April 30, 2013

"Extreme Pricing" — Joe Fresh and the building collapse in Bangladesh.

"How did they not know these factories were illegally made, with three extra floors shoddily added?... Did they not know about the fire in Tazreen in November, where 117 people died, mostly women? Nobody going into Bangladesh is naive. The only reason they’re there is so they can pay almost nothing. It was a death trap."
"These workers were mostly young women, and they were ordered into that factory... They didn’t want to go into work as there were already deep cracks in the walls the day before... They were driven into that building by people with clubs waiting to beat them up — gangsters and goons. They went in at 8:00am and the building collapsed at 9:00am."
Meanwhile, the retailer Joe Fresh has a branding problem. $19 jeans suddenly seem evil.

115 comments:

cubanbob said...

Meanwhile, the retailer Joe Fresh has a branding problem. $19 jeans suddenly seem evil.

They may suddenly seem evil but they will still sell.

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe the jeans will be worn by a young woman sipping a beer at the Mifflin Street block party who will worry about whether she's not only causing children to miss out on summer camp in Madison but also causing buildings to crush women in Bangladesh.

Mitchell the Bat said...

I'd recommend auctioning off the bloodiest jeans for charity.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Concrete distressed denim!

The Drill SGT said...

26 cents an hour for a 70 hour week is about $1,000 a year. The WB says that: The World Bank reports that in 2001 per capita household consumption (in constant 1995 US dollars) was $293. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings.

If an average family lives on $300 a year, then that wage ($1,000), though a poor one by our standards looks (upper?) middle class for a local...



The Drill SGT said...

The problem to me is corruption and building codes, not wages that though low by world standards are likely damn good jobs for a bangli'

john said...

I'm shocked.
Shocked.

AprilApple said...

“Joe Fresh has enforceable laws to protect their trademark,” he said. “There needs to be a similar law to protect the rights of the worker. The label is protected. The worker is not.”

He doesn’t hold out much hope for an overhaul of the garment industry in Bangladesh anytime soon, citing the 2012 murder of labor activist Aminul Islam. Two years before that, workers went on strike, but were beaten, attacked, and shot with rubber bullets by police.

Their gripe? Whey wanted a raise, up to 30 cents an hour from 26 cents, to make cheap clothes like $19 jeans.



Shameful.

I won't buy cheap crap from Old Navy or stores like Old Navy, or this Joe Fresh. (who I have never heard of until now.)
I wonder if we will hear from American Leftist Feminists on this issue?

campy said...

Nothing a few million in campaign $ to democrats can't cure.

AprilApple said...

It's anything for a cheap pair of ______.
It's gross.

Pogo said...

How awful!

Only $19 you say?

Ann Althouse said...

"I won't buy cheap crap from Old Navy or stores like Old Navy, or this Joe Fresh."

I think we are all buying clothing that is amazingly cheap, whether it's that cheap or not. It's incredible how low-priced clothing is.

The important thing is for those companies to step up and make sure that the conditions in the factories are not too low.

The harm to this Joe Fresh brand is a good lesson. It will be much more expensive to you if something like that disaster happens than if you proactively attend to the conditions in the workplace.

john said...

26 cents an hour for a 70 hour week is about $1,000 a year.

And if this girl could get another 30 hours a week overtime, would push it up over $1300 a year.

They probably want a day a week off too, not realizing how impossible that is while working 3600+ hours a year. (Those girls are undoubtedly also stealing jeans.)

Eventually employers have to put their foot (or ceiling) down.

AprilApple said...

Ann I agree. I'm certain we all have items in our closets that were made by women in horrid conditions. This incident, I hope, will force us all to take a moment to reflect on our choices. Yes, safe working conditions are a baseline, and American purchasers need to step up.
I hope American consumers will add pressure and not ignore the issue.


(-I actually purchase jeans from a company in America. I have to pay a lot for them, but I don't care.
I cut back in other ways.)

Shanna said...

If an average family lives on $300 a year, then that wage ($1,000), though a poor one by our standards looks (upper?) middle class for a local...

