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Cheap clothes; cheap lives


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In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2013 19:32:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Apr 2013 19:32:32 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'M. E. Phelan says:

I know all about the 30's. My Granny used to tell me all about it.'

That's a real litany of hardship. Life was very hard for poor people back then; most of us now have little conception of what people a few generations ago had to endure, accept and just get on with as best they could. What angers me is that whilst this was going on, there were people making fortunes and living wonderful carefree lives; what sort of conscience did some people have? I conclude that they had none whatsoever.

'Despite my Mum working and paying for our keep....'Our' 'meals consisted of bread and lard, bread and condensed milk (which my Grandad insisted she bought) and bread and gravy. I think that is why I am so frugal, and grateful for every single thing in my life.'

I was born a bit after you but I myself well remember when we had literally no money that we too had bread and dripping, slices of cheap bread fried in lard; well, it was better than nothing! I always say that I grew up poor, but not necessarily deprived. Your grandmother was deprived and many like her too. My own gran was something different; her father was a self-made man and had a bit of money, but he was arrested for fraud and lost everything and then they were poor ever after. I mean it was only really in the 60's and early 70's that poor people stopped eating tripe (yuck!), sheep's head and brawn really.

'What I say is.. thank God for the Unions, because without them, we would still be in those times now... some would even say we are returning to them?'

Anyone who genuinely helps to fight for ordinary people's rights are doing something that is worthwhile. At this time we have a government that is trying to return us to the 30's again; I don't know why, I wish I did. They have no souls or conscience, and though they speak mealy-mouthed platitudes, it's always more important to see what people do rather than what they say they do; and we know what this government are doing don't we?!

Posted on 29 Apr 2013 21:55:42 BDT
Spin says:
Life is running out. Do something with it.

Posted on 2 May 2013 21:34:05 BDT
Chief. says:
I am lead to believe that the country in question has ample health and safety laws, but simply chooses to ignore them or doesnt enforce them. I dont blame Primark for that, I blame the country.

Also, there were 2000 people in that building and dozens of businesses. Only one of them was employed by Primark.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 21:44:08 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Chief. says:

I am lead to believe that the country in question has ample health and safety laws, but simply chooses to ignore them or doesnt enforce them. I dont blame Primark for that, I blame the country.

Also, there were 2000 people in that building and dozens of businesses. Only one of them was employed by Primark.'

It's always easy after the fact to start apportioning blame; blame the people for wanting cheap clothes; blame businesses for ignoring basic workers rights; blame the builders who built shoddily built factories; blame everyone! Blame someone! And so on and so on. It's the way of the world. And it's also the way of the world that people exploit, and people are exploited, and sometimes ruthlessly so. Only when something bad happens do stories get told, only when people are sacrificed to the god of money on the altar of capitalism does anyone take notice. And then the promises of 'it'll never happen again' 'we are angry' 'we will do something about this' and ad nauseum, until it dies down and gets forgotten like everything usually does; until it happens again...

Posted on 2 May 2013 22:07:46 BDT
Chief. says:
Capitalism is the worst system in the world - apart from all the others.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 22:21:03 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Chief. says:

Capitalism is the worst system in the world - apart from all the others.'

They are all bad if they don't work for you; they are all good if they do work for you. That's why the world is in a mess; selfishness and greed can never be sated as those who are selfish and greedy can never have enough.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 22:45:25 BDT
Chief. says:
I do not hink it is reasonable to blame shoppers on British streets for a disaster which occurs thousands of miles away simply because they choose to purchase a cheap t-shirt.

This is like a commerical version of seven degrees of separation. Places like Bangladesh have to start policing themselves and looking after the welfare of their own citizens - it is not the responsibility of the rest of the world to make their moral choices for them.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 22:50:37 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Chief. says:

I do not hink it is reasonable to blame shoppers on British streets for a disaster which occurs thousands of miles away simply because they choose to purchase a cheap t-shirt.'

