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The effort by some Western companies to pay for factory safety and improve working conditions might be well intended. It's time for truly independent auditing as well, instead of the companies paying for internal monitors. But these are token remedies that run against the grain of the push toward the bottom.
Sweatshop conditions were reformed in America after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, and became a bedrock of the New Deal. The garment industry then moved to the Southern "right to work" states to escape labor laws. When the civil rights movement arose, those companies exported their manufacturing to South Asia and Central America.
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to improve conditions are token remedies that run against the grain of the push Reebok Classic Leather Black toward the bottom.
The capitalist dictum of comparative advantage, written long ago by Adam Smith and David Ricardo, encourages countries like Bangladesh to showcase themselves as low wage havens with few if any regulations or unions. Recently, Western multinationals have been shifting to Bangladesh from China China! Comparative advantage turns out to be a race to the bottom, and the bottom is hell.
With the death of more than 1,000 innocent young women in a Bangladesh factory collapse, there is hope that conditions Reebok Tan Shoes
Story HighlightsHow is it possible to "reform" a country where low wages and no safety regulations are the main attraction to Western investors?Only the threat of corporations actually pulling out, as the Disney Corp. has done, will get the attention of decision makersSweatshop conditions were reformed in America after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911.
The lesson of this history is that the New Deal labor policies should be globalized in an enforceable code of conduct. Global trade agreements now protect corporations against piracy, but not teenage working girls against lethal factory settings.
State senator and Los Angeles mayoral candidate Tom Hayden in 1997.(Photo: John Hayes, AP 1997 photo)
Only the threat of corporations actually pulling out, as the Disney Corp. has done, will get the attention of decision makers. If and when Bangladesh implements reforms that actually improve worker safety and wages, then and only then should American corporations consider re investing.
will finally improve in the sweatshops where garments are manufactured for Western consumers. retailers
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Sweatshops attract Western investors
Corporations such as the Gap and Wal Mart benefit from the systemic corruption of places such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. How is it possible to "reform" a country where low wages and no safety regulations are the main attraction to Western investors?
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