Wednesday, May 08, 2013
The Tragedy of Bangladesh
I want you to stop for a moment and look at the tags on your clothes, and see where they were made. Mine are from El Salvador and Swaziland. The only thing on my person that is American made are my U.S. Army issued dog tags that I received at Fort Benning.
These articles of clothing are made in third world developing countries that have lax building clothes and, for the most part, consider their workers to be expendable and the retail giants we frequent turn a blind eye to a twenty-first century exhibition of slavery for cheaper overhead.
Until an incident such as what occurred in Bangladesh shakes the radio waves: over 800 people killed when a garment factory not built to code collapses, leaving thousands more injured, the factory owner arrested, 18 more factories closed for safety reasons and the EU considering "appropriate actions" to push improvements.
Then everyone, and their uncle, complains about the horrors of these modern day sweat shops while buying something a six year old kid working a twenty hour day made in China at the their local Wal-Mart. Yea, I'm guessing their going to lead the charge... Right.
But what can anyone do? Basically.... Nothing. Because these retail giants and clothes outfitters cannot just move production to the U.S. or other developed nations because labor and regulations make overhead unbearable, but at the same time it's bad for public relations to have 800 of your workers in Bangladesh die when a sweatshop collapses.
So what is the solution? Well, right now there really isn't one... Unless you want all of our clothes to cost name brand prices because they are made in the developed world, or have none because all of the shops in developing nations are shuttered. The best solution might be compromise: better building codes and workers rights in developing nations.
What say you?