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‘The Deadly Cost of Fashion’

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#1
nebula

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Sorry to be posting this today, but I happened to come across it this morning.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The Opinion Pages

 

 

‘The Deadly Cost of Fashion’

APRIL 14, 2014

 

Last April 24, Ismail Ferdous, my co-director on this Op-Doc video, photographed the deadliest disaster in garment industry history: the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 workers and injured around 2,500.

 

His images capture not only the raw destruction and shattered lives, but also the citizen volunteers who worked tirelessly to help rescue victims in the rubble. In the video, he speaks candidly about the trauma of photographing the collapse, where the smell of dead bodies filled the air.

 

A year later, we explore the uncomfortable question: How does the Rana Plaza collapse relate to the lives of Americans? Much more than you might think. Companies and brands associated with factories in Rana Plaza include Joe Fresh, Mango, Walmart, J.C. Penney and The Children’s Place (though it’s unclear whether all of these had active manufacturing there at the time of the collapse). Some of the clothing labels that he photographed in the rubble can also be found in Manhattan stores.

 

While Americans are fond of low prices for clothing, some are possible only because workers in Bangladesh (among other countries) toil in sweatshops for meager wages, in dangerous conditions. This needs to change.

 

We have started the Cost of Fashion campaign to help bring fair compensation to victims of the Rana Plaza collapse and their families, and to encourage apparel companies to support safe working conditions. This Op-Doc is a prelude to a longer documentary that will explore the complexities and impacts of the global garment manufacturing industry.

 

http://www.nytimes.c...0088400000&_r=1

 

(**The embedded video has disturbing images.)



#2
Butero

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In some countries, people making meager wages is the difference in eating verses starving to death.  I don't feel like it is our place to meddle in the affairs of other nations when it comes to the wages they pay.  In addition to that, I don't support boycotts of stores that sell apparel made in nations with what are often referred to as "sweat shops."  People can mean well, but do more harm than good, and that is what I feel will be the result in our getting involved in Bangladesh.  I am fine with people sending money to help with assistance to those who suffered loss from this tragedy.  That is a good thing, but to meddle in the laws of that nation is something I would oppose.  We have enough problems in this country with an out of control government that desires to place more and more regulations on our businesses. 



#3
Taker

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I watched the video and it seemed vague. It seems to me that these women are being paid dirt in exchange for making millions of dollars worth of clothing. The companies that hire these workers want more and more of them but also pay less and less to their employees. This is great for the companies (extremely high profit margin) but terrible for the workers.

 

It sounds to me like the answer to this problem is this: The women need to stand up for themselves and stop working all-together until they get a fair wage and decent treatment. From the look of the beginning of this video, it would seem that these women have started to do this and are being beaten for it (although I can't be sure,).

 

To me, it seems that this video is trying to tug at your heart-strings and make you donate to a faceless charity without researching this issue more for yourself. I don't support the NY Times at all, I've critiqued one article that was published by the NY Times for my college composition class before. In my humble opinion, the NY Times is guilty of publishing biased material while masquerading as a credible source in order to influence the American populace.

 

Anyway, if these women boy-cot their jobs, eventually the corporations that sell their products will be forced to listen to their cries.

 

Matthew 10:28 Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul, instead; fear the one who can harm the body and soul in hell.



#4
nebula

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So, in the opinion of you guys, the greedy, vain materialism of our society has nothing to do with any of this?



#5
Butero

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So, in the opinion of you guys, the greedy, vain materialism of our society has nothing to do with any of this?

That's about the size of it. 



#6
clean

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The way I view it is that the west as a whole is not responsible for everything that every single western company does. We can certainly choose to boycott those specific companies.  If those companies are indeed oppressing the poor, I think that boycotting those companies by not shopping there would be a good idea. It generally helps local economies to buy as local as possible rather than buying everything from larger chain companies that manufacture the majority of their products overseas anyway. Recently the Hershey's chocolate company announced that it is switching to fair trade cocoa in the year 2020. That company has been boycotted and written to and emailed by such a large group of people in recent years who have been trying to get Hershey's to stop using human trafficking labor slavery in Africa. The Hershey's company finally caved to the pressure because so many people kept  contacting the company about it. So that proves that change can happen in large businesses even if it is just from lots of ongoing pressure by the business' own consumers. No government money or effort needed, just a lot of pressure from the consumers. The thing that really bothers me about the sweat shops in Bangladesh and China is that some of them lock people inside so they can't leave even in the event of a fire, earthquake, or gas leak. They companies involved should at least make sure that the people have the free will to leave if they want to or need to.

change.org is one website that make it easy to  contact companies directly yourself to try to get them to stop oppressing the poor. We certainly should love our neighbors and not just only look out for ourselves.



#7
Fez

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The more useless plastic and polyester "products" the west wants, the more these sweat shops will prosper the few who run them.

 

Take a look around your house and tell me you don't have some useless kitchen gadget or some other piece of stuff that you thought was a good idea at the time. Go to your clothing and look how much of it you have not/will not wear again.

 

We waste stuff, our greed is exploited, and thus the labor of the people in the sweatshops.



