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HighHeelShoes
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HighHeelShoes
posts: 19

Occasionally, I stop writing about shoes and fashion and I get on my high horse and blog about subjects that have got me thinking.

The news about those fires in those factories in Pakistan stopped me in my tracks. Why does it keep happening ? I asked that question of a colleague of mine who is from Pakistan.

His response was that they have to work in those factories, there is nothing else. They accept the conditions and the low wages because if they don’t they will be sacked and their families will starve.

Why is it so ? In Western countries, there are Health and Safety rules, minimum wages, laws against employing child labour and Trade Unions that still have some muscle. Yet in so called developing countries, the workforces seem to be treated like slaves.

The answer, I was told was poverty. There is little or no welfare state, people have lots of children, so they can be looked after in their old age. They try to have as many sons as possible, because they will go out to work and girls are too expensive. I was told that corruption and bribery is considered normal.

So don’t the customers of these awful factories have a duty to check what is going on ?. I mean full time unannounced checking, not just popping over once in a while and having a coffee with the owner. These workers make the clothes and the shoes that they buy, should they be responsible ?

Also, do we as end consumers, also have a duty ? I was talking to a colleague about the fire in Pakistan. I said I was uncomfortable with children going out to work in such dagerous places, when they should be in school. Her view was that these companies are doing people a favour, providing us with cheap and affordable clothing and with the workers, the chance to earn a wage, no matter how meagre, “it is better than nothing” she said

So at what cost ? savings on wages, health and safety, working conditions mean that these companies can be more competitive. Should that mean that people’s lives are at risk just so that we in the West can buy a cheap top ?

Should we be concerned, when we look at that top or bag, do we ask where it came from, and what was the real cost ?
posted 1 day ago

posted almost 2 years ago
amorphous_face
Style_council
amorphous_face
posts: 264

I don-t think we can do anything about the corruption in those countries. Even if we paid more for clothes, it wouldn-t go to the employees. it would go in the pocket of the owners.

posted almost 2 years ago
 
catiebeatty
Forum_moderator
catiebeatty
posts: 1333

That’s a great point amorphous_face made. I discussed a similar topic with my mom and sister once and they had pointed out how awful it was that western consumerism was starting to crop up in places like India. My sister made the argument that because of it, people were killing brides over washer machines. That’s not western consumerism and it most certainly isn’t our fault! Americans have to stop acting like we’re the World’s babysitter. If you believe that a company may be selling products made in sweatshops, then stop shopping there and write letters to the company to push them to monitor the factories they use. Other than that, there’s not much you can do.

Here is an article similar to one I read in college, that gave me a new perspective on child labor. I’m still not totally convinced and think we should be doing things to prevent child labor, but the article brings it into focus a little.

posted almost 2 years ago
 
HighHeelShoes
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HighHeelShoes
posts: 19

Im sorry I cant accept either of those two arguements. India who is one of the biggest employers of child labour has a space program and they have nuclear weapons ! and on top of that ( I am now ranting ) they recieve millions of dollars and pounds in aid from the West. There is no bloody excuse for why small children are working long hours in unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the garment industry. We are the consumers and the voters and we do have a lot power. In the UK we have a minimum wage and a benefit system to enable families and their families to live.

I understand that the UK ( where I am from ) and the USA cant all ways be the worlds baby sitters, but they do when it suits them polically to do so.

I had better go and take a deep breath and calm down

posted almost 2 years ago
 
catiebeatty
Forum_moderator
catiebeatty
posts: 1333

The children in India who have to work instead of go to school would rather work in the garment industry than make a “living” digging through garbage. Here’s a story about it. That is not because I shop at Forever21. The US has a space program and a nuclear program, but there are still children here who live in poverty and go hungry. It’s not right and it’s not what i would want for anyone, but there are always going to be poor people and those who gain from others’s losses. Do the best you can to not destroy another human being, but also, don’t drive yourself crazy that you can’t save everyone!

posted almost 2 years ago
 
patlaenz
Style_council
patlaenz
posts: 294

its well known that all the garment industry all over the world make their money out of exploiting people….for instance the main factory of zara in spain its based on a tiny town where theres nothing to work at besides that,so do the maths….in my region (south america)they have semi-slavery regims where right now theres people of ALL ages working without even can go to the bathroom..the only word that comes to my mind is SHAME

posted almost 2 years ago
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