“Clothed In Misery” Article written by M.T. Anderson.
The article highlighted the recent building collapse in Bangladesh, a country where poverty is still a rampant, it’s people, in their quest for a better living standard, in short, ‘Survival’, risk their lives to put food on the the table. The article also contains the horrid memories of the past where similar disasters happened in the US. These incidences occurred, where sacrifices are make and new rules and regulations implemented, has been largely ignored. In their quest to make better profit, owners go for cost cutting measures, compromising on workplace safety, even corruption to get around legislative issues.
Based on “THE collapse last Wednesday of a Bangladeshi factory complex — the latest, deadliest chapter in the story of miserable labor conditions in the international garment industry — must seem distant to many Americans. Their tragedy is not ours because their working conditions, and construction regulations, are not ours.” and “But the story of manufacturing half a world away is as close as the Lycra-cotton cloth that swaddles us. It is as intimate to our private interests as our boxers are, stitched in those bunkers by hands we never see and rarely consider.”.It is interesting to see that while we are living half the world apart, people ignore their own moral standards when acting as consumers, searching for the cheapest electronics, fashion or food. Thus, the markets reduce moral concerns. Retailers, whose sole responsibility is to return a profit to their shareholders, have to source for lower cost, crooked manufacturers will cut corners, bribe a weak government into allowing them to create factories that are death traps, using cheap and child labors to churn out consumers’ demand. The deaths of a thousand people just shows the glory of the free market. The author gave examples of many accidents that has happened in the past in USA, but it is long forgotten until this latest incident reminds us again, our moral responsibility.
This article makes me reflect on basic moral values and responsibility. I think that in every Organisation, in every action that one makes, one needs to go through a series of obligations in order to achieve our objectives. It is the society’s responsible to help workers have a better, happier, safer environment to work and live in. I had opportunity to visit some garment factories in Vietnam, and surely I’ve seen a similarities in living and working conditions as written by the author. Some factories were constructed according to government regulation on workplace safety, workers, mainly from the province, were given proper space and conditions to work and safety of utmost priority. However, there are some sub-contractor who provide workers poorly constructed garment factories. Workspace were cramp and poor lighting. Plus, workers were paid the barest minimum. Many people asked the owners why they are operating in such environment, and the reply was, facing stiff competition, with buyers only willing to pay the minimum for their products, with cost of materials up, they have no choice, but to look at cutting cost in order to not reach their budget. If I were to face such a situation, I would look at tightening , safety conditions at factories, likes the United States did in the early part of 20th Century. an invitation to buyers to visit and inspect our workplace, as I believe that if everyone plays a part in the process, from material to manufacturer to buyer, and finally consumer willingness to pay for the products, I would succeed in making this, a liveable world to all. What surprised me about the article is, there has been similar disasters in the past lives lost, less learnt, new regulations enforced, buyers and sellers all vow to follow, but in the end, what I see is, history is repeating itself.