White Collar Sweatshops....You are Helping to Fund Them!!!

by teenyuck 37 Replies latest jw friends

  • MrsQ

    I'd like to add something...

    Democracy, free trade, human rights--these are things that we westerners feel could benefit third world countries. So, we go over there, we mess around, maybe topple a dictator or two, and tell people "Ok, you're a democracy. VOTE!", or "Here's some much needed money--now get to work!".

    True social reform does. not. work. this. way. It must be internal. It must be an interior revolution.

    Example: My husband tells us of how the last Pakistani dictator was dethroned, and there ushered in the period of 'democracy'! The west was thrilled. Sanctions were dropped. They had the approval of the 'big kids on the block'.

    Do you know how Pakistani democracy works? My mother-in-law worked at the voting booths. Men would come with guns, hold them to her head, and take as many votes as they wanted. The elected politicians worked like the mafia. Using money to buy votes, and force to take them. They took percentages of business-owners' profits, as their 'tribute'. The police are paid by these politicans. There is no place for decent, hard-working people to turn if they are looted by the powers that be. No court. No law. They are OWNED by their government. Money that was given to the government from the U.S. never reached the 'people'. While millions of people work their butts off for $1.00 a day, a small percentage live in PALACES. I have met these people. They have more money than GOD. It is fuedalism, folks...only wearing a disguise of democracy. The wealthy have homes in Switzerland, I have friends who have over $100,000 worth of jewlery, just given to them at their weddings. Meanwhile, there are people so desperate in that country, they will break their child's arm, and put them out on a street to beg, because they get more money if the kid is wounded. Families of 8 live in one room.

    If you'll look at this link, it explains the situation in more academic terms:


    Just because we have some happy-go-lucky ideal that we are improving the world don't make it so.

    Again, I am not opposed to helping out other countries. Ideally, free trade is good. So is democracy. But we are not dealing with individuals. We deal with officials, politicians, and business men. If they are corrupt, it will F**K up the whole system.

    I think there should be international standards that have to be adhered to. Business sanctions can be placed on countries that refuse, say, to pay a minimum wage, or give x amount of sick days, or something.

    Free Trade implies an exchange of equals. Money for labor. But labor is not all we take. We take health, and happiness--if a family has to work 12 hour shifts 5 days a week--sure they are making money--but how is that improving their lives?


  • Abaddon

    Free trade without fair trade is not even half the battle;


  • MrsQ

    Right on, Abaddon! Thanks for the info!


  • Stephanus
    I've seen this happen in my own home town in the country. When the economy goes bust, people lose money, lose jobs, lose their homes. They are forced to look elsewhere for a job, and their hometown suffers from the loss of population. Towns die when this happens.

    There's a God-given right for generation after generation to live in the same spot/work in the same field? Do you shed tears for the people who can't make buggy whips any more due to the advent of the car, or do you rejoice at the wide variety of new support industries (and jobs) that the car brought with it? The experience of Australian country towns simply reflects the fact that technology has increased the yields of our farms and reduced the number of people to work them. In the fifties it took about 50% of our workforce to produce our primary productin; the figure is now in the mid 20% region. However, manufacturing growth continues to occur and the jobs are shifting from the country to the cities. We can try, Canute-like, to hold back the tide and wish for a better/simpler/kinder time that in reality only exists in the faulty memories of older generations, or we can embrace reality and the way the world REALLY works.

  • Stephanus


    Ever seen a buggy whip factory?

    Oops! Didn't see Abaddon's post before replying to Pris!

    This widely known example alludes to an apocryphal story about the guy who made huge investments upgrading his buggy whip manufacturing enterprise just as the first Model T rolled off the production line. You could make the same point about typewriters and PCs, records and CDs, videos and DVDs, valves, transistors and ICs, it doesn't effectively change anything. To survive, you must adapt.

  • Satanus


    Buggy whips are one thing. But take shoes for example. We've been wearing them for a thousand or more yrs. Probably will for another thousand. Here in montreal, there used to be a lot of shoe factories. A lot of workers made their livings off them. It wasn't that great, but it was okay. They paid mortgages, sent kids to college etc. Now, almost all shoes on the market come from china. All those shoemakers either found other jobs, retired or went on social assistance.

    The companies that made them may have gone belly up, or moved to china, money and jobs transplanted to china. Montreal's economy, standard of living is reduced. Shoe prices have gone up, but fewer people can buy as many shoes. It's a bit more difficult to buy a house or send kids to college because of this collapse.

    This is one example of how the free market is not good the way it is now. It seems that, at least some things are better done locally. And i'm sure that you have heard of the asian nike factory stories.


  • Stephanus

    Shoes are a great example, SS. Like in the US, here we have an inefficient clothing and textile industry being protected by tariffs and subsidies from overseas competition. Yet the OS stuff continues to get cheaper and better quality. I'd much rather pay less for shoes and clothing and not buy them from people who don't make them as well and cheaply as their OS competitors and spend my savings on more food for my family (we're poor, BTW!). We are pretty well self-sufficient food-wise here. So, my refusal to support bad local shoe-makers and my willingness to support good food producers does what? It drives the bad, inefficient maufacturers out of business and encourages the good ones to expand their operations. The textile workers who lose their jobs get employed in the food processing industry. Is that so bad?

    As Lee Kuan Yu said about Singapore :"Why should we have a domestic toothpaste manufacturing industry if we can buy the stuff cheaper from overseas?"

  • Stephanus

    More by Mr Lee:

    "After the war, it was fashionable for many newly independent countries to try and become self-sufficient. There were several theories around at that time advanced by Latin American economies to say that if you allow these multinationals in, you’re being exploited by them, they exploit your natural resources, your labour and so on, and you are then impoverished. So, they started trying to own their own steel mills, their own petrochemicals et cetera, and they did not succeed. We tried that route and made our own toothpaste, mosquito sticks and a few other simple products and decided if we continued along that path, we would all die of starvation.

    "So we decided, let’s do the practical thing. If this company is the world champion in this product, it’s going to beat other companies, well, let’s get them here, 100 per cent owned by them, they make use of us, we educated our people who became factory floor operators, then supervisors, then accountants, then managers, engineers and that’s how we got here. By the late 1970s, the others around the region decided that we were right and they started copying us. Now, China has decided, yes, it is right, so they are sucking in all the investments that’s coming to East Asia -- 70 per cent of all the investments coming to East Asia now is going into China -- and it’s the fastest way to learn to develop your own capabilities and your infrastructure and later on, the capital to buy more machines and invent new ones. So, whether it’s localisation, regionalisation or globalisation, you come back to, how many links can you forge with the rest of the world and make yourself relevant to the most number of people in this world, and if you do that, you’ll succeed."


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