I agree with you completely. Most people buying cheap shirts, t-shirts, coats, shoes etc etc are buying these things because that's all they can afford. You notice the media, certain media anyway, very quickly shifting the blame, yet again, onto poor people! Economy collapses, blame poor people, banks collapse, blame poor people, factories collapse, blame poor people; the same old story again and again.

'This is like a commerical version of seven degrees of separation. Places like Bangladesh have to start policing themselves and looking after the welfare of their own citizens - it is not the responsibility of the rest of the world to make their moral choices for them.'

Basically yes. But those in charge don't give a toss for their poor, only in the fact that they are useful in that they can be exploited; sound familiar? I guess it does.

Posted on 2 May 2013 22:56:00 BDT
Chief. says:
Then at the very least we agree that it is 'those in charge' who should take responsibility for this disaster, not the person looking for a bargain on the high street.

I would add to that that it should be those in charge in Bangladesh who should take responsibilty. Maybe the Irish clothing company Primark shouldnt try to take advantage of foreign markets, but it is for Bangladesh to say that it will not allow its people to be exploited.

Posted on 2 May 2013 23:20:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2013 23:31:24 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Chief. says:

Then at the very least we agree that it is 'those in charge' who should take responsibility for this disaster, not the person looking for a bargain on the high street.'

By your comments on here, I would say we would probably agree on many things. And the problem with 'those in charge' everywhere, is that they are happy to take the money and the power and the social kudos that comes their way when everything is fine, but won't take any responsibility whatsoever when they mess up, and flee the sinking ship like rats. Look at Leveson, or Hillsborough, all travesties of justice and really no one has been blamed, or will be charged in any serious way. Of such is life.

'...it is for Bangladesh to say that it will not allow its people to be exploited.'

I agree but no one would seriously believe it if they said things would radically change. What is happening in many third world countries and highly successful developing economies like India and China, is akin to what was happening when Britain industrialised at the start of the 19th century; unregulated industries, unfettered capitalism, a real desire for profit, the opportunity to succeed and millions of very poor people who perhaps for the first time ever see some way out of rural poverty by working in a factory for long hours with few rules and regulations.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2013 23:43:54 BDT
Chief. says:
Then quite simply they will have to take responsibility for that, and if they cannot abandone their own greed long enough to at least ensure that their people are not crushed to death in decrepid factories, then they will have to take responsibility for that too.

History will judge them, just as it judged the factory owners and governments during our own industrial revolution . Sadly it will be too late to save the lives of many more people whose lives are yet to be lost, but this tradgedy and those yet to come cannot be placed at the feet of the average high street customer.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2013 17:53:46 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Chief. says:

Then quite simply they will have to take responsibility for that, and if they cannot abandone their own greed long enough to at least ensure that their people are not crushed to death in decrepid factories, then they will have to take responsibility for that too.'

I agree with you, but there's one question: how? Those who rule, have wealth, are connected in some way, always seem to get away with in this case murder by extreme neglect. Look at Hillsborough; first there was a cover-up, then smear tactics, then the dead got blamed for their deaths! Horrible injustice on top of injustice. And nobody seemed to care because they were football fans, and of course all football fans are supposed to be W/class so they were the lowest on the food chain. Media, government, and all kinds of establishment institutions all backed each other up and waged war on the victims. Sound familiar?

'History will judge them, just as it judged the factory owners and governments during our own industrial revolution .'

Yes, but those people back then are long gone, and the people who caused this catastrophe will I think wriggle out of it one way or the other even though there are calls for them to be executed. Remember there was a rail disaster a few years ago in England, and one of the directors, Gerald Corbett I think, was asked if they should face corporate manslaughter charges, and he walked out in a huff like he was in the right? I remember it well and in the end he got another plum job. As a Christian, all these people who bend the rules to make obscene profits and often at the expense of other people's lives, will find a far harsher judgement one day, believe me. There will be justice, impartial and fair justice, for all.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 15:00:41 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 7 May 2013 18:06:37 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2013 01:13:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 May 2013 01:19:20 BDT
Tell you what, let's export our claustrophobic Health & Safety nazis to Islamabad and get em to shut down every single manufacturing entity which exists out there.