#8
Butero

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The article is just a propaganda piece.  The NY Times was exploiting a tragedy to stir people up against companies like Wal-Mart, and to make us feel guilty about buying cheap imports as opposed to items with the union label.  People are working for extremely low wages in other countries, barely getting by, but if you refuse to buy their products, it will mean they will go from barely getting by to starving.  It makes no sense to do that. 



#9
Tolken

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Nebula - So, in the opinion of you guys, the greedy, vain materialism of our society has nothing to do with any of this?

 

It has everything to do with it...and you will notice that although the labor costs are "dirt" cheap the prices in US retail do not reflect a reduction in cost. That we are so dismissive of this situation speaks to America's ambivalence to other peoples...are they not our neighbors?  



#10
Butero

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Nebula - So, in the opinion of you guys, the greedy, vain materialism of our society has nothing to do with any of this?

 

It has everything to do with it...and you will notice that although the labor costs are "dirt" cheap the prices in US retail do not reflect a reduction in cost. That we are so dismissive of this situation speaks to America's ambivalence to other peoples...are they not our neighbors?  

It can't be both ways.  Either we are getting clothing cheap because of sweat shops, or we are paying the same price we would if they were getting the U.S. minimum wage.  There is no question the price on the shelf is cheaper for clothing because it is manufactured in places without all the government regulations.  This helps poor families be able to make ends meet.  If all the clothes we had were made in the USA with today's minimum wage, clothing prices would be through the roof. 

 

Left wingers always want to stick their nose in other people's business.  Lets suppose they get their way and now you force a minimum wage on the people of Bangladesh.  That will put many of those people out of work, as we won't be buying their products, and all clothing prices will go up, making it hard for poor people in the U.S.  I don't believe we are helping anyone by interfering, and I will support no boycotts and will support no attempts to regulate Bangladesh or any other nation.  I will also continue to shop at Wal-Mart, and no amount of sob stories by liberals will make me change my shopping habits.  The last thing I want to do is help union leaders. 



#11
Qnts2

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It can't be both ways.  Either we are getting clothing cheap because of sweat shops, or we are paying the same price we would if they were getting the U.S. minimum wage.  There is no question the price on the shelf is cheaper for clothing because it is manufactured in places without all the government regulations.  This helps poor families be able to make ends meet.  If all the clothes we had were made in the USA with today's minimum wage, clothing prices would be through the roof. 

 

 

Left wingers always want to stick their nose in other people's business.  Lets suppose they get their way and now you force a minimum wage on the people of Bangladesh.  That will put many of those people out of work, as we won't be buying their products, and all clothing prices will go up, making it hard for poor people in the U.S.  I don't believe we are helping anyone by interfering, and I will support no boycotts and will support no attempts to regulate Bangladesh or any other nation.  I will also continue to shop at Wal-Mart, and no amount of sob stories by liberals will make me change my shopping habits.  The last thing I want to do is help union leaders. 

 

 

I had to do some reading to find out some of the issues in Bangladesh.  

 

The garment industry in Bangladesh provides for the largest exports and growth in that country. Bangladesh was a socialist system and failing but when the government allowed private businesses, it saw growth. The garment industry is also the largest employer of women. The second largest employer is the agricultural sector. Apparently agricultural/farming jobs pays extremely poorly compared to garment industry jobs.

 

I read an article which interviewed a woman who worked agricultural, and did not make enough money to feed her family. Her sister died in the building collapse, but this woman wished she could have had a job like her sister who sent money back to the family. Enough to feed the the one who died, her husband and children, her parents and siblings and their husbands. All of them on about $102 a month.  

 

So, the garment industry is doing wonders for Bangladesh, for women, and for the families. People will travel and live 150 miles from their families to get a job to have money to send home and these jobs are in very high demand. To get a garment industry job, they have to be able to read and write, (which is a big step for women in Bangladesh).  

There is definitely an issue with safety in the buildings. Some U.S. companies require minimum safety standards to award a contract to a factory there. Others do not.                 



#12
kwikphilly

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Blessings nebula...

     I tried to watch the video but it was unavailable to view,I suppose I have heard enough from everyone to have adequate information to form an opinion on the subject.Although it appears there are horrible work conditions at these "sweat shops",I would have to agree with Butero that it is better than no job opportunities at all..................these places are the only source of income provided for many many people living in countries like Bangladesh,so should they starve because Americans do not approve of how their gov't regulates codes & regulations?I don't have the answers that would provide & at the same time protect......

      I was never one to smile on providing jobs for people in other countries when that means taking away jobs for our own citizens,how do we be of any help to anyone if we are unable to help ourselves?I have to admit i have very mixed emotions when it comes to many foreign affairs.........It always seems to boil down to the same thing in America,the rich get richer & the poor get poorer

       Much prayer is needed,I would not go as far as boycotting any of these companies,I would need a lot more first hand knowledge before I took a stand that could devastate a people I know very little about who are already faced with horrors I have been so blessed to never have experienced......I think it would be great to live in a world where people made their own clothes & it was considered a basic necessity...instead of pride & vanity influencing an industry & turning it into a luxury.....Kids in America are made to feel they don't fit in when they are not wearing "designer labels" & the latest in fashion trend........there are so many things wrong with the way we think & our entire society,we need to change the way we think before we go trying to fix the rest of the world

                                                                                                                                 With love-in Christ,Kwik






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