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Lessons a review of the game 'Trading Trainers'
a review of the 'Trading Game'

Trading Trainers - a review of the lesson

At the start of our 'trading trainers' lesson we were reminded of the video we watched of young women and men being exploited in Nike and Gap factories in Cambodia.

The Exercise
Then Mr. Jenkins gave us all a box, told us we were all families (in our table groups) that made the trainers and traded them with another group (superior- rich = Nike & Gap). They exploited the families and kept them poor by buying the things for little money, and selling objects like paper (leather to make trainers with) for loads.

Nike & Gap
Nike and Gap were represented by 2 people, but they weren't the only ones making life hard for the families, one boy came around each table every few minutes telling us it was a new week and demanding we paid him rent- he was a landlord. Also, a girl came to the tables offering loans- but surely, you couldn't pay back loans and would become bankrupt from this action.

Our Findings
My role was a cutter, trader and bidder for the Hernandes Family. The family was fairly successful.
The problems we faced were the following:

Our pencil was stolen, and in order to carry on, we had to buy one, that was expensive.

We couldn't afford rent one week and had to owe him at the end.

We only had time to make one pair, the other pair, well the game was declared finished a minute before we'd finished it.

This game made me feel annoyed, but for the wrong reasons, (Nike and Gap) the superior companies gave money to different people depending on friendship, not hard work.

One member of our group was too interested in money to help make trainers. This game made me feel generally angry and when I thought of this as real life and 100 times worse, I was saddened and remembered the poor girls featured in: 'Gap and Nike - No Sweat'.

This game has helped me understand what life is like for them- real life, because we took a small bit of experience - all we have to do is imagine it much worse - and I can, it's really depressing.

We could help improve the lives of workers in poor countries by boycotting the exploiting companies - (though I doubt this would work), we could create a charity, make fundraisers and go to these places, to help, educate and pay rent for these people. This would help them develop, someone needs to do it, or this will continue to become a downwards spiral!

I have not yet visited any fair trade web sites, but I plan to surf Nike Watch: www.caa.org.au/campaigns/nike/index.html

by Siobhan Desai Year 9


What Did We Do?
Our class was divided into six groups. Each group was given a country (USA, Ghana, U.K, Germany, Kenya and India) and a few resources to trade with (paper, pencils, compasses, set squares, protractors, rulers, scissors and green stickers). Each country had a different set of resources to manufacture paper shapes, which were of value.

My group was assigned India, and we were unlucky enough to only have two resources, paper and some green stickers, (which were of no use to us at the time). We were supposed to trade our few resources for the ones we needed but none of the other groups would trade with us. A few minutes before the end of the lesson we managed to obtain the resources and manufacture lots of paper shapes. We also found out that by sticking the green stickers on our shapes, the value of the shapes was increased by four times. At the end of the trading, we sold all our paper shapes to the ‘bank’ and we earned the most money, closely followed by the U.S.A. who started off with all the resources.

What Did It Mean?
The trading lesson was a way of making us understand the way trading happens in real life. The more developed countries (USA, Germany, UK) had technology (scissors, pencils, compasses, protractors, set squares and rulers) to make manufactured goods (exports like chocolate - from cocoa beans, jewellery - from base metals found in the earth).

The less developed countries (Ghana, Kenya and India) had primary resources; paper, green stickers representing primary goods (exports like cotton, rice and tealeaves) Some less developed countries also had some technology.

The green stickers represented valuable exports like oil and precious metals.

What Was It For?
This lesson was a very good way of showing the way trading happens in real life and it turns out that trading is a very unfair business based on luck. However, the lesson was very enjoyable and there should be more like it.

by Alexandra Bannerman

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