This argument was used many times in our business ethics classes. If you start paying factory workers more than doctors, what will you do to the local economy?

This story is about more than that, though, especially if there really were armed guards and of course all the issues with the building. Even if you continue to pay less in these countries than you would here, you can make sure your factories are built and maintained properly, if only to avoid bad press.

Pogo said...

much more expensive to you if something like that disaster happens than if you proactively attend to the conditions in the workplace."

Unlikely to happen, at a minimum, very difficult.

Elsewhere in Pak and India, rug weavers have had similar work condition problems. You'd be amazed how successful local contractors are at skirting corporate rules, even on-site inspections.

It's worth trying, but recognize how unlike our nation they are. They are barely at the US standards circa 1890, when we had similar problems.

Shanna said...

I won't buy cheap crap from Old Navy or stores like Old Navy, or this Joe Fresh. (who I have never heard of until now.)

The problem with this is that unless you buy one of the very very few brands that are still made in america, it is next to impossible to know the conditions on the ground. The cheap stuff and the (semi) expensive stuff are made in the same places, they just charge more for some of it.

Hagar said...

Additional laws are not going to help if no one is paying attention to the laws they already have.
It seems to me this is a Bangladesh problem.

Reminds of the Bhopal disaster. Union Carbide got the blame, but the plant was 51% local government owned and run by their rules. It has never been determined, as far as I know, whether the disaster was due to lax discipline and shoddy maintenance or outright sabotage.

Pogo said...

The real emotional error comes in refusing to purchase such clothes.

A man I once knew from Thailand pointed out that when their region's tennis shoe factories caused international scandals, they were closed down.

The wages were lost and the child workers often went into the sex trade. Same thing occurred to the child rug weavers.

Life is terrible for many, but it can be made worse. Quite a dilemma, isn't it?

LoafingOaf said...

I won't buy cheap crap from Old Navy or stores like Old Navy, or this Joe Fresh. (who I have never heard of until now.)

If someone wants to buy dirt cheap clothes, you can go to a thrift store. There's a big thrift store here in Cleveland where females can get pretty cool looking jeans for a lot less than 19 bucks. Just saying, if people need clothes and have little money to spend....

Hagar said...

I am presently wearing a pair of "Rustler" jeans, bought at Walmart and made in Mexico, that appear to be the exact same cut and quality as my last pair of "Levi's," also made in Mexico.
The "Rustler's" were priced at $10.97/pair, the "Levi's" at $39/pair plus S&H.

Hagar said...

And Mexico can probably be described as "2nd world" if not "1 1/2 world" by now.

Robert Cook said...

What's going on in these Indian sweatshops reminds us of what capitalism in its raw state comes down to, capitalism unchecked by stringent government oversight and regulation. The "free market" is an enslaver and killer of humans.

(When the elites tout the virtues of a "free market," they do not mean a free, even playing ground of competing commercial interests driving each other to provide the best products or services at the best prices; they mean a market free of regulatory inhibitions on their doing business however the fuck they please, even if that means physically forcing people to work for starvation wages in settings and conditions that are murderous to their lives.)

Johnny Rotten sang about taking "a cheap holiday in other people's misery". We don't need to holiday in other people's misery...we take for granted as our right a standard of living that is only made possible by les miserables, whom we never see or scarcely dare imagine.

edutcher said...

The only thing cheaper than the jeans are the lives that make them, it would seem.

Larry J said...

The Drill SGT said...
If an average family lives on $300 a year, then that wage ($1,000), though a poor one by our standards looks (upper?) middle class for a local...


My wife is a (legal) immigrant. She tells me that in her country, those "sweat shops" are often the best jobs available. While the pay is low by US standards, those jobs often pay very well by local standards.

The problem to me is corruption and building codes, not wages that though low by world standards are likely damn good jobs for a bangli'

That's often a big problem in poor countries. If they have any building standards at all, a few well placed bribes make them go away. Corruption is endemic across all levels of government. As bad as corruption is here, we haven't reached that point just yet.

They're working on it, though.

