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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 — [...]

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: 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 [...]

Overseas Microloan: Loam Cham, Photography, Cambodia

For years, 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 goes above [...]

A Map of Skreened Ethics in Practice

I find Skreened to be ethically awesome. They don’t just print on multiple varieties of organic cotton shirt using water-based inks. They don’t just print on shirts made in sweatshop-free conditions so that the garment workers who make Skreened shirts are treated right. They also send 10 percent of profits back out into the world [...]