Stop encouraging criminal activities
It is heartening to see the police crack down on the selling of counterfeit goods in downtown Kingston. We need to see more change across the country from those people who believe that engaging in illegal activity is the only solution they have to breaking out of the cycle of poverty or to getting rich quick.
It is equally disheartening to see the reactions from some members of the public who argue that the culprits are just trying to earn a living.
Based on what has been happening in recent years with lotto scamming, it would seem that a large portion of the Jamaican population has lost all sense of what is wrong or right. They see murders as wrong, but as long as no spilling of blood is involved, then it's okay.
To the lotto scammers, taking money from elderly pensioners in the United States is perfectly OK. They are completely oblivious to the many lives they destroy just so they can drive around in expensive cars, live lavish lifestyles, and sleep in expensive homes.
Similarly, the people who sell knock-off goods have no care in the world for the harm they do to the country they operate in.
According to a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the effects of selling counterfeit goods can be quite deleterious.
"Industry worldwide loses large amounts to counterfeiters. These losses not only affect the producers of genuine items, but they also involve social costs," the report said.
"The ultimate victims of unfair competition are the consumers. They receive poor-quality goods at an excessive price and are sometimes exposed to health and safety dangers. Governments lose out on unpaid tax and incur large costs in enforcing intellectual property rights. There is also an increasing concern that counterfeiting is related to other criminal activities, such as trade in narcotics, money laundering and terrorism."
The report went on to say that it is estimated that trade in counterfeit goods is now worth more than five per cent of world trade. This high level can be attributed to a number of factors, including advances in technology, increased international trade, emerging markets, and increased share of products that are attractive to copy, such as branded clothing and software.
The bottom line is that when we encourage these sort of behaviours, we hurt many people, including ourselves.
That is something we should all take very seriously.
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