AprilApple said...

There is also the problem of blue waste water.

Mexico and China too.

Hagar said...

Cookie,
What is the official denomination of the ruling party in Bangladesh?

In the U.S.?

cold pizza said...

I'll take cheap clothes made by capitalists (who pay what the market allows for workers) over cheap clothes made by communists using slave (prison) labor where the worker's alternative is a bullet to the back of the head.

This game is fun--anyone can play!

-CP

AprilApple said...

Robert- Capitalism isn't a form of government. It's a system of commerce.
It's the free exchange of goods and services without government coercion.

Like anything - capitalism can be twisted and corrupted by greedy people. Not all people are greedy.

Socialism and Communism are systems of government. Systems that are historically proven to be cruel failures based wholly on greed by the few at the top taking advantage of the many at the bottom - by coercion.

Pogo said...

@Cook

In Capitalism, man exploits man.
Under socialism, it's the other way around!

AprilApple said...

Life is terrible for many, but it can be made worse. Quite a dilemma, isn't it?
Indeed

Often these countries are poor dictatorial shit-holes without constitutions.

Colonel Angus said...

What's going on in these Indian sweatshops reminds us of what capitalism in its raw state comes down to, capitalism unchecked by stringent government oversight and regulation. The "free market" is an enslaver and killerof humans.

The free market has created an era of unprecedented prosperity that humanity never before experienced.

Charlie said...

I wear Levis everyday and I have no idea where they are made. Am I supposed to check everything out?

Marshal said...

Robert Cook said...
What's going on in these Indian sweatshops reminds us of what capitalism in its raw state comes down to, capitalism unchecked by stringent government oversight and regulation. The "free market" is an enslaver and killer of humans.


Luckily government has a near-perfect record of enslavement and killing humans. We should put them in charge.

AprilApple said...

If only we could walk around in our hemp made cruelty free dye free underwear.

AprilApple said...

I take it back, my blue jeans from Cold Water Creek are made in China. My nice and expensive "Not Your Daughter's Jeans" are proudly made in America.
I'm not sure where that gross dye ends up.

cold pizza said...

"If only we could walk around in our hemp-made-cruelty, free dye, free underwear" FIFY. -CP

Colonel Angus said...

Luckily government has a near-perfect record of enslavement and killing humans. We should put them in charge.

I do find it curious that the same person that demands stringent government oversight and regulation simultaneously bemoans the fact that an all powerful government oppresses and restricts rights.

Robert Cook said...

"I do find it curious that the same person that demands stringent government oversight and regulation simultaneously bemoans the fact that an all powerful government oppresses and restricts rights."

I believe you're confusing Marshall's having quoted me with me saying what he said.

AprilApple said...

CP-
Free Obamaunderwear.
It's my right to free underwear!

Pogo said...

Cook seems to think that buying-and-selling equals Capitalism.

Not quite, and not nearly.

ALP said...

"I think we are all buying clothing that is amazingly cheap, whether it's that cheap or not. It's incredible how low-priced clothing is."
**********************
And if that doesn't sink in - try and MAKE some clothing - then charge yourself your home state's minimum wage for your time plus materials. I grew up with a mother that sewed most of her clothing, and have made knit clothing items that started as dirty fleece. The sheer amount of labor that goes into a well made sweater, button up shirt, or jacket - compared to cheap machine made - astounding. We have gone from owning a few well made, cherished items to closets full of crap clothing that wears out way too soon.

My own sibling disgusts me with the massive amount of clothing she owns - so much that the overflow has to be stored at my parent's house! If you need an extra single-family dwelling for your clothing overflow - you have TOO MUCH! This phenomenon would not be possible if it were not for so much cheap-ass clothing. NOBODY needs that much crap!

Seeing Red said...

So it's capitalism's fault the Bangladeshi government sold their people into slavery?

Cookie really loves the hunter-gatherer society, doesn't he?



Hmmm, maybe a refresher course on Nike & Viet Nam (?) is in order.

n.n said...

Robert Cook:

Capitalism in its monopoly form under communism, socialism, fascism, and other left-wing regimes is worse.

