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Kiva Frowns but we Smile when Microloans Default

For every sweatshop-free t-shirt we sell at Skreened, we set aside a dollar to donate to some form of economic development for the poor people living overseas. Initially, we participated in microloans under the Kiva system, thinking that the non-profit’s loans must be generously giving people a hand up to a better life. But then [...]

Despite Bible, Avowedly Christian Groups Engage in Usury

The Bible is as clear as mud on many subjects, but it’s absolutely clear about the practice of usury (lending money at a high rate of interest). As far as I’m aware, there are no Bible verses that encourage Christians to engage in usury, but there are a number that prohibit it:

Leviticus 25:35-36

And [...]

Irregular Times Microgrant: Village Enterprise Fund

Nicholas Kristoff says the best thing Americans can do for poor people living in the Third World is to buy crap made in sweatshop factories where people don’t make enough money to support their families, because even though they’re exploitative jobs, they’re better than the alternative — no jobs at all or sex slavery — [...]

Interest-Free International Microloan: Carmen Magdalena Mathews Wilson of Nicaragua

For every sweatshop-free t-shirt we sell at Skreened, we set aside a dollar to donate in aid in overseas economic development. Initially, we participated in microloans under the Kiva system, but after we found out that Kiva imposes back-breaking interest and fees on almost all of its borrowers, we shifted our giving to grants without [...]

International Microgrant: Village Enterprise Fund

Every time someone buys one of our sweatshop free t-shirts through Skreened, we send a dollar to a liberal policy group in the USA and send another dollar in economic development aid for the developing world. That way, you can have the security of knowing that the shirt on your back was made with respect [...]

Questioning Kiva: When Microloans Aren’t the Best Way to Help

Starting with New Year’s Day 2010, Irregular Times made a pledge to donate a dollar for overseas economic development every time someone purchased one of our sweatshop-free t-shirts made in the USA. We’d made the choice to stick with t-shirts made in the USA by American Apparel because American made shirts have the guarantee of [...]

Overseas Microloan: Mamadou Barry, Senegal, Motorcycle Repair

For every shirt we sell through Skreened, we dedicate a dollar to a low-interest Kiva microloan fund to someone who is trying to start up an independent business. We won’t derive income from this; any money we make from these microloans will be sent back for more overseas development. Our latest microloan goes to Mamadou [...]

Overseas Microloan: Sarantuya Sambuu of Mongolia for a Cafe

To keep this website and our tummies going, we sell political t-shirts with liberal messages on them through Skreened, a printer whose awesomeness is both aesthetical (they print shirts on demand on an immensely bigger area of shirt than either CafePress or Zazzle) and ethical (they sell shirts made under American labor and environmental standards [...]

Overseas Microloan: Najil Bantilan, Philippines, General Store

An ethical dilemma presents itself to those of us who sell shirts. It might be hypothetically thought of as good to do business with shirt suppliers from overseas, since doing so would send capital from the relatively wealthy United States to the rather more poor developing world. But in actuality, shirts shipped halfway around the [...]

Overseas Microloan: Sylivia Tibabwerayo, Grocery, Uganda

For many years now, we writers at Irregular Times have kept our effort afloat and started new efforts like That’s My Congress by putting liberal t-shirts up for sale. We have only sold shirts made in the USA because in the United States there are clearly defined labor and workspace protections, and because American Apparel [...]

Good Shirts Doing Good: The Four Corners of Skreened’s Ethical Foundation

Yesterday afternoon, the print-on-demand t-shirt outfit called Skreened renewed its commitment to ethical practice, issuing this statement:

1. Ethically made – inside and out. We start with only American Made garments. That’s our baseline for treating workers at the beginning of the process with respect. Money is our way to vote our conscience daily and [...]