Trouser Quest…Episode IV: A New Hope?
Here is the fabric I bought for the next test of New Look 6713. It is an olive pinwale corduroy with NO stretch. On sale and with enough for patch pockets, it only cost AUD $11.00! Amazing…and for trousers that actually fit and are comfortable but then my labour is the free part of the equation for me.
This reminds me of the actual cost of labour and how big companies drive down the price of labour to make cheaper goods to sell more of.
I read in the newspaper yesterday that many of the big mulitnationals like Kmart, Target, Tesco, Wal-Mart and Disney have been leaving their contracts in Bangladesh. They think it is a bit stinky for public relations so they are running to where the air is sweeter or rather where the consumer can not smell the stink of their dodgy dealings. So now, the garment workers who had so little, now have even less.
In a recent survey, Oxfam apparently found that 68% of respondents would be happy to pay more for their clothes if they could be guaranteed the garment workers were being paid an ethical wage. But instead of working with Bangladeshi business and government to improve the wages and working conditions of garment workers, many of the big companies are just going somewhere else.
This is not what I hoped would happen from the Bangladesh factory disaster and the deaths of hundreds of garment workers and their children. I wish I had something pithy and insightful to say about the brutal, implacable hand of consumer capitalism but I just feel sad and dispirited.