Maybe this has partly to do with my class project: counterfeit production, but I really like the article on “Santa’s Sweatshops.” . People have known about horrible working conditions of underpaid workers for a long time. But, it’s quite bothersome that this still exists. The loopholes company (developing and developed countries alike) use to continue these cheap productions is not diminishing. Companies are getting smarter in finding new ways to beat the system. First-world countries “enforce” proper conditions of these factories, but in reality, they don’t care. They just want the perfect final product, their bread and butter.
Holstein, etc. states that labor, civic, religious, investor and consumer groups pushed to improve the conditions of workers at the lowest end of a global supply chain. I don’t buy it. It was just a heat of the moment thing about regulations; this article was written awhile back. It’s 2010, and conditions have not changed, but hidden to the public eye. This “global souring” is just the exploitation for foreign workers. And just when you think Made in U.S.A. items are made under good conditions, think again! “Don't assume that a made-in-the-U.S.A. label means a product is necessarily made under ideal conditions. High-fashion products, particularly designer jeans, often are not” (Holstein). So, where does our money go when we pay triple the price for those designer jeans?!
During individual research week, I found a lot of information on counterfeits production and sweatshops in China. Two documentaries in particular I found eye-opening is “China Blue,” directed by MichaX. Peled and “Mardi Gras: Made in China” by David Redmon. In China Blue, Peled takes viewers inside the factories of the workers. These workers, most of them young women, assemble denim clothing for export to overseas. They are underpaid, work under horrible conditions, and get docked off their salary if they are caught chatting. This, along with the documentary by Redmon shows the conditions of workers and the economic pressures applied by Western companies. Workers often are forced to lie to authorities on their working conditions so to avoid getting in trouble by the manufacture owners. In “Mardia Gras,” Redman takes viewers on a journey of China and New Orleans. People in New Orleans throw around the beads like trash vs. workers in Chinas are working their butt off to assemble these necklaces for one night of fun. The two documentaries show the connection between the exploited young workers in China and U.S. consumers. After watching these documentaries, I find myself thinking about the lives of the workers who made me clothes…
Compact challenge update: This is so hard! I can’t pick up an item without thinking about this challenge or where it came from! I’ve cut back a lot on splurging on clothes, which is great on the wallet. I haven’t even gone on Amazon to take a peek for the past week (WOW!). I’ve been hearing a lot about Apple’s iPad, or whatever it’s called. I refuse to look at it… because temptation is a ***** if I can’t buy it!
This challenge works much easier if you just keep yourself busy. Let’s see how long I can keep this up because I have to go to Costco in a bit. Bulk item galore!
Blog # 5
Holstein, William J., et al. “Santa’s Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it’s Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift – and Under What Conditions.”