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Apr 24 2013

It’s Matthew Yglesias’ world: we just get blown up in it.

I haven’t had much use for The Lizard of K Street since he posted this sociopathic little gem in 2004:

Did the president really gut the Endangered Species Act yesterday while no one was paying attention? So I’ve heard, at any rate. If so, good riddance. You’ll all yell at me, I suppose, but really: Who cares? Species die, shit happens, get over it.

It is not exactly news that Matthew Yglesias is a tepid thinker. Poking holes in Yglesias’ vacuous, self-absorbed puffery has long been a popular pastime among bloggers from the progressive left to the hard right. He’s got himself a cushy gig these days, squirting out incontinent posts with no detectable logical or factual value, and as long as people give his outlets page views it’s all good. Eyeballs are eyeballs, and it doesn’t matter much if those eyeballs are rolling upward hard enough to burst blood vessels.

But this shit? This shit is inexcusable.

Bangladesh may or may not need tougher workplace safety rules, but it’s entirely appropriate for Bangladesh to have different—and, indeed, lower—workplace safety standards than the United States.

The reason is that while having a safe job is good, money is also good. Jobs that are unusually dangerous—in the contemporary United States that’s primarily fishing, logging, and trucking—pay a premium over other working-class occupations precisely because people are reluctant to risk death or maiming at work. And in a free society it’s good that different people are able to make different choices on the risk–reward spectrum.…

Bangladesh is a lot poorer than the United States, and there are very good reasons for Bangladeshi people to make different choices in this regard than Americans. That’s true whether you’re talking about an individual calculus or a collective calculus. Safety rules that are appropriate for the United States would be unnecessarily immiserating in much poorer Bangladesh. Rules that are appropriate in Bangladesh would be far too flimsy for the richer and more risk-averse United States. Split the difference and you’ll get rules that are appropriate for nobody.

There are three main problems with Yglesias’ argument.

  1. Yglesias’ argument is profoundly immoral. People are willing to take bigger risks to feed their families when they’re burdened by poverty, yes. But arguing that we should use that unfortunate fact as a basic design feature of global workplace safety regulations is vile.
  2. Yglesias’ argument is profoundly ahistorical as well. Workplace safety regulations — and environmental laws, and education for women, and all of the thousands of other social goods we fight for — don’t magically appear when societies’ wealth passes a certain threshold as a result of the airy  fapping of the invisible hand. Those regulations come into being because people fight for them, often dying in the process, against the opposition of the entrenched powers that make the regulations necessary in the first place.  And here Yglesias is on the side of the entrenched powers, willing to wave away yet another workplace disaster so that he can continue to enjoy the cheap cotton shorts, running shoes, and tablet computers he sees as his birthright.
  3. Yglesias’ argument is essentially plagiarized from a 1991 memo by Laurence Summers written when the latter was the chief economist at the World Bank. A salient sampling from that memo:

I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. … The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate[sic] cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate[sic] cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is 200 per thousand.

An individual human life is worth fewer U.S. dollars in Bangladesh, and so betting that lower-value life against the possibility that you might actually survive your $432 per annum minimum wage job just makes better sense there than it does here, eh Matt? Hell, if the typical Bengali minimum wage worker survives his or her job for three or four years before they get crushed to death by an unsafe building, they may actually have come out well ahead of the game!

It’s a repugnant argument.

Matthew Yglesias should be ashamed of himself.

206 comments

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  1. 1
    Crissa

    Worrying about cost effective threats is a good idea…

    …But yeah, I don’t like this lives-are-worth-less crap. It’s BS.

    Throwing out everything Yglesias says, though, is trashing an ally to the remainder of our causes, and someone willing to let their own sacred cows be singed. That’s something we should all be willing to do.

  2. 2
    Chris Clarke

    Fuck that noise. Yglesias is not my ally.

  3. 3
    llewelly

    Good article, except for the use of ‘sociopathic’ … why not just call the sentiment “immoral” or “evil” ?

  4. 4
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Crissa:

    Throwing out everything Yglesias says …

    … in nowhere either stated or implied in the OP.

    (You should’ve stopped before posting that stupidity)

  5. 5
    John Morales

    [correction]

    Crissa:

    Throwing out everything Yglesias says …

    … is nowhere either stated or implied in the OP.

  6. 6
    johnmckay

    When I started blogging, Yglesias was one of those brilliant young things, along with Kos and Ezra, that I couldn’t keep up with. Kos has become a brand. Ezra has become a villager. Yglesias mostly just dropped off my radar. The few times he has popped up I’ve been less than impressed. But I had no idea how far into Friedmanism he’d dropped. To hell with the little shit. Maybe he’s an ally on some issues–we hold our noses for the duration–but he’s not a friend. When I think of “us”, he’s not one of us.

  7. 7
    spandrel

    This is what passes for left wing thought in the United States?

  8. 8
    Richard Pickard

    Last night I watched The Yes Men Fix the World, and these Yglesias lines sound like he’s trying to BE what the Yes Men were parodying. I’d be apoplectic, if I wasn’t mystified.

  9. 9
    bad Jim

    There’s a libertarian generalization of this line of thinking, that regulating workplace safety infringes upon the freedom of workers to choose the risks they take. It’s the same thinking that leads to “right-to-work” laws in southern states, and to the lack of inspections that make industrial disasters a regular occurrence in this allegedly first-world country.

  10. 10
    mildlymagnificent

    And what about jobs that make work safer for everyone – even the people who work there? Like jobs in building design, building inspection, building buildings, building maintenance. You know, useful jobs that build sturdy infrastructure at the same time as housing other jobs.

    I think it’s just as well he no longer contributes at Think Progress. He wouldn’t be welcome there after this public excretion.

  11. 11
    llewelly

    I believe The Yes Men deliberately parody Laurence Summers.

  12. 12
    A. R

    It isn’t that hard to jump from “these people are worth less than we are, therefore we can use them as cheap labor” to invasions and random drone strikes.

  13. 13
    chigau (違う)

    Who?

  14. 14
    Randomfactor

    I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted,

    An economic hypothesis currently being tested in China.

  15. 15
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I’ve never heard of this asshole before, and it seems I’m not missing much. This attitude is utterly reprehensible, as it boils down to stating that poverty and desperation make someone of less worth as a human being. He’s parroting warmed-over prosperity gospel bullshit, and it’s not any better in this format.

  16. 16
    bastionofsass

    Ah-ha! Yglesias’ argument seemingly has already been embraced by many of the GOP and the rich “job creators.” I’m starting to believe they’d be delighted if the US had working conditions and pay like those in third world countries.

    Here’s their plan:

    Don’t create new jobs. Don’t pay workers a living, let alone middle class, wage.

    Make sure higher education is too expensive for many, while demanding a degree for entry level jobs where one isn’t needed.

    For those who managed to earn a degree, make sure they graduate with huge debts. Offer them unpaid internships. Hire them at minimum-wage jobs working part time.

    Then:

    Workers will be so grateful for any job.

    Those desperate for a job won’t complain about right to work laws or taking away the bargaining rights of public sector employee unions. Unions which fought so hard for decent pay and work place safety regulations will be crushed.

    Those desperate for work won’t fuss about the repeal of minimum wage laws. Or the labor laws governing overtime, work breaks, child labor, workplace safety, workers’ compensation.

    Bye to costly employee demands for benefits, pensions (for the small number of employees who still have this increasingly rare benefit), vacations, maternity leave.

    Maybe eventually the US will see the return of sweatshops and be able to make cheap shoes and clothes.

    But who will have the money to buy them?

  17. 17
    skaduskitai

    Yeah right. The bangladeshi people *choosing* to get no financial benefit whatsoever for risking their lives and fucking up their health is TOTALLY the same thing as americans sometimes *choosing* to slightly risk their health for a better salary.

    What planet does this guy live on? Who knew that the stuntmen (and women) make more money than the actors they replace? That’s certainly news to me. Nor did I know that sitting in office tower was more dangerous than cleaning the windows of the same office tower. Wait, I think i got it now. The reason people higher up in the corporate heirarchy get better salary is because they are usually situated further up in the building and are more at risk if a terrorist crashes an aircraft into the building. But these brave souls are willing to do this dangerous job for a better salary! Halleluja!

  18. 18
    unclefrogy

    he said this?Jobs that are unusually dangerous—in the contemporary United States that’s primarily fishing, logging, and trucking??
    he has been watching too much TV, Trucking? for heart disease and diabetes from a sedentary job maybe.
    Construction and police work are actually the most dangerous work last time I looked.

    as for garment workers and cost of finished goods heard a report just today talked about a Nike sweat shirt with a labor cost for making the shirt of about $.08 for a shirt selling for north of $25.00
    can you say markup much?

    well his work is about worth that much!

    In a free market the workers should be able to organize together to negotiate with their employers for the best deal they can get.
    To advocate for anything else is to advocate for and support inequality.
    uncle frogy

  19. 19
    Robert B.

    incontinent posts with no detectable logical or factual value

    “False” actually is one of the logical values, though I admit a personal preference for the other one.

