In Syl Anagist, there exists the Briar Patch. The Briar Patch is a place where humanity dies. In it exists thousands of tuners that are “unable to work” and remain alive solely so their power can be harvested (235). Gallat, a conductor of the network, calmly and coldly explains the process in the Briar Patch, “so after system priming, once the generative cycle is established, there’s only an occasional need to reprime” (263). Gallat is numb to the horror of the Briar Patch and does not even address the slaves as people, but as things…objects. At first, reading this passage…I was appalled, but then I quickly realized this is a reflection to the inner workings of our world.
Now, slavery is hardly a new concept, but I think it can be easy to forget how commonplace modern day slavery is. Modern day slavery comes in a variety of different forms: child marriages, sexual exploitation, underpaid labor, and more. But as a frequent consumer of household name brands like Nike, Apple, and others, I often debate the ethical repercussions of purchasing their products. For example, Apple had a scandal in 2012 when the abuse their Foxconn factory workers in China faced was uncovered. I bring up Apple, because it was disheartening to learn of that news when I know of their charitable actions through the RED campaign. In my opinion, it is easy to hold the assumption that large companies like Apple are on a strong moral standing, because of their public image and far reaching impact. But, these large corporations are the pinnacle of such corruption with the constant need to defeat their competitor’s prices, while maintaining the quality of their products – quite the impossible task to achieve (legally).
I, honestly, do not think that the near future holds a slavery free world. Progressively, the world is becoming consumed with materialism and obsessed with fast fashion which ultimately, forces the need for cheap, albeit illegal, labor. Where we are right now, as a society, modern day slavery, no matter how horrible, is vital to our survival like the Briar Patch is to Syl Anagist.
On a more positive note, I do think that as long as we remain aware of modern day slavery’s presence and steadily work to eliminate it, I think that that world can exist.