It's competing interests which keep honest people honest and others from running amuck.

There is a reason why left-wing regimes are responsible for the death of more human lives in less time than any other form of government. They are incredibly efficient and corrupt.

Colonel Angus said...

I believe you're confusing Marshall's having quoted me with me saying what he said.

No. I've seen plenty of your comments that advocates for greater government control yet condemn government for being corrupt. It might come as a shock to you but that's what happens when government becomes too powerful and too 'stringent' in regulating everything from building codes to the size of soda cups.

ALP said...

I do remember, vividly, the arguments I would have with my mother when she would take me shopping for new clothes for school (late 1960's, early 1970's). They would go like this:

Mom: "Wouldn't you rather have two $10 shirts for $20?"

Me (stomping feet): "NO! I want one $20 shirt!"

Even back then I preferred quality over quantity. And to think my own mother, an accomplished seamstress, was a part of the downhil slide! Well that tears it, I am just going to have to rethink this year's Mother's Day gift.

Emil Blatz said...

C'mon, Napoor, money talks and bullshit walks! If you are willing to do this deal right now, I'll throw in an additional three, not two or just one, top floors for bupkes. Whaddaya say?

[This would be the "free top floor(s)" close. Remember, always be closing!]

Robert Cook said...

Kernel,

I certainly condemn government usurpation of the people's power, as our government is supposed to be a representative republic, and the lawmakers are to be held as answerable to the law just as we are.

However, the people must hold the government to rein; if we don't, the ambitious and greedy will rush in, and those with the money to buy the services of the ambitious and greedy will, as they have today, take control of the government away from the people.

Does this mean I think there should be no government? No. Do you think there should be no government?

Assuming you are not an anarchist, you do believe in some form of government. So, then...how would you organize government differently? How could you guarantee that the government set up according to your precepts would not be subject to the same corrupting influences as ours is today? How would you prevent the usurpation of the people's power in your vision of government by those who are hungry for power and riches?

I believe a government answerable to the people and working for us, in our behalf, and holding capitalists to strict rule of law is the only solution to the tyranny of the oligarchs, which is what we have now.

furious_a said...

The "free market" is an enslaver and killer of humans.

Can't hold a candle to the actual slave labor camps still in operation in China and N. Korea run by New Socialist Men like Cookie.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Robert Cook said...

What's going on in these Indian sweatshops...

These Bangladeshi Indian sweatshops?

n.n said...

ALP:

In Russia, we had a saying: we are not so rich that we can afford to buy cheap things. The underlying principle is that people should treat life, relationships, economy, etc. as an investment.

Robert Cook said...

IIB,

Excuse my error; yes, in these "Bangladeshi" sweatshops....

No doubt the horrors are similar in Indian sweatshops.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I believe a government answerable to the people and working for us, in our behalf, and holding capitalists to strict rule of law is the only solution to the tyranny of the oligarchs, which is what we have now

The old economist joke whose punchline was "assume we have a can opener" would have been better aimed at the anti-economists.

edutcher said...

Somebody tell Cook Inja is a very Socialist country.

furious_a said...

and holding capitalists to strict rule of law is the only solution to the tyranny of the oligarchs...


Comedy gold, although Dennis the Peasant had a much better command of the jargon.

John said...

My parents in law grew in what were not much more than grasshuts without electric or running water. My father in law in the 30's and 40's was a sugar cane cutter. 12 hour days, when he worked, swinging a machete.

Then GE came and put in a plant where they worked from about 1950-1980 at not much more than whatever the minimum wage was at any given time.

Their kids grew up in a concrete house (a big deal in the tropics). That horrible sweatshop and pittance wages put 5 kids through college who became teachers, an engineer a CPA and a couple govt workers.

Their grandchildren are doctors, engineers, CPA's, architects among other good skilled careers.

Such a shame they had to work in that sweatshop for 35 years. They would have been much better off had Don Tomas stayed in the cane fields.

As several others have pointed out, those horrible sweatshops often represent, by far, the best available jobs and the best chance for improving one's life and one's children's life.