  20. 20
    unclefrogy

    here is the list from the BLS of deaths per 1000 so he has some truth fisherman and loggers are apparently the most dangerous so I was wrong in thinking otherwise but “trucker” is not listed at all

    Fisherman (121.2)
    Loggers (102.4)
    Pilots (57.0)
    Farmers and Ranchers (25.3)
    Police Officers (18.6)
    Construction Workers (15.7)
    National Average (3.5)
    Firefighters (2.5)
    Cashiers (1.6)
    Office Admin (0.6)
    Business and Finance Staff (0.5)
    uncle frogy

  21. 21
    Anthony K

    “This is how things are deal with it.”

    Hardly seems worth a pundit’s salary, does it?

  22. 22
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Throwing out everything Yglesias says, though, is trashing an ally to the remainder of our causes, and someone willing to let their own sacred cows be singed. That’s something we should all be willing to do.

    Wrong.
    Somebody who doesn’t share my interest in keeping people alive and well cannot be my ally.
    I have no interst in such “allies”. I have no interest in “lie back and think f the movenment”, and I have much less interest in “die and think of the economy”.

    Apart from the human side, the argument is also economically bullshit.
    Those heavy regulations in countries like Germany have lead to innovation. At the point when other countries also implement regulations that is a fucking big advantage. Yes, even if the Indian regulations allow 100 as much of poison X to go into the river, the company there had no technology to comply with the regulation. You’Re selling your product AND you’re selling them the technology.
    And as cynical as it is, many companies that buy stuff from other companies look at work place safety as a quality criterium. Because a company that doesn’t take care of its workers doesn’t take care of the product either.

  23. 23
    aluchko

    I’m sorry but I’m with Yglesias’ on this one. Addressing your issues:

    1.
    Per capita GDP in Bangladesh is $1,900 in the US it’s $50,000.

    That extra safety is going to cost more, say a 10% reduction in salary, I’m certain the Bangladeshi needs that $190 a hell of a lot more than the American needs $5,000.

    And anyone who hasn’t bought the absolute safest car that money can buy, or got the most expensive health insurance plan (happy I’m not American), already understands that safety vs money is a tradeoff that people make every day.

    2. The people have to demand those improved regulations true, but do the people of Bangladesh want them? Safety isn’t a binary quality.

    And what makes you think that the result is “cheap cotton shorts, running shoes, and tablet computers he sees as his birthright”. Aside from the ad-hominen extra safety regs could mean the same price point but lower wages, or a higher price point, lower sales, and thus lower wages. Or it could mean that part of the Bangladeshi advantage (lower costs) goes away and those jobs go back to the US leaving those workers with a lower paying (and possibly more dangerous) job.

    3. That’s a pretty weak application of the word ‘plagiarism’, a) if plagarising arguments is a problem than everyone here who’s agreeing with you is guilty of it, b) I don’t know if the Summer’s memo is satire or not, but it goes a LOT further than Yglesias is suggesting.

    Also of note, it sounds like the safety regs did work here, the police ordered the factory to be evacuated in time to save everyone and they didn’t authorize the extra stories that caused the collapse. What failed spectacularly is the enforcement since the factory owners simply ignored the rules and no one felt they had the authority to enforce them. Now they’ve just seen a brutal example of what happens when someone builds a ridiculously unsafe factory and doesn’t shut it down when it crumbles. Hopefully the next time this happens they’ll either listen to the inspector voluntarily or the inspector will have the popular support to make them.

  24. 24
    aluchko

    @Giliell, professional cynic,

    The appropriate regulation level from an economic standpoint depends on the economy. Germany had a strong economy and industry that was able to develop or implement new technologies to efficiently implement the regs. In Bangladesh I’m betting their industrial sector is quite fragile, if they don’t have the investment, infrastructure, and technical skills to achieve that level of innovation they’ll just go out of business.

  25. 25
    aluchko

    @skaduskitai,

    Surely we’re above cherry-picking examples here. Hell, the full quote from Yglesias completely invalidated your rant:
    “Jobs that are unusually dangerous—in the contemporary United States that’s primarily fishing, logging, and trucking—pay a premium over other working-class occupations precisely because people are reluctant to risk death or maiming at work.”

  26. 26
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Yesterday, on the thread about alcohol tax, there was a discussion of the attitude some people have that preaches “Poor people have to put up with some horrible stuff that rich people don’t, it’s their own fault for being poor”. Yglesias’ argument seems, to me, to be a prime example.

  27. 27
    Maureen Brian

    aluchko,

    I’m pretty sure Giliell will be along soon to tell you this but that economic super-power Germany had to rebuild itself from the ground up – literally – from 1945 on wards. Here, have a picture of a bombed factory in Dresden immediately after the raid in February that year – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib/8/media-8872/large.jpg

    After a few bad experiences with get-rich-quick merchants in 1946/7 and starting effectively from a negative GDP, they built in the building standards and the safety regulations and the safety training as they went along. Later that German economy was able to take on and absorb the much weaker GDR. There’s also the fact that the organised workers are involved in the management of companies. Apart from any other benefits, this fact alone contributes to workplace safety.

    To put the differences between Germany and Bangladesh down to some inherent lack in the Bangladeshis sounds like racism to me.

    How about thinking on this point – any job where survival depends upon some other person paying you for what you do is a working class job! If you thought about that for a while you might be less inclined to “other” most of the huamn race.

    ——————

    And in the next chapter, folks, Mr Yglesias will be along to explain that there has been no discernible growth in the wealth of the USA between the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911 and the fertiliser works which blew up in Texas the other day, so it’s far too early to think about workplace safely for anyone yet.

  28. 28
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Aluchko

    You ignore the possibility of emplacing proper workplace regulations, while also leaving the option for Bangladeshis to waive those rights in exchange for more money. You know, in exactly the same way a fisherman or ice road trucker does in America. That way, we know that if they are putting themselves in that danger it is their choice and not simply because they are not given the option because their employers simply don’t care.

  29. 29
    Nick Gotts

    That extra safety is going to cost more, say a 10% reduction in salary – aluchko

    As far as I can tell, you have no basis for that figure at all – and you fail to take into account that safety improvements may actually pay for themselves in the longer term, by increasing workforce health and morale, and reducing the risk the factory will collapse – which must be quite costly when it happens (we’ll leave aside the suffering and deaths, since these don’t really seem to grab you). Moreover, you appear to assume that the current distribution of the return on the goods as between workers, managers, factory owners, wholesalers and retailers is fixed and unquestionable. Why shouldn’t the extra up-front cost of the extra safety come from those better able to afford it, and not risking their lives?

  30. 30
    Maureen Brian

    A slippery slope that, thumper1990! The right to life comes under the “basic, human” category. It shouldn’t be negotiable nor should people have to trade it in so that they may eat.

    Far more fun would be to take the CEOs and the the next 3 layers of management down and install each of them in a Bangladeshi textile factory – entirely at random – then keep them locked in, as the workers are often locked in, for a week.

  31. 31
    Maureen Brian

    That’s the CEOs of the clothing companies mentioned – though every CEO on the planet would probably benefit.

  32. 32
    blf

    [I] heard a report just today talked about a Nike sweat shirt with a labor cost for making the shirt of about $.08 for a shirt selling for north of $25.00
    can you say markup much?

    Another bothersome thing about this practice is the environmental impact: Transportation of the finished goods (half-away around the world); pollution in the manufacturing areas (big issue in garment manufacturing, I understand, is the dyes); and so on…

    These points can be addressed (for instance, sail-assisted ships (which is being seriously looked at for several reasons)), so it is not a reason not to trade.

  33. 33
    Alex

    I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly heard of this Yglesias guy, and I would be happy to never hear of him again. What’s next, allying with the Nazis (*) because of their shared concern about the health of our beautiful German forests?

    (*) technically not a Godwin, is it?

  34. 34
    Nick Gotts

    From the BBC

    Police said the factory owners had ignored warnings not to allow their workers into the building after cracks were noticed on Tuesday.

    The factory owners are now said to have gone into hiding. Police say that cases have been filed against the building owner and the owners of the factories for causing unlawful death.

    I wonder if Matthew Yglesias, and aluchko, will defend the decision of the factory owners to place one day’s profit above the lives of their workers.

  35. 35
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Maureen Brian

    A slippery slope that, thumper1990! The right to life comes under the “basic, human” category. It shouldn’t be negotiable nor should people have to trade it in so that they may eat.

    I agree. I’m saying that Bangladesh should have exactly the same system we do: a reasonable expectation of safety in the work place, and jobs which are more dangerous than average carry a financial incentive (“danger money”) for knowingly waiving your right to a safe working environment. I’m talking about jobs such as fishermen, loggers, deep-sea divers etc.; I’m certainly not saying that factory owners should have the right to operate unsafe and sub-standard facilities so long as they pay their workers Xp more per hour.

    Far more fun would be to take the CEOs and the the next 3 layers of management down and install each of them in a Bangladeshi textile factory – entirely at random – then keep them locked in, as the workers are often locked in, for a week.

    I think this would teach them a valuable lesson in empathy, quite apart from the fact it would amuse me greatly if we filmed the whole procedure Big Brother style.

  36. 36
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    To clarify: It is every employer’s moral (and, in a perfect world, legal) duty to minimise risk to their employees, and those jobs which still present significant risk, despite every effort being made to minimise it, should come with financial compensation for the employee.

