Okay, this article is very thought-provoking, and I may have put it in the wrong forum (possibly Global Meltdown would be better?) but from my point
of view, it's a social issue on a massive scale.
This guy Brooks is claiming that the re-circulation of second hand clothes in African countries is preventing them from becoming 'industrialized'
because it crowds out the textile entrepreneurs and designers there.
In the beginning, it appears to be a win-win situation for everyone involved; Western charities receive much-needed revenue, African buyers with
weak purchasing power get low-priced, well-made clothing, and merchants find eager customers for their merchandise.
But some experts say that the mass influx of cheap hand-me-downs from the West could have a much more negative impact.
"The long-term effect is that countries such as Malawi or Mozambique or Zambia can't really establish or protect their own clothing industries if they
are importing second-hand goods," says Andrew Brooks, lecturer at King's College London and co-author of a study called "Unravelling the Relationships
between Used-Clothing Imports and the Decline of African Clothing Industries."
"Your t-shirt may be quite cheap for someone to buy, but it would be better if that person could buy a locally manufactured t-shirt, so the money
stays within the economy and that helps generate jobs," he adds.
I mulled this idea over for a while before posting it, because it bothers me and I'm not sure what to make of it.
I personally believe in reuse and recycling of existing products BEFORE manufacturing new goods. Whether it's a moratorium on construction of 'new'
buildings until all of the OLD buildings are either occupied or dissambled for reuse of the materials, or restaurants throwing out perfectly good food
rather than providing it to the hungry, or clothing donated to Goodwill and Planet Earth-type collections.
I frequently shop at thrift stores myself - right here in the USA, because you CAN find good quality clothing at very cheap prices - and I can't
justify paying $80 for a frikking pair of jeans, and I find it impossible to reconcile how some items, such as are advertised in 'Town and Country'
magazine, or those other high-class mags that show fashions that are priced in the thousands for a pair of shoes or one sweater.
I don't know ANYONE who can afford that kind of clothing, but apparently there are (and I presume they are the 1% and their off-spriing who wouldn't
be caught dead in a thrift store).
The alternative, of course, is cheap crap made in China or other 3rd world places that they sell at Walmart, K-Mart, etc. which happens to be UGLY as
well, and made of flimsy material that wears out after 2 or 3 months of wear.
The article mentions that if the West stopped providing second-hand clothes, then Chinese cheap crapola would take it's place. Fair enough. But if
the people can't afford anything else, they can't afford anything else.
The vendors of these second-hand clothes are profiting from selling them, and that does
contribute to the economy, and it does
locals to be clothed at affordable prices.
So, I don't know what to make of this. Perhaps limit the 'export' of used goods, and keep it all domestic?
The issue of double/triple/infinite taxation when an item is resold is also a problem. I don't think garage sales should be outlawed or taxes paid on
What do you guys think about this?
The conclusion of the article:
Brooks says that whilst used t-shirts, jeans and dresses can satisfy a basic need for affordable clothing, they ultimately help keep people in
"Second-hand clothing maintains the status quo," he says. "It doesn't help the poor get richer, it just keeps things as they are at the moment."
So what is better? Using what we build and manufacture until it no longer serves, and being frugal and not a consumer-driven society? Do the
economists think it's better to just throw the stuff in the landfill instead? Leave the blight in ghettos standing and/or abandoned?
The 'disposable' mentality of the West is wasteful and has a lot to do with the problems we have now.
That's why people buy Japanese-made cars instead of domestic crap that is "planned obsolesence."
Interested in your views on the issue. Please keep in mind I'm no economist, nor am I 'fine' with outsourcing or importing of labor, goods, jobs,
services. What am I missing here? I get the part about jobs for making new things, but what is a decent compromise for the global population?
edit on 12-4-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)