reply to post by GrantedBail
The decline in manufacture of goods in the ENTIRE western world, has contributed to the situation as it stands. A well known, cut price clothing
chain in the UK called Primark has been connected with the factory which collapsed, as well as being lambasted in the past by various organisations,
for its use of manufacturing firms which do not give thier workers decent pay, nor protect thier work place safety.
And its important to realise that this is utterly the fault of the way a growth based economy works, on a decade by decade basis. In the UK we used
to have a vibrant textile products market, and manufacturing to match. Entire towns would ring with the sound of industrial sewing machines, weaving
machinery, the whole bit. And I am not talking about during the industrial revolution, but during the last century.
But, due to the fact that increased international trade caused increased competition, a number of things were done by various companies, to offset
thier costs, so that they could keep high street prices affordable, or at least so they could still make VAST profits on goods sold. Because British
workers demand (and rightly so) a good wage for the work they do, this pushed the manufacturing firms to move thier operations else where, or in some
cases to sub contract them to foriegn firms completely, because workers in the developing world, were happy to work for next to nothing by our
standards, under worse conditions and therefore costing less all round to the companies for whom they were working.
Also, both the raw materials and finished products having stopped being produced in the UK and Europe meant that the overall price of production per
unit fell so much, that it changed the way that not only manufacturers, but consumers looked at clothing. Primark particularly, used to sell clothing
so damned cheaply, that the consumer began to feel less proprietary about thier clothing. When a hole appeared in a seam, where one would normally
head for the needle and thread, it was down to the high street we go to replace the whole garment. At one point, I remember going in there, and buying
socks for less money than the needle and thread would have cost to fix my old ones.
This meant that a company which should have had to be MUCH smaller to continue to make profits, was able to continue to have a massive international
footprint, while retaining cheap high street prices, therefore making thier products appealing to a massive market, while essentially creating the
throwaway garment, and a whole new consumer ethos where clothing was concerned.
However, that came with a price, and it has now become more widely known that companies like Primark, and even many of the larger, more expensive
clothing retailers, were using products made by what amounted to sweat shop labour. Now, while I am more than aware that the behavior of the retailers
and manufacturers toward thier employees with regard to saftey is deplorable, from a pure, cold, mathematical and economical point of view, they
really didnt have a choice in the matter.
The moment a cheaper workforce became available too them, they had a responsibility to those who had invested in thier company, to create GROWTH, and
to continue to create it. They had no choice, it was a legal responsibility, because without growth, ones stocks plummet, and ones shareholders get
angry, and one soon finds oneself out on ones ear. Growth based economies are BOUND to fail, because eventually price pressures force either quality
to fail, or force the work out of those economies anyway, like the change from British manufacture of products for British markets, to the current
state of affairs, where the only thing you can assume about any product bought in the western world, is that it is highly unlikely to have been built
in its entirety, in the country from which it was purchased!
Wether you are talking about China, India, Bangladesh, or any other nation which offers Western businesses cheap labour, it is the obsession with
growth, rather than stablility in economy these days, which drives the externalisation of costs, and if we really want an end to these appalling
circumstances, then the way we think about economy in the West much change. Without that root change, there will be no reason for companies to employ
people in proper working conditions, or to pay them an honest days pay, because the same forces which saw them elect to use cheap labour elsewhere,
will still be in place.
edit on 27-4-2013 by TrueBrit because: Spelling and grammar correction (I probably did not get them all. Sorry