  37. 37
    oursally

    When I buy new clothes (not often, actually) I check the tag to make sure they weren’t made in whichever country I disapprove of at the moment. If I add Bangladesh to the list – and I just did – will anybody be helped? I don’t know. If we all did this they would stop sewing T-shirts and go back to subsistence dirt-scratching; I am not naive enough to think they would go to college and become engineers and doctors. I don’t know the right answer to this.

    Quite often I make my clothes myself, which isn’t helping anyone, I suppose.

    I’ve never seen cloth made anywhere but Europe and India. Where do the Bangladeshis get their cloth from? And thread and sewing machines? Do they buy those garments themselves?

  38. 38
    Deen

    Yglesias seems to implicitly assume that there are a number of factories with varying levels of safety standards that compete for factory workers, and the workers just happen to make the rational choice to go for the ones with the higher pay, and the lower safety standards. Of course, in reality, all factories operate under the same market conditions, and make the same (or at least very similar) trade-offs between costs and safety, so there isn’t really that much choice for workers. And even if there were a wide spectrum of safety standards among companies, it’s still not true that workers can easily select which trade-off suits them best, as most options will not be local to most workers. When there is no real competition in a market, you can’t claim that the free market will automagically fix this.

  39. 39
    Deen

    @aluchko in #23″

    That extra safety is going to cost more, say a 10% reduction in salary, I’m certain the Bangladeshi needs that $190 a hell of a lot more than the American needs $5,000.

    But that already assumes that the extra costs will be offloaded on the worker, instead of on the buyers, or the owner and investors. If that were true, that would already be a sign that the workers need more protection from their employers, not less, because apparently the corporations have so much power over them that they can put workers in the position of having to choose between their wages and their safety to begin with.

    The people have to demand those improved regulations true, but do the people of Bangladesh want them?

    Is that even a question? You seem to forget that now that the factory has collapsed, they’re also not getting any wages anymore – not just 10% less, but nothing. I would say that they would probably very much prefer there to be some guarantees that the factory that they depend on for their income will remain there for them to work in.

  40. 40
    AJS

    Well, Yglesias is only saying out loud what many people seem to be making a great effort to avoid admitting.

    We in the West have laws mandating certain standards for things, such as the treatment of workers and protection of the environment. We don’t think it’s acceptable for British workers to be denied access to drinking water to limit bathroom visits, for instance. And we have laws against dumping s#!t all over the countryside.

    What we don’t have, and this is very telling in and of itself, are laws requiring that goods manufactured overseas must be manufactured under conditions that would be acceptable in the destination country. How is that supposed to be interpreted as anything other than an admission that it’s OK to treat foreign workers in ways in which it’s not OK to treat our own workers?

    Britain’s buying power is limited, so it wouldn’t make a lot of difference if we unilaterally demanded fair treatment of foreign workers; the worst that would happen is that we would have to rebuild our own manufacturing industry back up, and the prices of goods would skyrocket. But I certainly think a trading bloc the size of the EU would be in a position to press for real, lasting change on the international stage.

  41. 41
    po8crg

    “Bengali” is not the correct ethnonym for people from Bangladesh – it’s “Bangladeshi”. Bengalis are an ethnic group that comprises 98% of the Bangladeshi population, but there are also about 70 million Bengalis in India (primarily in West Bengal and Tripura), and a few million more in a world-wide diaspora.

  42. 42
    marcus

    An Associated Press cameraman who went into the rubble with rescue workers spoke briefly to a man pinned face down in the darkness between concrete slabs and next to two corpses. Mohammad Altab pleaded for help, but they were unable to free him.
    “Save us, brother. I beg you, brother. I want to live,” moaned Altab, a garment worker. “It’s so painful here … I have two little children.”
    Another survivor, whose voice could be heard from deep in the rubble, wept as he called for help.
    “We want to live brother; it’s hard to remain alive here. It would have been better to die than enduring such pain to live on. We want to live. Please save us,” the man cried.

    From Fox News
    At last report dozens of bodies have been pulled from the rubble.

    Fuck you Matthew Yglesias. You goddamn scum!

  43. 43
    Rob Grigjanis

    The good folk at LGM often find themselves shaking their heads at Matty’s droppings;

    Does his wrong position of the day stem from ignorance, privilege, limited intellectual capacity, or some combination thereof?

    I think the lad has just led a very sheltered life, too much of it in the company of people like Megan McArdle.

  44. 44
    Ben P

    What we don’t have, and this is very telling in and of itself, are laws requiring that goods manufactured overseas must be manufactured under conditions that would be acceptable in the destination country. How is that supposed to be interpreted as anything other than an admission that it’s OK to treat foreign workers in ways in which it’s not OK to treat our own workers?

    Britain’s buying power is limited, so it wouldn’t make a lot of difference if we unilaterally demanded fair treatment of foreign workers; the worst that would happen is that we would have to rebuild our own manufacturing industry back up, and the prices of goods would skyrocket. But I certainly think a trading bloc the size of the EU would be in a position to press for real, lasting change on the international stage.

    Or…they would start a trade war and everyone would be worse off, notwithstanding misguided idealism.

    Comparative advantage is a real thing that virtually economists accept, and history in the last 60-70 years tells us that probably the fastest way to improve human rights in a country is through economic development. Once people have their economic power/security they can start thinking about political rights.

    You want to pass a law saying that the UK (or the EU or the US for that matter) should pass a law that forbids importing Bangladeshi clothes until Bangladesh enforces worker safety and pay standards that are equivalent to the UK’s/EU/US whatever.

    Despite what you think, this will not result in “lasting change.” It will result in killing the textile market in Bangladesh and those people losing their jobs, which won’t come back. This will in turn result in much higher prices for those types of finished goods in the UK/EU/US. This on average, makes everybody in both countries poorer. It will also likely result in fraud and smuggling, which you have to try to police, which causes further issues.

    The Bangladeshi workers have every right to demand safe working conditions, and they should, and we should support them in that demand. However, virtually any economist will tell you that the Bangledeshis are better off having jobs sewing shirts for $2 a day than they are not having jobs sewing shirts for $2 a day. You can’t simply set aside economics and by passing a law, expect that they get jobs sewing shirts for $45 a day.

  45. 45
    Chie Satonaka

    The people have to demand those improved regulations true, but do the people of Bangladesh want them?

    Yes.

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/owner-forced-workers-into-doomed-factory-20130425-2igyo.html

    The cracks that suddenly appeared on Tuesday afternoon in the Rana Plaza building were large enough to send workers fleeing into the street.

    They made the television news that night, but the building’s owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, told reporters the sudden appearance of cracks was “nothing serious”.

    “None of us wanted to go in. The bosses came after us with beating sticks. In the end we were forced to go in.”

    Tens of thousands of garment workers took to the streets of Dhaka to protest their poor working conditions. They marched on the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association building, demanding the death penalty be handed to the owners of the Rana Plaza.

  46. 46
    Chie Satonaka

    Also, in the case of this building collapse, the factory owners didn’t even follow the regulations that DO exist. They weren’t authorized to build an 8 story building, they were authorized to build a 5 story building.

  47. 47
    jamessweet

    I find the ahistoricity of the argument far more troubling than the amorality.

    On the amorality of it: I’ll probably get flamed for saying so, but I think a case could be made that there is a grain of truth in the argument: If you could wave a magic wand and get Bangladesh to adopt (and rigorously enforce) strict OSHA-style regulations while simultaneously not changing anything else, I think you could make a case that this contrived and unrealistic scenario would be a net detriment to Bangladeshi workers: Unable to adapt overnight to the added cost, it could wreak havoc with the Bangladeshi economy, and arguably more people would die from poverty than would have died from unsafe working conditions. But like I say, that’s a contrived and unrealistic scenario, which brings us to…

    The ahistoricity of it: That’s not how this shit goes down. How it really goes down is that people agitate for better working conditions and better pay, the situation improves slowly, and in the end virtually everyone benefits.

    I don’t think that Yglesias calculus is necessarily cruel and immoral given the absurd implicit assumptions that are baked into the argument. The immorality only surfaces once those assumptions are exposed as the ahistorical lies that they are: It’s not that the calculus itself is flawed, it’s that the implicit assumptions are absurd in such a way that trying to apply the conclusion to the real world represents cruelty and immorality.

  48. 48
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Also, in the case of this building collapse, the factory owners didn’t even follow the regulations that DO exist

    Building and safety codes are worth nothing without enforcement. For the last 30 years, the number of safety and health inspectors working for OSHA, EPA, FDA, DoA, has been dropping fast. So it doesn’t matter if the codes exist, they can be ignored if there is no preemptive enforcement. Like the owners of the fertilizer plant in Texas, the owners in Bangladesh will be fined for not following the rules only after a disaster happens. This is the dream of the radical right come to reality.

  49. 49
    WharGarbl

    @Ogvorbis
    #48

    Like the owners of the fertilizer plant in Texas, the owners in Bangladesh will be fined for not following the rules only after a disaster happens. This is the dream of the radical right come to reality.