John Henry

John said...

BTW: Having said all that about sweatshops, I do agree that 1) Joe Fresh is responsible for providing a reasonably safe working condition and 2) the govt is responsible for enforcing their own building codes.

John Henry

John said...

Someone else mentioned Bhopal:

When the plant was originally built, there was a 3 (IIRC) mile radius around the plant where the govt agreed to prevent anyone from living. It was supposed to stay farmland. This was to provide a safety buffer for precisely this possibility.

The Indian (or local) govt did not enforce this and over UC's objections the area became built up.

Guess where most of the casualties occurred.

John Henry

Robert Cook said...

As several others have pointed out, those horrible sweatshops often represent, by far, the best available jobs and the best chance for improving one's life and one's children's life."

A pretty damning indictment of the cruel realities of capitalist wage slavery, when, even as machete cutters "improve" their lives by moving into concrete huts, the capitalists live in plush luxury on the money not paid to the laborers.

This is why many fought--and died--to establish labor unions, which righted the balance a smidgen for a few decades. The unions are defeated now, and the "jobs creators" are hastening with alacrity to put the "slavery" back into "wage slavery."

Seeing Red said...

Great idea, Cookie, except for 1 problem - humans.

Get around that......

Ignorance is Bliss said...

A pretty damning indictment of the cruel realities of capitalist wage slavery, when, even as machete cutters "improve" their lives by moving into concrete huts, the capitalists live in plush luxury on the money not paid to the laborers.

Yes, it would be so much better if everyone was destitute.

AprilApple said...

In America we have capitalism with massive government control. So much government control that in places like Arvada Colorado (a suburb of Denver) you have total local government corruption.
Try and do business with the city of Arvada and they WILL shake you down.

Alex said...

The fundamental problem with capitalism is who owns the capital and was it ill gotten? What about the rest of us who do not own capital?

Colonel Angus said...

Assuming you are not an anarchist, you do believe in some form of government. So, then...how would you organize government differently?

I think the foundation that the colonists created works well when its limited to guaranteeing the basics, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Once you start demanding a do it all government, its elected officials become beholden to any interest group that can pay for influence. This includes GE, Goldman Sachs to AARP and the Sierra Club.

Your idealism is admirable but human nature will not permit the giant benevolent government you desire.

Robert Cook said...

"In America we have capitalism with massive government control."

You mean: the capitalists massively control (own) government.

Robert Cook said...

"Yes, it would be so much better if everyone was destitute."

That's where we're heading, bub, if the capitalists have their way...and they usually do.

Alex said...

Cook - you do like to view the world through disaster-tinted glasses.

Alex said...

Cook - are you one of those prepers?

Colonel Angus said...

A pretty damning indictment of the cruel realities of capitalist wage slavery,

I'll ask you. I have my own business and employ several people who are paid a wage. How much of my annual profit (assuming there is one) am I supposed to hand out the workers? As the owner how much am I entitled to keep?

Alex said...

One of the pre-conditions for capitalism is the rule of law, contract enforcement. Do such things exist in Bangladesh? I suspect that country operates on bribery of government officials.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Robert Cook said...

That's where we're heading, bub, if the capitalists have their way...and they usually do.

What do you mean we? I'm not heading that way. My children are not heading that way. Almost nobody in this country is heading that way unless they make obviously bad life choices, like having children out of wedlock, using drugs or abusing alcohol, going deep into debt to get a college degree that will not pay for itself, or living beyond their means, even though they have enough means to live better than most people throughout most of history.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook - are you one of those prepers?" (sic)

No.

But I don't think they're crazy.

Robert Cook said...

IIB,

If we don't somehow stop the predations of the global capitalist class, almost everyone in this country will be facing destitution, privation, and want as we move further into the 21st Century.

A good number of us are already there.

Robert Cook said...

"One of the pre-conditions for capitalism is the rule of law, contract enforcement. Do such things exist in Bangladesh? I suspect that country operates on bribery of government officials."

