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View Diary: Traffickers in Misery Goods (43 comments)

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  •  I used to live down the street from a 3d world (7+ / 0-)

    sneaker factory. My wife worked there but quit after a week, didn't like the Korean manager screaming at them. Two of my sisters in law have worked there for a few months at a time. The hours are never forty hours a week. The days are 12 hours the weeks 7 days long. Sometimes they call you back to work after dinner until 11 or 12. The pay is per month. At the time I was living there it was $30.

    It's good to have a factory close to your village because you can always get a job. Food is better than no food. That benefit can't be over appreciated.

    I am wearing a Tshirt and sweat pants right now from cheap third world sources. Bought in Walmart and Old Navy. Clothing is one thing that doesn't cost us much. I'd very gladly pay twice or many times as much for goods if we had a tarrif. Keeping jobs in America would boost wages such that I could easily pay for housing, time off, health care.

    Look at our new immigration laws. Dems and Repubs want to import workers. High tech and farm labor. No one lets out a peep. Work visas for people outside the regular immigration system, not people already in the country. America has been on a systematic exporting of work and importing of workers supported by both parties for 30 years. It's terrible about Bengladesh. It will never stop.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:38:46 AM PDT

    •  It will never stop as long as we're a divided (3+ / 0-)

      nation.

      If we can ever get around on this in a united, transpartisan way, we could indeed reverse it... but that level of agreement is probably postrevolutionary.  So yeah, change in the foreseeable future is out.

       

      It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

      by Leftcandid on Mon May 06, 2013 at 05:24:41 AM PDT

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    •  Food is better than no food (0+ / 0-)

      and that's what makes me conflicted about boycott activism.

      Do I want to buy into a system where people in Bangladesh and other exploited regions are paid $37/month for 80+ hour work weeks, only to die at the hands of their employer? No, I do not.

      Do I want to buy into a system where (even more) people in Bangladesh starve because the factories close because wealthy countries won't buy their products? No, I do not.

      I would be less conflicted if the people calling for boycotts of "misery goods" weren't so often the same people exhorting me to "buy American" or "reduce consumption." But as it is, I feel manipulated.

      They play on my emotions to get me to feel terrible about paying Bangladeshi garment workers 10 cents/hour. They tell me I'm responsible for supporting a corrupt and exploitative system of lax safety regulations and environmental and building practices that literally kill people. And it works. I feel terrible.

      But then they pull the bait-and-switch. I've been baited into listening, and then they switch and tell me I need to buy American, or I need to reduce my consumption, or something else that basically involves 'keep your money in the USA, or at least North America and western Europe.'

      That 'solution' has absolutely nothing to do with helping Bangladeshi workers. That 'solution' is about helping Americans. More specifically, it's about helping corporations that produce "Made in USA"-labeled goods...with, of course, no mention of how many such goods are produced by prison slave labour at wages that rival Bangladeshi factories.

      If someone were sincere about helping Bangladeshi workers, they might be be inviting me to help with an effort to unionize them. Or perhaps asking me to invest in a fair-trade-certified facility that would compete with the misery-factories for workers.  

      Perhaps they might encourage me to participate in micro-lending operations that invest in Bangladeshi women, or a service that helps women in Bangladesh market their goods directly to worldwide consumers, or some other initiative that enables garment workers to ply their trade independent of the factories.

      At an absolute minimum, they'd ask me to choose fair-trade-certified goods, which stands a chance, however remote, of eventually increasing the profitability of those goods to the point that fair-trade is a more profitable business model in the developing world than misery-factories.

      But they wouldn't tell me to buy American, because there is absolutely no chance that buying American is ever going to help anyone in Bangladesh.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:01:41 PM PDT

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