    I think you should add “lightly fined”. A extremely heavy fine would probably make compliance better, if you can make it high enough that “Fuck up, and we found out you didn’t comply? You’re going bankrupt.”

  50. 50
    raven

    This is Socialism. For the rich.

    Privatize the gains, socialize the losses.

    A factory owner gets rich, a few hundred people get dead.

    There are so many flaws in Yglesia’s nonreasoning that it is hard to know where to start. One glaring one is that making workplaces safer is going to be a huge burden on a company. Given the installed knowledge base worked out over a few centuries in the first world, it probably isn’t.

    Development can be fast, a matter of decades as we’ve seen in South Korea, China, Singapore etc.. This is because they can just copy what works elsewhere.

  51. 51
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    A extremely heavy fine would probably make compliance better,

    Not necessarily. Even if the fine is 20 times the cost of annual compliance for ten years, the chances of actually being caught, the chances of a problem big enough to get noticed, is so small that it is, for the company, a far better bet than doubling down on an ace.

  52. 52
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Sorry. I meant, of course, doubling down on a natural eleven, not an ace.

  53. 53
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Jobs that are unusually dangerous—in the contemporary United States that’s primarily fishing, logging, and trucking—pay a premium over other working-class occupations precisely because people are reluctant to risk death or maiming at work.

    In Southeast Alaska, we have a riddle: What’s the difference between a fisherman and a large pizza?

    This joking riddle is found all over the place, with various occupations substituted for “fisherman.” It’s not original to SEA. It’s always told in that “ha-ha, only serious” way, though. The punchline is based on the fact that most fishermen do not make a lot of money at all. They don’t get paid glorious wages because it’s dangerous. Hell, they don’t get paid glorious wages at all. By the time the skipper has paid for her boat, operating expenses, and taken her cut, there’s generally not a lot left for the deckhands. Comparatively, I mean.

    Sure, you can make several thousand in a few weeks of fishing. The “premium” (if there really is one) is based on long hours (often 12-18 hours a day), days at a time at sea, and so on. It’s not the danger — it’s the fact that it’s hard fucking work. And in the end, the pay isn’t that great. If you don’t live in the fishing area, you have to pay your own way (which is expensive). If you do live in the fishing area, you are stuck competing with all the other fisherfolk for the very few off-season jobs.

    What’s the difference between a fisherman and a large pizza?

    A large pizza can feed a family of four.

  54. 54
    glodson

    Not necessarily. Even if the fine is 20 times the cost of annual compliance for ten years, the chances of actually being caught, the chances of a problem big enough to get noticed, is so small that it is, for the company, a far better bet than doubling down on an ace.</blockquote.

    I was going to try and make that point, so I'm glad I refreshed before I posted

    If the companies feared being caught and fined, the fines would have bite. But if they don't think they're going to get caught, the fine won't outweigh the corner cutting savings. It is a risk versus reward. Even a high fine wouldn't hurt too much if there wasn't much chance of that fine hitting the company.

  55. 55
    glodson

    And I fucked that post up at 54. That’s what I get for not previewing.

    Let me try and fix it:

    Not necessarily. Even if the fine is 20 times the cost of annual compliance for ten years, the chances of actually being caught, the chances of a problem big enough to get noticed, is so small that it is, for the company, a far better bet than doubling down on an ace.

    I was going to try and make that point, so I’m glad I refreshed before I posted

    If the companies feared being caught and fined, the fines would have bite. But if they don’t think they’re going to get caught, the fine won’t outweigh the corner cutting savings. It is a risk versus reward. Even a high fine wouldn’t hurt too much if there wasn’t much chance of that fine hitting the company.

  56. 56
    iknklast

    Lawrence Summers. Pah. Isn’t he the one that said the problem is that the Third World isn’t polluted enough? I can’t find the reference today, so I’m not totally sure.

  57. 57
    Deen

    @Ben P in #44:

    It will result in killing the textile market in Bangladesh and those people losing their jobs, which won’t come back.

    Not necessarily, not if the EU or the US would ban using factory with substandard safety in all countries, not just Bangladesh. In that case, where would the textile business go to? Any edge that Bangladesh would have to those alternative locations would still be in place.

    This will in turn result in much higher prices for those types of finished goods in the UK/EU/US.

    Not necessarily, again, it may also simply cut into the profit margins of the companies here. Either way, that may not be such a bad thing, as we are clearly not paying for all the real costs of manufacturing at the moment.

    The Bangladeshi workers have every right to demand safe working conditions, and they should, and we should support them in that demand. However, virtually any economist will tell you that the Bangledeshis are better off having jobs sewing shirts for $2 a day than they are not having jobs sewing shirts for $2 a day. You can’t simply set aside economics and by passing a law, expect that they get jobs sewing shirts for $45 a day.

    Who here (or anywhere) is expecting that their wages can go up by a factor of more than 20 with no consequences? Besides, where did you get that number anyway? Even with all the safety standards we have, putting them in place and enforcing them is going to be done at local prices, not at Western prices.

  58. 58
    SallyStrange

    I’ll probably get flamed for saying so,

    If you have a legitimate point, then preemptive defensiveness about that point serves only to make you look like a whining, cowardly asshole.

    For what it’s worth, I thought your point was a good one, so I advise you to abandon “Don’t flame me bro!” tactic which is usually only used by horrible people saying horrible, indefensible things.

  59. 59
    leftwingfox

    The people have to demand those improved regulations true, but do the people of Bangladesh want them?

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/25/hundreds-of-thousands-of-bangladeshs-garment-workers-walk-out-in-protest-over-factory-deaths/

    More evidence that free-market fundamentalists are unglued from reality.

    http://grist.org/climate-energy/free-market-fans-hate-climate-science-heart-conspiracy-theories/

  60. 60
    Deen

    On a more general note, I can’t help but notice that most arguments for why we shouldn’t put safety standards in place that I see here, are arguments for why we shouldn’t make any improvements to the situations of workers in overseas factories. No safety standards, no wage increases, no protections against exploitation, no child labor protections, etc – all of which will cost money, and by the arguments I’m reading, because of that all of them will somehow make workers worse off.

    Also, I wonder if the effects of introducing proper safety standards would really be that bad for the Bangladesh economy. After all, it would create a lot of new jobs for renovating buildings, construction of new ones, re-tooling construction lines, training people, monitoring and enforcing regulations, etc – most of them jobs that are guaranteed to not be off-shored to other countries on the whim of some foreign company.

  61. 61
    Deen

    @Glodson in #55:

    Even a high fine wouldn’t hurt too much if there wasn’t much chance of that fine hitting the company.

    Never mind that the chance of the fine hitting the CEO who made the calls is even smaller. They get the bonus when they cut the costs, and they either leave before the place collapses to do the same at some other company, or get a golden parachute when the company goes down in flames.

  62. 62
    WharGarbl

    @SallyStrange
    #58

    For what it’s worth, I thought your point was a good one, so I advise you to abandon “Don’t flame me bro!” tactic which is usually only used by horrible people saying horrible, indefensible things.

    I think for his case, it should be more like “Don’t start flaming until you read the whole thing.”
    Although, if you need to use that, you could’ve probably put the “mitigating factors” earlier in the responses.

    @Ben P

    Comparative advantage is a real thing that virtually economists accept, and history in the last 60-70 years tells us that probably the fastest way to improve human rights in a country is through economic development. Once people have their economic power/security they can start thinking about political rights.

    Yes, comparative advantage exist, but that shouldn’t stop people from trying to improve ALL workers’ condition to a humanly acceptable level.
    Comparative advantage describes things like:
    Economy A can grow corn very well (corn friendly climate).
    Economy B can grow wheat very well (wheat friendly climate).
    Naturally, it’s efficient for Economy A to grow corn and Economy B to grow wheat and trade between them.
    Comparative advantage should not be used to justify something like:
    Economy A is unwilling to sacrifice human lives to make cheaper cloth
    Economy B is willing to sacrifice human lives to make cheaper cloth.

  63. 63
    Ben P

    Not necessarily, not if the EU or the US would ban using factory with substandard safety in all countries, not just Bangladesh. In that case, where would the textile business go to? Any edge that Bangladesh would have to those alternative locations would still be in place.

    They’d make them in the cheapest place possible, which might be local, cutting transport out of the question. Or it might be somewhere else cheaper than local. High prices will also drive automation.

    Comparative advantage tells us that both countries benefit by trade even if one has an absolute advantage in goods. When you artificially limit trade, you don’t get good results.

    Not necessarily, again, it may also simply cut into the profit margins of the companies here. Either way, that may not be such a bad thing, as we are clearly not paying for all the real costs of manufacturing at the moment.

    That’s not necessarily based on sound economics because it only works if Nike or one particular manufacturer gains or loses a benefit on the others. Almost all the same pressures on pricing exist at X and X+20. If manufacturing costs go up 20% across the board, ultimately prices go up, demand and supply will shift, but competition doesn’t necessarily change.

    Just as an aside, a quick look at stock margins says Nike’s profit margins are in the neighborhood of 10%, healthy but by no means high. Comparatively, Apple’s profit margins are 23.9% and in the recent past have been above 30%. Wal-Mart’s profit margin in a notoriously low margin industry is about 4.5 to 5%.