Let us put every single poverty-stricken individual out of work and let them starve instead.
I remember not long back, another similar outcry about a similar disaster in a 'local asian carpet industry.

The legions of well-paid Western do-gooders jumped on a very expensively hired Learjet, paid for out of our foreign aid budget, and flew out there, shut everything down, and put thousands of poor but formerly employed folk back into starvation.

Good call doncha think?

Posted on 12 May 2013 21:05:57 BDT
P. C. Owen says:
Without trade we would all be worse off. The Japanese once produced cheap cotton clothes which outside British cotton in India. Without the free trade offered by Britain, they would never have developed their economy. After independence, the Indians cut themselves off for 30 years. The place stagnated. Everybody grew poorer. Now some are getting richer faster than others but they are all getting richer. Since capitalism arrived large parts of the world's population have become much richer. And the population increases because far fewer people starve and fewer babies die.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 21:29:54 BDT
Spin says:
PC; Since capitalism arrived in these nations the rich have become richer and the poor poorer. Capitalism, by definition, requires the labour of others to produce profit for the employer. Capitalism is a destructive force if not regulated by socially advocated laws. And nations new to capitalism are akin to Victorian Britain at the birth of capitalist industrialisation; there are no laws protecting the welfare of the workers. Why? Because the governments themselves are capitalist profiteers.

Posted on 12 May 2013 21:49:07 BDT
P. C. Owen says:
And yet, the working class in capitalist countries were and are wealthier than their feudal contemparies and the factories become packed with rural migrants seeking a better life. In the UK, Enclosure Acts and Clearances displaced many rural poor but in modern China, Pakistan or Mexico that has not been the case. It wasn't the case in Wales either, where the industrial revolution (as in new materials and new form of energy - Lancs/Yorks did new forms of organization & technology) started. In Wales, if you are of a nationalist frame of mind, you can trace the IR back to 1130 AD (large scale export orientated ironworks run by monks) via the 1580's (Elizabeth decreeing a copper works) and so on into the English version of the story. The depopulation of Mid and West Wales involved (still does) a greater percentage of the population than the West of Ireland without Clearances.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 21:51:34 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Mr. D. L. Martin says:

The legions of well-paid Western do-gooders jumped on a very expensively hired Learjet, paid for out of our foreign aid budget, and flew out there, shut everything down, and put thousands of poor but formerly employed folk back into starvation.'

Yes; you've hit on a truth sadly. low pay is better than no pay for those people.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 21:58:57 BDT
Spin says:
PC; the wests working class are wealthier in relative terms; relative to poorer nations and in terms of previous domestic economics. Within the UK, presently, the gap between rich and poor is wide indeed. And this gap is an essential feature of capitalism. A citizen cares not as to whether he is richer than his contemporary in another nation; he is concerned with feeding his family on the wages he gets; wages others might think a "fortune" but only because their currency, and exchange rate is of little value...In some countries, to be able to buy a mobile phone is a sign of professional and financial success, whereas in this country every tom, dick and harry has a mobile.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 22:03:01 BDT
T. S. C. says:
Whatever your view on capitalism, it is here to stay. Yes the rich do prosper at the often ruthless expense of the poor, but sometimes things do get better. Developing countries have seen how Europe and the New World became wealthy and powerful and dominated the globe for 5 centuries, and now they want to do the same. Once open, you can't close Pandora's Box; you have to accept the good with the bad. Human nature is by nature selfish, greedy, arrogant, vengeful and unstable. Of such is life. I wish it were not so.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 22:18:41 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Spin says:

A citizen cares not as to whether he is richer than his contemporary in another nation; he is concerned with feeding his family on the wages he gets..'

Bang on my learned friend. All the rest is just a smokescreen; we are 'richer' you are 'poorer' etc is not that relevant. If your wages are low but you can pay your rent, feed your family, keep yourself healthy and clean and save a little for a holiday or some other luxury, I would suggest that is a kind of wealth. If you have high wages but are still struggling to pay for all those things and luxuries are out of the question, and perhaps have little quality of life because all you do is work, then perhaps that could be a kind of poverty. There are so many questions that are begging to be asked let alone answered and yet those in power don't want to know.

