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View Diary: Meet the retailers that won't help victims of Bangladesh factory collapse (112 comments)

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  •  The unfortunate thing is that here is a lost (0+ / 0-)

    opportunity. Of course, individual retailers and buyers are going to step aside, because the retailing of clothes is an insanely competitive business. No one wants to be undercut by another buyer. Everyone is looking for the absolute best price even down to haggling over pennies. However, that's where a buyers' cartel could really help the situation. A responsible buyers consortium would collectively certify clothing manufacturers in countries like Bangladesh by employing teams of inspectors who check on building safety and working conditions. This could really have a tremendous impact in countries where worker protections are woeful or not existent. The enforcement of standards by a buyers' consortium could in effect take the place of government inspectors who are often totally outgunned by local players. A buyers' consortium would hold all US buyers to the same standard. The consortium could then apply pressure to US authorities to deny import permits to non-consortium members. Not sure if this could be done legally, but perhaps being a member would entitle you to expedited treatment by Commerce.

    Just an idea. Maybe too problematic. But US retailers could certainly be a collective force for good. I don't think the answer is just to withdraw from such countries and cast workers back into even worse poverty the way we did with Pakistani textile workers when the US blocked imports in retaliation for Pakistan's nuclear weapons program.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Thu May 02, 2013 at 02:37:47 PM PDT

    •  Why would they do that? (0+ / 0-)

      They have absolutely no reason to have a buyers cartel, none. Except perhaps to push wages down even further. These companies don't care about workers, at all. In fact, it's legally required that they maximize profits, helping workers won't do that.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:44:14 PM PDT

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      •  And your solution is...? (0+ / 0-)

        All I am saying is that it's worth a try. A liberal is a person who does the right thing for the wrong reasons so they can feel good about it for 15 minutes. I think that there are people of good will in the garment industry. It's just that they are locked into a brutally competitive business model. The only way out of that is to build standards, just the way device manufacturers like Apple did in China. I don't expect people like you to be part of the solution because you have already decided there isn't one.

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Thu May 02, 2013 at 03:48:36 PM PDT

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        •  What try? Your plan is what exactly? (0+ / 0-)

          We beg these companies to be good? As if that hasn't bee a plan for decades now?

          I don't expect people like you to be part of the solution because you have already decided there isn't one.
          No, I've decided that your solution is wrong. That's completely different than deciding that there is no solution. Of course, you seem to think that globalization is The Only Way, so you won't even discuss other solutions. Anything other than voluntary corporate responsibility just isn't realistic, or something? A world wide communist revolution is more likely than the entire clothing industry coming together and agreeing not to mistreat workers. Sure, Apple did a little, but they still have to put up suicide nets.

          And if you want a first step in solving these problems, forgive international loans and start a program of restitution for colonialism. Colonialism is the reason that these countries are so screwed economically. It isn't just that they are poor, it's that they were robbed. The outstanding loans went to build an infrastructure specifically for producing cheap goods for the US and Western Europe and for extracting natural resources. That's the fundamental issue here, Corporations, and especially US corporations, are built on this bedrock of exploitation. It wasn't just chance or happenstance that brought us to the situation we are in, it was a specific and intentional plan to subjugate and control various countries. Globalization extend the problems, not intentionally, but with neoliberal "economic theory" they don't need to do anything intentionally, all the exploitation happens on its own.

          A liberal is a person who does the right thing for the wrong reasons so they can feel good about it for 15 minutes.
          One, I'm not a liberal and never have been one. Two, coming to dailykos and liberal bashing will generally get you an HR. In this case it's probably better that no one actually HR you so that it's perfectly clear what sort of supporters globalization has. You're more interested in attacking people over what you perceive their ideology is than over the actual facts of the matter.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Thu May 02, 2013 at 04:48:24 PM PDT

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          •  No one begged Apple to be good (0+ / 0-)

            and yet it responded to public pressure. But I am glad that you are on top of things. I expect great things from you. Really.

            For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

            by Anne Elk on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:21:18 PM PDT

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