    Also, from a Macro perspective, there’s not much difference between prices at the store going up 20% or Nike making 20% less profit but prices not changing. The money is all circulating regardless.

    Who here (or anywhere) is expecting that their wages can go up by a factor of more than 20 with no consequences? Besides, where did you get that number anyway? Even with all the safety standards we have, putting them in place and enforcing them is going to be done at local prices, not at Western prices.

    That’s exactly the assumption you’re working with when you say that “we’re going to pass a law which will prohibit the importation of goods from X Country until they apply worker standards equivalent of those in our country.”

  64. 64
    WharGarbl

    @Deen

    On a more general note, I can’t help but notice that most arguments for why we shouldn’t put safety standards in place that I see here, are arguments for why we shouldn’t make any improvements to the situations of workers in overseas factories. No safety standards, no wage increases, no protections against exploitation, no child labor protections, etc – all of which will cost money, and by the arguments I’m reading, because of that all of them will somehow make workers worse off.

    Nevermind the fact that if major economy do it consistently (we don’t tolerate sub-human working condition ANYWHERE), you level the playing field.

    Yes, you might hurt Bangladesh textile workers IF their comparative advantage came almost entirely from treating workers horribly. But then, that’s not exactly a comparative advantage that can be sustained for long, look for other industries. But it’s unlikely, considering that the fact that they’ve a huge textile industry means that they already have the leg up on everyone else in terms of textile (where will you make your cloth given that you paid roughly the same shipping cost and per-cloth cost? A new place where you need to pay to setup another factory? Or one that already have all the factories you need to make all your cloth?)

    Also, I wonder if the effects of introducing proper safety standards would really be that bad for the Bangladesh economy. After all, it would create a lot of new jobs for renovating buildings, construction of new ones, re-tooling construction lines, training people, monitoring and enforcing regulations, etc – most of them jobs that are guaranteed to not be off-shored to other countries on the whim of some foreign company.

    Also if you’re worrying about the “shock” introduced to the economy, safety standards can be introduced gradually to give time for industries to adjust to it.

  65. 65
    leftwingfox

    BenP: So what about allowing and encouraging trade, but basing tariffs on labour costs? The importing company pays a tariff based on the difference between the labour costs to make the product in the exporting nation, and the minimum wage of the importing region?

    This would allow competition, since competitive advantages in areas such as expertise, shipping access to markets, competitive regional wages and population remain, but the ability to profit from the wage differential is gone? It wouldn’t force companies to raise the wages, but it would eliminate the downward pressure on wages to maintain profits.

  66. 66
    WharGarbl

    @Ben P
    #63

    Comparative advantage tells us that both countries benefit by trade even if one has an absolute advantage in goods. When you artificially limit trade, you don’t get good results.

    We’re not artificially limit trade. We’re saying that a country is not allowed to gain comparative advantages using certain means. Hell, we already do that!
    We banned import/export on endangered animals, removing the “comparative advantages” of countries with those animals.

  67. 67
    WharGarbl

    @leftwingfox
    #65

    BenP: So what about allowing and encouraging trade, but basing tariffs on labour costs? The importing company pays a tariff based on the difference between the labour costs to make the product in the exporting nation, and the minimum wage of the importing region?

    Sounds like a good idea, might be complicated to implement and enforce since.

    You need to define how such labour cost is calculated, also you need to take into account that some country have a lower cost of living, and therefore would only need a lower minimum wage for them to reach similar level of living condition as the imported region. So you’ll likely need to define the cost-of-living for each country.

    Another thing regarding comparative advantages, a friend I’m discuss this with just a few seconds ago brought up child prostitution as another example of restricting ways to gain comparative advantages. As sickening as it is, it is a very clear example. Most nations (industrialized or not) would not tolerate another country legalizing child prostitution to promote “tourism”.

  68. 68
    Deen

    @BenP:

    When you artificially limit trade, you don’t get good results.

    We want to regulate trade, not limit trade. You don’t get good results without regulation either, as we’ve seen here. I also like how you threw in “artificially” here, as if the current situation isn’t artificial too.

    If manufacturing costs go up 20% across the board, ultimately prices go up, demand and supply will shift, but competition doesn’t necessarily change.

    Which was kind of my point – if all countries would enforce similar safety standards, prices may go up, but Bangladesh wouldn’t loose their comparative advantage to other countries, so they won’t lose too much business.

    Also, you haven’t addressed my point that having prices go up might be a good thing, maybe even a necessity, because we’re apparently currently not paying a price that covers the real costs of offshore manufacturing. We’re not paying for the externalities that are being offloaded onto the workers and taxpayers of Bangladesh right now.

    Also, from a Macro perspective, there’s not much difference between prices at the store going up 20% or Nike making 20% less profit but prices not changing. The money is all circulating regardless.

    Not true, unless you want to assert that all players in the market have the same multiplier effect, or the same marginal use of extra income. And good luck defending that assertion.

    That’s exactly the assumption you’re working with when you say that “we’re going to pass a law which will prohibit the importation of goods from X Country until they apply worker standards equivalent of those in our country.”

    Huh? How is this in any way an answer to my questions? Let me repeat: Where did your number of $45 per day come from? And who here thinks that such an unrealistically large increase would have no bad consequences?

  69. 69
    leftwingfox

    So you’ll likely need to define the cost-of-living for each country.

    I don’t think that’s necessary. The purpose of such tariff is to eliminate the economic incentive of profiting off the difference in wages between nations. To that end, it doesn’t really matter if that wage differential is caused by financial fluctuations or local cost of living.

    Example: Company in China pays the equivalent of $1 in wages to make a product, compared to $10 in the US. They could sell their product at a cost which the local economy would support. They can also export those to the US, at the cost of a $9 tariff per product.

    Exact details on how the costs would be calculated is an open question. I think even at the most basic: (average labor cost per day * quarterly average exchange rate / average products created per day) the tariff would achieve the basic purpose of levelling the labour market between the importer and the exporter, while also serving as a method to tax overseas corporations seeking access to the importer’s markets.

    While other factors such as workplace safety and adherence to international environmental standards might also be factored in, I think as long as the system is applied in a consistent way by the importing nation the basic utility is maintained, allowing for tweaks to the system as necessary.

  70. 70
    Crissa

    If Chris Clarke everasks again why he’s on the losing side…

    …I only need to point to #2 on this list. Because he’s being an intemperate asshole. Yglesias supports the same density, urban-solar projects that he does. But he’s not an ally! Because… Well, because Chris doesn’t like to actually succeed, as far as I can tell.

    Whatever. With allies like Chris, no wonder Republicans beat us.

  71. 71
    Crissa

  72. 72
    chigau (違う)

    oooh
    bunnies

  73. 73
    Chie Satonaka

    Building and safety codes are worth nothing without enforcement.

    True. I’m just pointing out the idiocy of arguments like aluchko’s.

  74. 74
    Argle Bargle

    Fine, Crissa, Yglesias is your ally. Some of the rest of us aren’t impressed by the libertarian attitudes he spews.

  75. 75
    Deen

    @leftwingfox: Actually, I think your proposal would limit trade, because with the wage differences gone, a lot (maybe even most) of the incentives to do offshore manufacturing will be gone. Which in turn will remove much of the upward wage pressure in the offshore manufacturing countries that would have come from the extra demand for products from the US and EU.

    I also wonder who we should pay the tariff to. Never mind who is currently in a position to enforce such a tariff, who should benefit from the money collected in that way?

    What I personally see as the problem is that companies and countries can get unfair advantages by averting certain costs to third parties. What we need is effective regulation to make sure that doesn’t happen – international regulation. Of course, there’s the problem of who is going to enforce those too…

  76. 76
    Chris Clarke

    Crissa, you are one of the nastiest, least cooperative, worst-faith people that comments here. You have a metric buttload of nerve telling anyone that they’re a bad influence on anything.

    Keep your unpleasant self far away from my threads here.

  77. 77
    Chie Satonaka

    Yglesias supports the same density, urban-solar projects that he does. But he’s not an ally!

    So who cares about the cruel exploitation of labor around the world and right in this country (especially in the agricultural industry). Who cares if a few thousand brown people die, right? He’s green in other ways.

    Protip: The point of being green is to improve the health and well-being of the people and animals that live on this planet, now and in the future. If you’re already willing to toss a certain group of those people into the corporate machine because their plight doesn’t affect you directly, then your fucking green standards don’t mean shit.

  78. 78
    daniellavine

    Ben P:

    When you artificially limit trade, you don’t get good results.

    Except when you do.

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Kicking_Away_the_Ladder.html?id=X5N7JMS1wNYC

    “Free trade for thee, not for me.” Ulysses S. Grant has a great quote on this:

    “For centuries England has relied on protection, has carried it to extremes and has obtained satisfactory results from it. There is no doubt that it is to this system that it owes its present strength. After two centuries, England has found it convenient to adopt free trade because it thinks that protection can no longer offer it anything. Very well then, gentlemen, my knowledge of our country leads me to believe that within 200 years, when America has gotten out of protection all that it can offer, it too will adopt free trade.”

    He was too pessimistic. It only took us about 100 years to achieve England’s hypocrisy on this issue.

