Saturday, April 27, 2013

Coming To A Clothing Store Near You

(Editorial cartoon by Joel Pett / Lexington Herald-Leader (April 26, 2013) and featured at McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge.)

This is what unrestricted globalization leads to:

The death toll in Bangladesh rose to more than 300 people Friday following the collapse this week of a building that housed five apparel factories, officials said, as protests by workers at other garment plants intensified.

Bangladesh police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as hundreds of stick-wielding workers in the Dhaka area stopped highway traffic, smashed vehicles and vandalized garment factories that refused to close during a declared day of mourning. Traffic was clogged for hours as demonstrators, some waving black flags, called for the arrest and punishment of the owner of Rana Plaza, which collapsed Wednesday morning just outside Dhaka, the capital. ...

Human Rights Watch said the government hasn’t made factory oversight a priority. In June 2012, the labor ministry’s inspection department had 18 inspectors to police an estimated 100,000 factories in Dhaka district. The garment industry has approximately 4,500 factories, employs around 4.2 million workers and accounts for a whopping 80% of the country’s $24 billion in exports.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said Thursday that this week's accident underscores the urgent need for the Bangladesh government, factory owners, buyers and workers to find ways [to] improve working conditions.   [Emphasis added]

300 bodies, and they haven't finished looking.  The total of dead and injured will continue to climb.  And, according to the article, no one will be prosecuted.  The owner of this factory has, you see, good connections with the government.

And the clothing they made is sold abroad.  Probably to companies like KMart, JC Penney, maybe even Nordstrom and Macy's.  We'll be buying the clothing these people died making.

Think about that when you pick up that sweater and say, "It's to die for!"

It's the capitalist way.

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Blogger PurpleGirl said...

I haven't followed the factory migration in a few years but I did once upon a time. The clothing factories started in NYC, were moved to the South, moved to the Carribean and Mexico, then moved to Asia. Each move because the clothing manufacturers were looking for cheaper costs. And this wasn't just cheap clothing, this movement included any number of mid-range and expensive brands as well. I'm tired now of trying to buy American-made and/or checking labels.

5:35 AM  

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