A good question. A gooder one is:

Do we have these things here, in a meaningful sense?

Colonel Angus said...

If we don't somehow stop the predations of the global capitalist class, almost everyone in this country will be facing destitution, privation, and want as we move further into the 21st Century.

Actually its not the capitalist class but the big government, entitlement spending class that is literally spending nations, including ours into oblivion. Two thirds of our Federal budget is on entitlements and warfare and we are still borrowing at a rate of a trillion dollars a year.

That will be our demise.

Robert Cook said...

"I'll ask you. I have my own business and employ several people who are paid a wage. How much of my annual profit (assuming there is one) am I supposed to hand out the workers? As the owner how much am I entitled to keep?"

Kernel, that question has one set of possible answers if you're talking about yourself, a small businessman, than if you're talking about the rapacious multinational corporations that are eating up small business and whose decisions as to what they'll pay their workers are based on entirely other considerations than the small businessman's.

Seeing Red said...

The world is just reverting to the way it was, except that now they'll have cell phones and national health care.

Sorry it's not fast enough for you, Cookie.

furious_a said...

A pretty damning indictment of the cruel realities of capitalist wage slavery,

Yes, it would have been better for Don Tomas to have remained a subsistence-level canefueld stoop laborer because...

1>he would have died poor...er..
pure and exploited, and...
2>g-d forbid some gringo capitalist made a buck off his employment.

In Cookie's cartoonish, dystopian world, life's a pizza, and if Sir Top'em Hat scores a slice then everyone else is.left to fight over the delivery box.

Alex said...

Seeing - it's not reverting. If anything the world continues to advance, inch by bloody inch. You should be more optimistic.

Alex said...

Lefties hate wage slaves in 3rd world factories. But they never consider the alternate fates of those people - working in the fields or prostitution.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Waitaminnit. If "the capitalists massively control (own) government" in the US, where are all these building inspectors coming from?

furious_a said...

Lefties hate wage slaves in 3rd world factories.

They hate them as they simulaneously employ interns in their Senate offices and non-profit headquarters at $0/hour.

Seeing Red said...

Advancing to the rear on some things.

Cell phones & robots, but man is man unless we lobotomize and let our betters take care of us.

tim said...


Someone in this industry is very close to me and travels all over the world to these factories, China, Honduras, Bangladesh, India, you name it. His business is to certify what comes out of the factory (waste) by what is being used on the front end. He just got back from a trip to China, he gets to see the actual country and not the visitor version, he says by far and away the worst is China. Communist.

Communist. Not capitalist.

The way he made his point to me was, he described the airport announcement about baby formula. Remember the deaths from Chinese baby formula? Apparently people are attempting to smuggle in American baby formula and the announcement at the airport is about how it is against the rules to bring in over a certain amount. He was in a meeting over there with government officials and the factory owners about how they do their business and he told them (para) "it doesn't matter what I say here, if the country is so corrupt that you kill your babies, it doesn't matter what goes in a waste stream."

Again not capitalist.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The fundamental problem with capitalism is who owns the capital and was it ill gotten? What about the rest of us who do not own capital?

Get up off of your ass and work to obtain your own capital. Join forces with other like minded people who will work, invent, buy, sell and leverage themselves into being capitalists.

Robert Cook said...

"Lefties hate wage slaves in 3rd world factories. But they never consider the alternate fates of those people - working in the fields or prostitution."

Or paying them more for the work they do.

Julie C said...

I've heard people make nasty comments about those of us who buy made in America jeans, which can cost upwards of $100. We're frivolous you see.

And then of course if you buy cheap foreign jeans you are supporting slave labor and bad construction.

Could someone tell me how much I'm allowed to spend on my jeans please? In order to stay in the good graces of the jeans police?

Methadras said...

Robert Cook said...

"Lefties hate wage slaves in 3rd world factories. But they never consider the alternate fates of those people - working in the fields or prostitution."

Or paying them more for the work they do.