  79. 79
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Criss #70

    Yes, it’s totally out of order for Chris to call out someone for desperately trying to rationalise away the fact that they are a callous arsehole with no apparent compassion for his fellow human beings (or, apparently, endangered wildlife) who would rather have cheap T-shirts than ensure than ensure that some brown people on the other side of the world have a reasonable quality of life. What a bastard! How dare he!

  80. 80
    SallyStrange

    It is not actually efficient in any real way to manufacture clothes in Bangladesh to sell in America. If we paid the real price of oil extraction and production, as well as the real price of the social and environmental costs created by exploiting people in Bangladesh (rebuilding collapsed factories, for example), it would not be cheaper to buy clothes manufactured in Bangladesh than in the USA. The whole system rests on an unstable foundation of corporations relying on governments and taxpayers to pay for the externalities which whose costs can’t be delayed into the future, and future generations paying the costs that come due a couple of decades from now. The very existence of an economic concept called “externalities” should tell us that something is rotton in Denmark.

  81. 81
    leftwingfox

    Actually, I think your proposal would limit trade, because with the wage differences gone, a lot (maybe even most) of the incentives to do offshore manufacturing will be gone. Which in turn will remove much of the upward wage pressure in the offshore manufacturing countries that would have come from the extra demand for products from the US and EU.

    True, but any regulation is going to limit trade with companies you trade with. Regulation is necessary to create a floor within which companies can compete, so that actions which are profitable but immoral or unethical do not provide a competitive advantage to immoral and unethical companies. The tariff proposal is intended to provide a broad baseline for trade which doesn’t punish imported products compared to the local economy (hence pegging the cost to the national minimum wage), but also does not disproportionately reward companies who offshore to profit off the wage difference between nations.

    I also wonder who we should pay the tariff to. Never mind who is currently in a position to enforce such a tariff, who should benefit from the money collected in that way?

    Same people collecting tariff before: the national government receiving the imports would collect the tariff for the products coming into that nation. Originally free trade agreements were pitched as having a federal component to help displaced workers towards the competitive advantages and away from markets with competitive disadvantages. That never really happened, especially when prior tariffs and corporate taxes from offshoring companies disappeared.

    What I personally see as the problem is that companies and countries can get unfair advantages by averting certain costs to third parties. What we need is effective regulation to make sure that doesn’t happen – international regulation. Of course, there’s the problem of who is going to enforce those too…

    Right. This proposal is intended to be similar to a carbon tax: eliminate the competitive advantage of negative behaviour, then let the market equalize to find acceptable solutions within the those bounds.

  82. 82
    leftwingfox

    True, but any regulation is going to limit trade with companies you trade with

    blarg… should have been “True, but any regulation is going to limit trade with companies affected by that regulation.”

    That’s what happens when I go to lunch in the middle of a post…

  83. 83
    Anthony K

    Whatever. With allies like Chris, no wonder Republicans beat us.

    Ah, I see. Your strategy for success, and Yglesias’, is to adopt the Republicans’ position out from under them.

    That’s some strategy. Remember: when you toss that Molotov at the abortion clinic in the name of leftist, atheist success, be sure to account for which way the wind is blowing.

  84. 84
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Again, Ben P., it disgusts and appalls me that you actually work with poor people and think you “help” them.

  85. 85
    aluchko

    @Maureen Brian

    “To put the differences between Germany and Bangladesh down to some inherent lack in the Bangladeshis sounds like racism to me.”

    It’s nothing to do with race or culture, it’s society. It takes a long time for a culture to build up trustworthy social institutions and to trust those social institutions. It’s the same reason why you can’t just drop a fully functioning democracy in Iraq, they have to build up to it.

    As for the other parts of the German example I don’t know, but I’m sure both Germanies had much more functional social institutions in that time frame

    @thumper1990

    You’re still overlooking that fact that safety costs more, that’s why it’s not done already. Though I agree that in whole workplace safety is more of a societal decision than an individual one.

    @Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    I agree the 10% was made up.

    “and you fail to take into account that safety improvements may actually pay for themselves in the longer term, by increasing workforce health and morale, and reducing the risk the factory will collapse”

    If that’s the case I wholeheartedly support more safety, and so would Yglesias.

    ” Moreover, you appear to assume that the current distribution of the return on the goods as between workers, managers, factory owners, wholesalers and retailers is fixed and unquestionable. Why shouldn’t the extra up-front cost of the extra safety come from those better able to afford it, and not risking their lives?”

    The cost is going to be absorbed somewhere, probably all of those places, but I don’t think you’ll have much luck ensuring it’s born entirely by someone further up the chain (particularly if that makes it unprofitable).

    @Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    “I wonder if Matthew Yglesias, and aluchko, will defend the decision of the factory owners to place one day’s profit above the lives of their workers.”

    Actually I explicitly blamed them.

    @Deen

    The extra costs will be unloaded on everyone.

    And the collapsed factory is a single datapoint in the country. It could be that most Bangladeshi’s would say I’d rather make an extra $0.01/hr than not have a factory collapse every 10 years. I’m hoping they decide that inspectors should have the power to shut down obviously unstable buildings.

  86. 86
    daniellavine

    aluchko@85:

    You’re still overlooking that fact that safety costs more, that’s why it’s not done already. Though I agree that in whole workplace safety is more of a societal decision than an individual one.

    And you don’t see the problem with Yglesias making that decision on behalf of the citizens of Bangladesh?

  87. 87
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Aluchko #85

    It’s nothing to do with race or culture, it’s society. It takes a long time for a culture to build up trustworthy social institutions and to trust those social institutions.

    *best Game Show host impression*

    For a chance to win this fantastic fridge-freezer, let’s play “Spot the Contradiction”. Margaery, you’re up first…

  88. 88
    w00dview

    Yglesias supports the same density, urban-solar projects that he does. But he’s not an ally! Because… Well, because Chris doesn’t like to actually succeed, as far as I can tell.

    You seriously think, Chris, a dedicated environmentalist for most of his life should be allied with someone who says ignorant, short sighted, self serving tripe such as:

    Did the president really gut the Endangered Species Act yesterday while no one was paying attention? So I’ve heard, at any rate. If so, good riddance. You’ll all yell at me, I suppose, but really: Who cares? Species die, shit happens, get over it.

    Fuck that noise. Someone who spouts off shite like this is not a reliable ally for any social justice or environmental activist and as seen in this article, Yglesias seems to have the exact same attitude to Bangladeshi sweat shop workers as he does to Endangered Species: Who cares? Poor people die, shit happens, get over it.

    Why the hell should anyone want someone like that to be an ally to progressives? Yglesias would fit in much better with the assholes at the Cato Institute instead.

  89. 89
    aluchko

    thumper1990,

    Be serious. Would you trust the cops in Bangladesh as much as you would in the US or another developed nation? What about the cops in Zimbabwe or Somalia? To what do you attribute that difference? I don’t even know what contradiction you think I’m making.

  90. 90
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Aluchko

    Oop, sorry, missed the fact you directed one at me. I would rather pay a quid more per T-shirt than live with the knowledge I am wearing something that was made in unsafe conditions by someone working in a sweatshop. I would much rather pay a quid more and know that the person who sewed it had safe working conditions and a liveable wage, who could afford food and medicine and water for their family and didn’t have to live with the ever present fear of their workplace falling down on their head.

    BTW, do you have figures for how much it would cost? How much bigger are the overheads of similar companies based in the UK? For a company as big as, say, Nike a quid more per T-shirt should more than cover the increased costs of outsourcing to a company with some fucking morals.

  91. 91
    chigau (違う)

    Well, thumper1990 Alex
    I’ll take “Word Salad” for $500.
    oops
    wrong show

  92. 92
    Nick Gotts

    Ben P

    Comparative advantage is a real thing that virtually economists accept

    That does not mean there should never be any restraints on trade. No country, for example, has ever successfully industrialised without imposing import tariffs. (To anticipate a common neoclassical claim, Hong Kong is not an exception: during its industrialisation, it benefited from the British Empire’s “imperial preference” tariffs.) It is not going to be possible to contain anthropogenic climate change without international agreements that limit the use of fossil fuels; nor can threatened ecosystems and species be protected without restraints on trade.

    and history in the last 60-70 years tells us that probably the fastest way to improve human rights in a country is through economic development. Once people have their economic power/security they can start thinking about political rights.

    Evidence for this claim? By far the largest number of people lifted out of poverty anywhere, at any time in global history has been in the Peoples’ Republic of China over the past few decades. So far, there has been little if any improvement in political rights, nor much sign of large-scale agitation for them. In India, the populace gained political rights – specifically, the vote – at independence in 1947, since when, there have been none of the vast famines that occurred under British rule, despite very patchy economic development – so political rights can make a huge difference to people’s lives even without much economic development. In South Africa, the people struggled for and won political rights despite desperate poverty. In fact, there is no consistent connection between economic development and political rights at all; this claim is merely right-wing dogma, used to justify both shitty working conditions and lack of political rights in poor countries.

  93. 93
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    It’s nothing to do with race or culture, it’s society. It takes a long time for a culture to build up trustworthy social institutions and to trust those social institutions.