Posted on 12 May 2013 22:31:37 BDT
P. C. Owen says:
Debt is an enormous driver of modern capitalism. In Russia where I have a business, there are very low levels of debt. It is thus difficult to get country folk, with their own small holdings, to work. Once they have saved a lump sum for rainy days, they can sit out three or four years without important new money. The state gave everyone their smallholdings or city flats during the reform of communism so few need a mortgage. In the cities, public transport is cheap and plentiful, traffic is congested and parking places few. So not so many car loans. Thus, adults leave their jobs and take a year or so selecting another one, if they don't like the conditions. This luxury is possible because Russia has full employment. Without debt, there is less to drive people to work in unsatisfactory jobs. People have unsatisfactory houses and crowded trams instead. Debt is monetized greed to a Russian.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 22:48:54 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'P. C. Owen says:

Debt is an enormous driver of modern capitalism.'

Evening all! Sorry, couldn't resist that, you being a P.C. and all! Seriously, debt is a great spur but also the desire to want more and more, even when a person's needs are generally already met. That is the problem with Western capitalistic societies; the desire to have more than someone else, and few if anyone questions it or criticises it, it being almost a commandment in the worship of money and the branding of capitalism as a new religion.

'The state gave everyone their smallholdings or city flats during the reform of communism so few need a mortgage.'

So not all is bad in (once) communist Russia then? Perhaps it would be good if we could take the good bits of all ideologies, get rid of the bad bits, and see if we can work something out instead of rabidly polarising into extremes as societies seem to do, and even people. You sometimes simply have to see the other bloke's POV, even if you don't particularly agree with it, merely to really understand your own.

'Without debt, there is less to drive people to work in unsatisfactory jobs. People have unsatisfactory houses and crowded trams instead.'

Yes, I've seen the flats people have; they are hardly penthouses are they? But a roof over one's head is still a roof over one's head, dear boy, and infinitely preferable to being on the streets. And I think Russians may have crowded trams, but we have crowded buses and trains, all bloodcurdingly expensive. What one state gives with one hand, they invariably take with another; here, there and everywhere in the world. There are no perfect societies because they are all made up of imperfect people.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 22:52:12 BDT
Spin says:
TSC; Indeed. The "amount" of money you have is no reflection of your "wealth". Money is relative to the goods it can buy. The product the worker creates for wages that cannot buy that product except by selling his labour over time to create a hundred or more of that product...And women, in order to feed their child, must labour to earn money to pay for childcare as she works for money to ensure her childs welfare...

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 23:02:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 May 2013 23:04:08 BDT
T. S. C. says:
'Spin says:

TSC; Indeed. The "amount" of money you have is no reflection of your "wealth". Money is relative to the goods it can buy. The product the worker creates for wages that cannot buy that product except by selling his labour over time to create a hundred or more of that product...And women, in order to feed their child, must labour to earn money to pay for childcare as she works for money to ensure her childs welfare...'

Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself. Everything is relative dear boy. I have watched programs about poor Africans, where they had very little, but had food and basic necessities and the odd luxury and they were happier and smiling and warmer than those in the West who often have everything in terms of material wealth, but are so obsessed with social status or getting more than the other person, or involve their personal 'happiness' in competition with others, to 'get one over' on someone else, and all for what? To sit on a pile of money that isn't even of use to them because they hoard it away or living in a big house in a 'nice' area where no one talks to each other or acknowledges each other existence but are playing games of whose the richest, whose the most successful and so on. Some of those people, not all certainly, are in a prison of their own making, a gilded cage but they can't see it. Give me peace, happiness and contentment and a decent living and the time to enjoy it, rather than absolute wealth and spending my time worrying about who is going to take it off me in some way or being on an endless pointless elevator of making even more wealth for no good purpose.
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Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  85
Initial post:  25 Apr 2013
Latest post:  15 May 2013

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