They are getting paid for the work that they do. It's just not up to your level of wage. Is that what you are crying like a girl about? If this bothers you so much, then why don't you go over to Bangladesh and demand that these people make more money for the work that they do, that you think they should be paid more for. Then we will wait, oh say, a couple of weeks or a month or so and watch the unintended consequences of your aberrant foolishness. Let me know when I should begin to outline to you what will happen? I think you know, but your ideology won't let you care since it is that ideology that is really the problem.

William said...

We had the Triangle Shirt fire here in NYC. It is commemorated with a brass plaque on what is now the NYU campus. It was pretty horrendous. I believe it led to new fire safety regulations and stricter enforcement of them. I'm certain the same thing will happen there. The workers will continue to get screwed but they will not be forced to work in death traps. Capitalism is infinitely greedy, but it is not infinitely cruel, as, for instance, we have seen is the fate of workers under Communism.

Methadras said...

Alex said...

The fundamental problem with capitalism is who owns the capital and was it ill gotten? What about the rest of us who do not own capital?


For a moment there I confused you for Cookie. The problem is, is your idea that you think this is a fundamental problem. It isn't a problem to own capital. You're idea that it was ill gotten is another error on your part. If you want capital, go make your own. Hang your own money out there on risk to produce it. Get back to me when you've succeeded and stop crying like such a child about what you don't have.

Alex said...

Meth - but how is it valid to try and create a new business out of $25K when the Googles of the world are throwing around billions? It's a pointless farce.

Alex said...

Cook - you hated it when America invaded Iraq and engaged in "nation building". You said we had no right to violate Iraqi sovereignty. However you seem to be advocating for us to invade Bangladesh and impose our values.

Colonel Angus said...

Kernel, that question has one set of possible answers if you're talking about yourself, a small businessman, than if you're talking about the rapacious multinational corporations that are eating up small business and whose decisions as to what they'll pay their workers are based on entirely other considerations than the small businessman's.

What considerations are those? My main goal is to grow my business and maximize my profits. That is typically the goal of any business, including 'rapacious multinational corporations'.

The wages I pay are commensurate with the going rate for the particular labor I require. Paying less means I can make more profit but face the greater risk of having an unreliable workforce. Pay too much and I price myself out of business. The key is finding the sweet spot.

Now if some 'rapacious multinational corporation' would like to come buy my business I would be happy to entertain an offer :-)

Now if we pass a law that ban imports of 'sweatshop' clothes, that's fine and dandy. Just don't complain when our 'poor' suddenly find themselves not being able to afford clothes.

AllenS said...

You know what's worse for those people having that sweatshop in Bangladesh? Not having that sweatshop in Bangladesh.

Methadras said...

Alex said...

Meth - but how is it valid to try and create a new business out of $25K when the Googles of the world are throwing around billions? It's a pointless farce.


If there is a will there is a way. I know people that have successful business that started with less. They took the risks, they leveraged, begged, and borrowed, spent all day and all night making their business work. They toiled and worked and saved and made it happen. That was them putting in the time, putting in the effort, putting in the work, putting in the risk.

This country was built by people like that. It isn't a pointless farce and even Google started with nothing. Hell, some people work so that Google can throw billions their way. Don't be so fatalistic about it. Some people have it, some people don't I suppose, but if you think it's a suckers bet, you will get taken.

Rusty said...

Once again comrade Bob beclowns himself.

Rusty said...


The fundamental problem with capitalism is who owns the capital and was it ill gotten? What about the rest of us who do not own capital?

Then get some.
What?
You think capital is just money?
You'd be wrong.

garage mahal said...

You know what's worse for those people having that sweatshop in Bangladesh? Not having that sweatshop in Bangladesh.

300 dead. I think I'd pass on working there. Would you work there?

ed said...

@ edutcher

The only thing cheaper than those jeans is a lesson in morality by Cook.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

garage mahal said...

300 dead. I think I'd pass on working there. Would you work there?

No, because I have better options. If I lived there then I probably would, because it would likely be the best option available.