    Seems like a contradiction to me, but maybe I misread it. And what have the Police got to do with this? You don’t think the Police enforce safe building regulations and workspace regulations, do you?

    Anyway, seven o’clock here so I’m off. I’ll reply to you tomorrow.

  94. 94
    vaiyt

    There’s a libertarian generalization of this line of thinking, that regulating workplace safety infringes upon the freedom of workers to choose the risks they take.

    The only rights libertarian thought recognize for poor people: the right to die from preventable diseases, the right to work in unsafe conditions and the right to starve.

  95. 95
    aluchko

    @thumper1990

    If someone made a stamp or something that would let the consumer know something like “this garment was made in a factory that significantly exceeds the standard working conditions in the country” I’m sure a lot of people would pay a little extra. Though it might be possible that that’s already the case, ie these brutal factory jobs might be safer and better paying than non-factory jobs (I don’t really know if it’s the case).

    That being said I don’t have a clue how much higher safety standards would cost, particularly since there’s so many different levels of safety they could implement. That’s why I like the idea of getting the info into the hands of the consumer, I don’t trust Nike to raise the price of their shirt by $0.05 or $1 if it increases the life expectancy of their workers by 1 year, but if the consumer is aware of of that option they’ll happily pay. I still think those countries will reach good standards eventually even with the current system, but it would be nice to accelerate the process.

  96. 96
    SallyStrange

    If someone made a stamp or something that would let the consumer know something like “this garment was made in a factory that significantly exceeds the standard working conditions in the country” I’m sure a lot of people would pay a little extra. Though it might be possible that that’s already the case, ie these brutal factory jobs might be safer and better paying than non-factory jobs (I don’t really know if it’s the case).

    Golly, it’s almost as if all the assumptions that underlie free market ideology–consumers act in their rational best self-interest, information about manufacturing methods is widely available, consumers are well-informed about the source of the products they buy, etc.–are totally false.

  97. 97
    vaiyt

    @BenP

    history in the last 60-70 years tells us that probably the fastest way to improve human rights in a country is through economic development. Once people have their economic power/security they can start thinking about political rights.

    Economic development means jack squat without decent social policy. All the extra wealth needs to actually go to the people in order to be of any benefit. And believe me, my country tried to “make the cake grow and then distribute the slices afterwards”. It didn’t fucking work. In fact, the more the cake grew, the smaller the slice of the poor got.

  98. 98
    vaiyt

    Continuing @97 – as a result, we ended up with a G8-caliber economy and millions of people starving.

  99. 99
    Chris Clarke

    I still think those countries will reach good standards eventually even with the current system

    Those countries reach “good standards” because the people who suffer from the bad standards put their lives on the line to win them through political activism, labor organizing, and other means. It’s not an automatic or easy process.

    Basically what you’re saying here is “eventually enough people will die that it will become intolerable to their friends and families, and the injured, disabled, widowed and orphaned will rise up in their pain and demand better conditions, likely at the cost of more lives.”

    It must be really comfortable to have so little empathy that you can see that process and not intervene somehow, instead seeing that human suffering as plastic figures on some imaginary World Market War Room strategy board — one figure equals 5,000 workplace fatalities!

    I used the word “sociopath” in my post, to which llewelly reasonably objected, but I used it for a reason. Arguments like aluchko’s are the reason.

  100. 100
    Nick Gotts

    aluchko

    Moreover, you appear to assume that the current distribution of the return on the goods as between workers, managers, factory owners, wholesalers and retailers is fixed and unquestionable. Why shouldn’t the extra up-front cost of the extra safety come from those better able to afford it, and not risking their lives?”

    The cost is going to be absorbed somewhere, probably all of those places, but I don’t think you’ll have much luck ensuring it’s born entirely by someone further up the chain (particularly if that makes it unprofitable).

    Oh, right, so you propose we just shrug our shoulders and accept that our cheap garments require the intermittent crushing or burning of Bangladeshi workers as well as their shitty wages.

    I wonder if Matthew Yglesias, and aluchko, will defend the decision of the factory owners to place one day’s profit above the lives of their workers.

    Actually I explicitly blamed them.

    Well, what you said was:

    What failed spectacularly is the enforcement since the factory owners simply ignored the rules and no one felt they had the authority to enforce them. Now they’ve just seen a brutal example of what happens when someone builds a ridiculously unsafe factory and doesn’t shut it down when it crumbles. Hopefully the next time this happens they’ll either listen to the inspector voluntarily or the inspector will have the popular support to make them.

    Hardly a ringing condemnation, is it? You just hope it will be better next time – as if this was an isolated occurrence: a fire in a garment factory killed over 100 as recently as last November, and another fire in such a factory killed 7 more recently. But in any case, what you appear not to see is that the owners’ actions, and the lack of enforcement, are aspects of the very same corrupt but highly profitable system that makes it possible for the owners to pay shitty wages and run unsafe factories in the first place – which you evidently think we as consumers have no responsibility to oppose. It’s actually inconsistent to object to the owners forcing their workers into the factory on this particular day, and not to the grossly exploitative economic system that made it possible for them to do so.

  101. 101
    Anthony K

    Oh, right, so you propose we just shrug our shoulders and accept that our cheap garments require the intermittent crushing or burning of Bangladeshi workers as well as their shitty wages.

    “All that is necessary for progressivism to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

    Good luck, Bangladesh. We’d be rooting for you, but that would take effort. We’re sure you’ll get there eventually. Meanwhile, I’m a size L. I’ll take a couple of smoke-damaged tees if you’ll give me 10% off.

  102. 102
    daniellavine

    Ben P@44:

    Comparative advantage is a real thing that virtually economists accept, and history in the last 60-70 years tells us that probably the fastest way to improve human rights in a country is through economic development. Once people have their economic power/security they can start thinking about political rights.

    Is that how it happened in the US? Think carefully. Did most of the US’s economic development take place before or after organized labor? Before or after the New Deal?

  103. 103
    David Marjanović

    Los Angeles? If it weren’t for the LACM and the tar pit, I‘d say we take awf and nuke the entire site frahm orbit. It’s the only way to be sure. Plus, the mushroom cloud would probably stay in that basin for three thousand years.

    An economic hypothesis currently being tested in China.

    Exactly. Plus, China is full of burning coal seams.

    What’s next, allying with the Nazis (*) because of their shared concern about the health of our beautiful German forests?

    (*) technically not a Godwin, is it?

    Of course it is. Godwin’s Law just states that the probability of a comparison to the Nazis approaches 1 as a discussion becomes longer.

    And yes, on rare occasions Neonazis have been ostentatiously concerned about the German forest (singular just like “the enemy”).

    By far the largest number of people lifted out of poverty anywhere, at any time in global history has been in the Peoples’ Republic of China over the past few decades. So far, there has been little if any improvement in political rights, nor much sign of large-scale agitation for them.

    There is large-scale mockery of censorship, though, what with Franco-Croatian cuttlefish, legendary grass mud horses fighting against evil river crabs, and… uh… there’s no way to summarize this comment in fewer words than it has.

    Trigger warning: casual mention of rape in a comment about halfway down the page.

    Golly, it’s almost as if all the assumptions that underlie free market ideology–consumers act in their rational best self-interest, information about manufacturing methods is widely available, consumers are well-informed about the source of the products they buy, etc.–are totally false.

    WHAT YOU SAY !!

  104. 104
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    aluchko
    Bullshit
    You’re looking at a small-scale picture starting from false premises.
    (Note how Yglesias with whom you agree and you yourself contradict each other.Your claim is that safety would make goods too expensive, his point is that people make more money because it’s dangerous)
    But back to the bullshit:
    Lack of safety and environmental regulations cost countires like Bangladesh serious money and serious opportunities in development. Because those are not “victimless crimes.” People get hurt, killed, maimed, slowly poisoned. They drop out of the workforce and need to be supported. Now, large families mean that there are enough people needing a job to replace that person in the factory. It also means that people are under an extreme pressure to take jobs that starve them slowly. Because most starvation on this planet isn’t “no food for 3 weeks dead”. It’s only meeting your energy needs by 80 or 90% over a long time.
    It costs Bangladesh serious money in terms of welfare and healthcare. It means that there is no money to invest in education, the thing that might move them up on the global ladder. No money for infrastructure projects.
    Why do you think the USA spends much more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation while getting much worse results? It’s the same. fucking. reason.
    Insisting that workers in Bangladesh or elsewhere need to take shitty wages and conditions means that you just want to keep them in constant misery.

  105. 105
    SallyStrange

    Oh, Giliell! Those aren’t “costs”! Because SOMEONE ELSE pays them. Not you, not me, not the manufacturer–just the poor unfortunate people who didn’t have the sense to be born in a different country. Externalities! That’s the name of the game here.

  106. 106
    Maureen Brian

    aluchko,

    Two questions –

    Q1: How long has Bangladesh existed as a country rather than an exploitable portion of one empire or another?

    Q2: At what stage would you graciously permit the locals to start demanding safe working conditions and better pay?

    I only ask because the push for such things began here in England in the wake of the Black Death – 1350-ish – and not only are we not quite there yet, we are suffering a temporary setback from a government of idiots whose economics is all about magic formulae and never about people.

