I saw the BCC follow-up story on the collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh. It stirred up a fire of anger that has been smoldering inside my gut for a long time. I was angry that it happened, of course, but I was even angrier that the international community who benefits from the shoddy construction and cheap labor of factories in developing countries are not responding with help for the victims and their families.
Maybe this fanned my guilt over how I benefit from corporations taking production to third world countries. I don’t pay as much for all those things that I buy that I probably don’t need while the workers can’t afford the basics. I met with my financial planner this morning and my retirement accounts are doing well, because company profit margins are good – at the expense of those teen-age girls who were killed and maimed because they didn’t have a choice – they needed that paltry salary to stay alive.
I’m not bearing the guilt alone, however. I am sharing it with everyone who engages in greedy consumerism. I am sharing it with large corporations who lack a conscience and CEO’s who draw huge salaries and bonuses at the expense of their workers who produce their products.
I find it unconscionable that after so many people fought and lost their lives to make the workplace in developed countries safer and fairer, that jobs are shipped overseas where there isn’t governmental protection. All people who are screaming for less government control in the US should consider whether they would want their children or grandchildren working in a third-world sweat shop over their summer vacation.
I am reblogging Jamie Dedes’ post because she gives a very moving history of garment workers. Thank you, Jamie, for increasing our understanding of this problem in a way that is a little calmer and gentler than my outburst. I really appreciate your concern for justice.