sweatshop-labor-article

Time and time again we have seen the detrimental impacts on third world poverty stricken countries for the luxury of the wealthy developed western world.

There is an abundance of knowledge on the repetitive violation of human rights within sweatshops driven by companies with no accountability, some will blame
he government, some will blame the company’s but both arguments ignore the real pimp of all the garment workers in Bangladesh, and the people assembling you iPhones at Foxconn in China and the agricultural workers of India, neoliberalism.

There is a silent cry for millions of workers trapped in the third world for basic human rights, and even the apparent luxury of being treated like a human being and not an animal or slave according to a Guardian article reporting that the abuse faced in sweatshops in India is not just physical but verbal abuses is common worker confesses “they slap us and call us Dogs and Donkeys”(Gethin Chamberlain). An estimated 250 million children aged 5 – 14 work in sweatshops in developing countries (Brandon Gaille), the drive for profit by neoliberalism is keeping developing countries in a cycle of poverty with the acceptance of child labour meaning children aren’t being educated and therefore are subjugated to the manipulation of large unethical TNCs famously Marks and Spencer, Next, Ralph Lauren and Banana Republic constantly revealing their lucrative relations with poorly conditioned manufacturers (Madeleine Bunting); who justify masses of human right violation and abuse behind the mask of Development, a problematic concept to often associated with economic growth ignoring anything sustainable or social.

Considering the above and the fact that 90% of workers in sweatshops are woman (Brandon Gaille), and the majority of their pay check goes toward food for the household to survive, which if you’re a garment worker in Bangladesh is on average an hourly wage of US$0.13, which is the lowest in the world. As a child growing up accustomed to this way of life with few other options to support families clearly present one of the other big holes in neoliberalism that everybody has an equal access to the market, unless we share very different views on equality that is.

Nearly 40% of the world’s gadgets are produced in China at Foxconn which employs 1.2 million (Lois Beckett), employees are made to live in severely cramped conditions in some cases 20 workers are made to share a 3 bedroom apartment, netting has been put up to prevent the regular occurrence of employees committing suicide due to such ill treatment and in 2010 it was reported that an employee after working for 34hours consistently collapsed and died (Lois Beckett). This is a company employed to manufacture and assemble goods by Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Cisco, Huawei, Nintendo and Wii to name a few (Michael Kan). Who have been allowed to outsource for cheap labour and exploit states vulnerabilities through means to ‘develop’ rooted in the ideology of ‘free trade’ which operates best without securities of the State. And ironically it’s only free to those with money to cover costs, the cost that millions of workers are paying around the world each day.

BBC reports that 19,000 agricultural farmers in India took their lives in the year 2011 alone (Wesley Stephenson), Scientific research has proven pesticides used to harvest particular crops have been a common cause for health problems, and birth defects of children leaving many communities involved in the Labour with high levels of disabled children and severe deformities (Jay Syrmopoulos), Company’s often spend no such cost on protecting workers from such harsh chemicals with insufficient utensils and protective wear. I’m sure I share the opinion of many when I say that it’s disgusting we live in a global system which allows for such disregard of human life and a system in which profit exceeds humanity.

It seems apparent to me that with tragic stories of exploitation & innocent lives being taken more frequently occurring on news forums in the western world it has instead of giving us sense of responsibility and enforcing right to protect for something other than national interest we have instead become desensitised to the horrific abuses of power and decided to turn a blind eye. Let’s hope this isn’t another blog to you!

Natasha Boyce (Dubai Campus)

Bibliography 

36 Shocking sweatshop statistics, Brandon Gaille, Dec 2014 http://brandongaille.com/36-shocking-sweatshop-statistics/

Indian farmers and suicide: how big is the problem, Wesley Stephenson, 23rd January 2013 http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21077458

26 Facts About the Awful Conditions Where Your Gadgets are Made, Lois Beckett, January 29th 2012 http://www.alternet.org/story/153931/26_facts_about_the_awful_conditions_where_your_gadgets_are_made

India’s clothing workers: ‘They slap us and call us dogs and donkeys’, Gethin Chamberlain, Sunday 25th November 2012 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/25/india-clothing-workers-slave-wages

Sweatshops are still supplying high street brands, Madeleine Bunting, 28th April 2011 Is Development really developing states? https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/apr/28/sweatshops-supplying-high-street-brands

Foxconn builds products for many vendors, but its mud sticks to Apple, Michael Kan, October 24th 2012 http://www.macworld.com/article/2012972/smartphones/foxconn-builds-products-for-many-vendors-but-its-mud-sticks-to-apple.html

“It’s Not the Zika Virus” — Doctors Expose Monsanto Linked Pesticide as Cause of Birth Defects, Jay Syrmopoulos, February 14th 2016 http://thefreethoughtproject.com/doctors-groups-deny-microcephaly-zika-connection-blame-monsanto-linked-pesticide-birth-defects/

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