Ignorance is Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

The vices attendant on the pursuit of money are limited. That building owner is a nasty piece of work, but if you offered him a million dollars to plant a bomb at the Bhopal Marathon, my guess is that he would refuse. Greed is far from the most blood driven vice. If you really want to slaughter people by the thousands, you need social idealists or the truly godly.

Roux said...

Who is Joe Fresh?

n.n said...

Dust Bunny Queen:

Join forces with other like minded people who will work, ...

That would require cooperation (e.g. incorporation) or community organization. Most people can neither cooperate nor organize, which is why the world has a large worker's class.

They also cannot form capital because they are incapable of self-moderating behavior and cannot forgo luxury goods and services, are unwilling to work the extra job or shift, or fail to invest in their primary asset: children.

Kirk Parker said...

Cookie,

"Do we have these things here, in a meaningful sense? "

I certainly do where I live, doofus. Sorry if you're spent your life in some mobville or other...

Aaron said...

They could make the jeans in Cambodia or China. Labor is cheap there too. The labor cost is already a small component of a price of jeans. I am not sure there is some HUGE cost savings that Althouse seems to think there is by moving production to Bangladesh. Yes, there is some. But China also has buildings collapse.

I also wonder if there are still textile quotas from GATT. Those are government imposed import quotas that were designed to force buyers to move some orders to countries like Bangladesh rather than simply let them place all their orders in China.

Aaron said...

The problem is not poverty in Bangladesh. Nor cheap clothing, nor low wages.

The problem was the state did not regulate the building correctly.

Textile factory owners are not specialists in building codes, nor should they be. That is the builder, and the owner, and the government inspector's jobs.

Forcing people into those factories is bad, and they should pay a price, but let's not sit here besmirching low wages and low prices without looking at the FAILURE of the state to provide on its promise of inspecting buildings, signing off on work, and catching those who flout the laws.

kentuckyliz said...

The jeans police, they live inside my head
The jeans police, they come to me in my bed
The jeans police, they're coming to arrest me, oh no
Cuz they're waiting for me
They're looking for me
Every single day they're driving me insane
Those nags inside my brain

Robert Cook said...

"I certainly do where I live, doofus. Sorry if you're spent your life in some mobville or other..."

Kirk, my question was rhetorical, as the answer is plain, yet you got it wrong. We don't have rule of law. We are living in a global "mobville," and some of the mobs have names like "JPMorgan Chase," "Citigroup," "Goldman Sachs," etc., etc.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"I certainly do where I live, doofus. Sorry if you're spent your life in some mobville or other..."

Kirk, my question was rhetorical, as the answer is plain, yet you got it wrong. We don't have rule of law. We are living in a global "mobville," and some of the mobs have names like "JPMorgan Chase," "Citigroup," "Goldman Sachs," etc., etc.


What exactly is it you teach?

SGT Ted said...

Why are leftists such cultural imperialists?

Rusty said...

SGT Ted said...
Why are leftists such cultural imperialists?

Because people like Robert Cook have convinced themselves that they are smarter than you are.

gadfly said...

Joe Fresh was likely to go down along with JCP's one price retailing when Joe's US sponsor, Ron Johnson was fired. But cheep is cheep, so if Canadian socialists will buy the stuff at Loblaws, Americans will buy it from down-in-the-dumps JCP.

The bad actors are alive and well, living in Bangladesh. It is not necessary to inspect factories in order to purchase clothing from foreign cut-n-sew outfits. No one in Bangladesh is saying "Yankee go home." Contrary to popular belief, a low paying job is better than no job at all.

Garment worker Mongidul Islam Rana told Associated Press: "We want regular salaries, raises and absolutely we want better safety in our factories."

Largo said...

"...the rapacious multinational corporations ... whose decisions as to what they'll pay their workers are based on entirely other considerations than the small businessman's. "

Cook,

I know that Kernel responded to you, but I'll phrase my own followup question this way. Perhaps these considerations have significant differences. But "entirely other"?! I would have thought there would be at lease a significant -overlap- of considerations. Did you overstate your position? I'm willing to learn.

Robert Cook said...

An elaboration by Ralph Nader on the point I was making at 7:05 a.m.