money—are often cheap laborers for business owners. The city of Dubai, and other many great cities, were made by foreign workers.

In a National Geographic article titled “Far From Home” by Cynthia Gorney, it tells of the following choices that foreigners have. If families chose to stay instead of going overseas to earn higher wages, they would at least have a stable family; however, they would remain poor. But if they chose a job elsewhere, they could earn more money to live a higher standard of living and buy nice things (like jewelry) every now and then, for both them and their family that they left behind; however, they would probably find another significant other to fill their emotional hole and create an unstable family.

One thing they could do to stay as a family is move overseas together, like try to move to America. That way, they could all earn more money and live a higher standard of living while being together. This seems like the best option, instead of leaving others behind to live a lesser life. And they could even educate themselves through the internet or college. Then their future children also can have a better life. Choosing to move together is also the least amount of work; they can broaden their horizons and see a new side of life together. However, just because they are together, does not mean they may experience a divorce; because of the rapid change they will experience as individuals, especially if they are educating themselves, they may turn into different people and meet a diverse set of peoples who can further change who they are. But in the end, they will still have a better life than they would have if they chose to separate while one side of the family must constantly rely on the other.

It’s never good to be fully or mostly dependent. The best thing humans can do is make themselves independent as possible. What if the United States had to depend on other countries for all its workers, military, food, etc? Then it wouldn’t be the United States or the leading superpower. It’s a superpower because it’s independent as it can be. So the family members, too, should be educated to be independent instead of depend on a family member for the majority of their income. Another example would be my being independent in relation to college: If I relied exclusively on college for learning, opportunities, and excelling, then I would not be the person I am today and would not know as much as I know now. Thanks to audiobooks and the internet—articles, videos, tutorials—I’ve learned so much more that either the college doesn’t teach or would require me to take more classes and majors (which would cost thousands of dollars, compared to the internet which is cheap).

We should never let our circumstances define us. That’s why the families are trying to do something about it. However, if they used the internet for educational purposes (one of the mother’s in the article was on Facebook and Skype!) they too could learn and even maybe make money online! This could be an even better option if they have no wish to move.

These poor people are unfortunately just tools for the rich, altering their behavior with money incentives. While the rich live a life of luxury, the poor people have to work and work and work in order just to make a small sum of money; and there is nothing to say the hourly wage they make is right, either. Because in the end, that’s what they are: cheap labor. For example: “He worked construction, making four dollars a day. It was enough to survive.” If he lived in America, at least he’d make minimum wage, or $7.25 an hour.

Many Americans complain of the low wages they make, even fast food workers demanding they make $10-$15 an hour. These workers need to rise up above their circumstances and educates themselves so they can make more and have a better life. Although they may have it rough as well, it’s definitely not as rough as these foreigners have it. It goes to show to not take what we have for granted. It could be better and it could be worse, but at least it’s not worse. There are no rules to life, only the ones that humans impose, and throughout history, those rules, beliefs, values, and attitudes all change, and old rules are no longer deemed right and are instead declared as wrong. Even today, different countries have different rules, beliefs, values, attitudes, and standards, so being in a different country would mean following a slightly different set of rules. So who can say the rich exploiting the poor is right, and that the hourly wages they designate are fair? No one can. They may even be able to give some bullshit reasoning, citing some economics, as to why the hourly wage is the number it is.

And look at that: I scanned the Facebook news feed, and there was an ad targeted at me; apparently, Walmart is raising its minimum hourly wage to $10, while its competitor hasn’t yet. It goes to show that the hourly wage is a game of power and politics, not fairness or rightness. I even remember a Ted Talk, where a member of the 1% named Nick Hanauer argued his reasoning for a higher minimum wage; he suggested that the rich (who hoard their money instead of spend it) have gotten increasingly richer, so why are the poor (who have to spend their money and barely have any leftover) not allowed to get richer too? In the description of the Ted Talk video is, “Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France.”

So the article, “Far From Home,” by Cynthia Gorney, directly relates to life in the United States, and specifically, my life too.

Now, the family the foreigners in the article leave behind, changes while they are gone, too. Perhaps they start doing drugs, or the wife has yet another baby (why does a family need so many of those anyway?). Since they change for the worse by separating themselves across different geographic regions or instead choose staying in the same poor spot at their own country, they could at least change for the better if they moved to one place together, like Europe or The United States. So even if the family does separate there, at least they have a better chance at a better life.