Wrap up! Winter is here. Coats scarfs gloves are all purchased to try and fight the blistering cold in England. As the demand goes up in Britain around the world the process intensifies. More sweatshops are opened longer hours are taken and, in turn, more labour is divided. The same people that are making these jumpers often don’t get to see the end product.
We complain about the price of things so much in the winter. Coates for £70 jumpers for £30. I wonder how much they would be if we paid cost price. The argument stands that if we want our goods well made we have to pay the price. Take this jumper made in England from Peregrine that has been produced in England where many people have minimum wage and safety controls. As compared to the same colour Primark jumper which has been made as a result of the Global division of labour. The price difference is a staggering £50. Buying from England will give you a shocking 430% increase on this jumper.The price is driven down by companies dividing labour across different countries. This has caused systemic problems within the developing world as many governments have lowered their minimum wage in order to attract foreign investment.
The initial outsourcing of products came at the wake of the 1970 crises. Smith argues that ‘The vast wave of outsourcing of production processes to low-wage countries…was a strategic response to the twin crises of declining profitability and overproduction that resurfaced in the 1970s in the form of stagflation and synchronised global recession'(Smith 1982). Globalisation allowed firms to outsource their labour and, therefore, cut costs in labour and safety positions in countries where they would pay the minimum.
This results in the rights of workers and the conditions in which they work to be secondary to profit. O’Brien and Williams (2013) argue that it is difficult to enforce labour rights in a capitalist global economy as it is not in the interest of these companies to do so. Therefore, the demand of the products is what drives firms to consulate look for new ways to cut costs.
So fancy buying a £70 jumper?
Adam Smith, 1982. The Wealth of Nations: Books 1-3 (Penguin Classics) (Bks.1-3). Edition. Penguin Classics.
Robert O’Brien, 2013. Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics. Fourth Edition, New edition Edition. Palgrave Macmillan.