  107. 107
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m sorry, Sally
    *hangs head and takes off the big-picture glasses*
    *squints*
    Better?

  108. 108
    SallyStrange

    I dunno, Giliell. Your vision may still not be narrow enough to really buy into neoliberal free marketism. Maybe try gouging out one of your eyes?

  109. 109
    David Marjanović

    Obligatory: AAAAAAAAH! THE GOGGLES, THEY DO NOTHING!!!

  110. 110
    aluchko

    @thumper1990

    My bad, I thought I wrote “It takes a long time for a society to build up trustworthy social institutions”

    Which is similar to culture, though subtly different.

  111. 111
    Rutee Katreya

    Comparative advantage is a real thing that virtually economists accept, and history in the last 60-70 years tells us that probably the fastest way to improve human rights in a country is through economic development. Once people have their economic power/security they can start thinking about political rights.

    Really. What time n’ Space pocket did Chile, China, India, and for that matter, the USA occupy in the last 60-70 years that you say this as some sort of absolute?

  112. 112
    Rutee Katreya

    Incidental note, Ben P is reminding me of a saying that should exist more. “The difference between micro and macro-economics is that Microeconomists are people who are wrong about specific things, and macroeconomists are wrong about things in general.”

  113. 113
    daniellavine

    aluchka@110:

    “Society” is a broader category and includes “culture” as a part.

    Here’s a dictionary definition:

    1. The aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.
    2. The community of people living in a particular region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations.

  114. 114
    aluchko

    @Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    “Oh, right, so you propose we just shrug our shoulders and accept that our cheap garments require the intermittent crushing or burning of Bangladeshi workers as well as their shitty wages.”

    I’m saying that some people live in really shitty circumstances and it’s not easy to fix. Right now globalization is increasing their standard of living rapidly, not nearly quickly enough, but it’s improving. Think of the market as the environment, there’s a lot of forces at work and some really bad stuff that’s going on. Sometimes stuff gets broken and you have to fix it, and sometimes you just think you can do better, but sometimes a well meaning intervention causes more problems than it’s worth.

    I’d happily pay more for a shirt if it meant better wages, living conditions, and worker safety. I also know it’s hard to get that option.

    “Hardly a ringing condemnation, is it? You just hope it will be better next time – as if this was an isolated occurrence: a fire in a garment factory killed over 100 as recently as last November, and another fire in such a factory killed 7 more recently. But in any case, what you appear not to see is that the owners’ actions, and the lack of enforcement, are aspects of the very same corrupt but highly profitable system that makes it possible for the owners to pay shitty wages and run unsafe factories in the first place – which you evidently think we as consumers have no responsibility to oppose. It’s actually inconsistent to object to the owners forcing their workers into the factory on this particular day, and not to the grossly exploitative economic system that made it possible for them to do so.”

    I thought it was obvious that no one would approve of a factory owner operating a crumbling building after being told by multiple parties that no one thought it was safe.

    My issue is the system that allowed that factory owner to keep operating. Safety depends on circumstances, if you live in a very unsafe country you’re probably willing to work in a very unsafe factory. If these incidents are outraging Bangladeshi’s and they want better regs we should support them so they don’t have to fight for it the way we did, but if the average Bangladeshi says ‘screw that, I just want the extra jobs created by the shoddy expansion and I’m willing to accept the risks’ than we should question forcing regs on them that they don’t want.

  115. 115
    daniellavine

    (It’s still a contradiction to say what you said because “trust in social institutions” is in fact an aspect of culture.)

  116. 116
    aluchko

    @daniellavine

    Forget the words, surely you understand what I’m trying to say?

    There’s nothing wrong with their culture, but it takes time to learn you can trust a cop, a bureaucrat, or the guy at the corner store, and it takes time for them to become trustworthy. It’s a process of years, probably generations where society becomes more functional and cooperation more prevalent. You can try to speed this up but I don’t think it’s something you can impose externally (which it feels like people here want to do).

  117. 117
    Chris Clarke

    I’m saying that some people live in really shitty circumstances and it’s not easy to fix. Right now globalization is increasing their standard of living rapidly, not nearly quickly enough, but it’s improving.

    Unsupportable assumptions based on religious ideology are frowned on here.

  118. 118
    chigau (違う)

    What about The Prime Directive?

  119. 119
    aluchko
    I’m saying that some people live in really shitty circumstances and it’s not easy to fix. Right now globalization is increasing their standard of living rapidly, not nearly quickly enough, but it’s improving.

    Unsupportable assumptions based on religious ideology are frowned on here.

    I’m sorry, but what the hell does this have to do with religion? And I assume you’re using a very loose definition of ‘religion’ like assuming I’m a libertarian (false), instead of assuming I’m religious (also false). Or claiming it’s religious because my assertions are unsupported which is also false (I’m hoping the actual formatting on the hyperlink isn’t as bad as the preview)

  120. 120
    daniellavine

    aluchka@116:

    Forget the words, surely you understand what I’m trying to say?

    When you describe a problem of culture and then rather stridently declare it not to be a problem of culture then no, I’m not entirely sure I understand what you’re trying to say. “Forget the words” is a rather bad foundation on which to build an edifice of mutual comprehension.

    You can try to speed this up but I don’t think it’s something you can impose externally (which it feels like people here want to do).

    What makes you think so? I see very little indication of this. What I see is expressions of support for the people of Bangladesh and consternation that US foreign policy and the policies of big business (which are essentially the same policies at this point in history) seem to undermine efforts at improving the civil society, economy, and standard of living within Bangladesh.

    There’s no nefarious schemes here, just people who disagree with the neoliberal dogma you’re parroting.

  121. 121
    daniellavine

    aluchka@119:

    I think Chris is merely stating what seems to be a consensus here which is that neoliberal doctrine is a faith-based religious dogma.

  122. 122
    SallyStrange

    Not to mention, “not imposing externally” is a horse that’s already left the barn.

    Unless you have evidence of a widespread grassroots campaign from Bangladeshis in favor of turning their country into a destination for corporations looking for low-wage laborers to exploit?

  123. 123
    Chris Clarke

    Me: “you’re a coal-hearted amoral sociopath who treats poor people as bargaining chips, you don’t care when they die, and you’re spouting religious drivel!”

    aluchko: “I am NOT spouting religious drivel!”

    Comedy gold. For really annoying, tedious and repetitive values of “comedy.”

  124. 124
    aluchko

    @daniellavine

    “What makes you think so? I see very little indication of this. What I see is expressions of support for the people of Bangladesh and consternation that US foreign policy and the policies of big business (which are essentially the same policies at this point in history) seem to undermine efforts at improving the civil society, economy, and standard of living within Bangladesh.”

    I don’t think anyone is trying to “undermine efforts at improving the civil society, economy, and standard of living within Bangladesh.” What I suspect is that a lot of companies don’t care and build at the Bangladeshi level of civil society, economy, and standard of living because it’s cheap, and that help a bit. And others do care and build at a higher standard, which helps more.

  125. 125
    SallyStrange

    I don’t think anyone is trying to “undermine efforts at improving the civil society, economy, and standard of living within Bangladesh.” What I suspect is that a lot of companies don’t care and build at the Bangladeshi level of civil society, economy, and standard of living because it’s cheap, and that help a bit. And others do care and build at a higher standard, which helps more.

    What evidence do you have that the multinational companies generating billions of profits by exploiting the current corrupt state of affairs in Bangladesh are “helping” anyone but their own bottom lines?

  126. 126
    aluchko

    @daniellavine

    I think Chris is merely stating what seems to be a consensus here which is that neoliberal doctrine is a faith-based religious dogma.

    Well I’m an atheist who thinks the US needs universal healthcare and my home country of Canada should have a higher tax rate.

    So I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the shoe doesn’t fit.

    @Chris Clarke

    Me: “you’re a coal-hearted amoral sociopath who treats poor people as bargaining chips, you don’t care when they die, and you’re spouting religious drivel!”

    aluchko: “I am NOT spouting religious drivel!”

    Comedy gold. For really annoying, tedious and repetitive values of “comedy.”

    A: All you accused me of is ‘sprouting religious drivel’. But as to “a coal-hearted amoral sociopath who treats poor people as bargaining chips, you don’t care when they die” I’ll happily call you an asshole.

    Yeah I should stay civil but I’m pissed off at being called names and want to respond in the like. Have you heard of the “theory of mind”? According to wikipedia Theory of mind (often abbreviated “ToM”) is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own.

    People usually develop it from ages 2-3.

    An example might be you think the best way to get downtown from here is 109th st, I think it’s 75th st. I might be wrong, you might be wrong, but the fact I’m taking 75th st doesn’t actually mean I don’t want to go downtown, I just think we need a different path to get there.

    Again I’m sorry for acting like an asshole but I want to make sure you understand how far off base your characterizations of me are. I came here to explain how someone could disagree with you without being a horrible human being, not to be called one myself.

  127. 127
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Funny how threads like this always bring out the morally bankrupt liberturds, who spout their theology ad nauseum. And keep proving to the world they are arrogant, know nothing about economics, are arrogant, know nothing about politics, are arrogant, know nothing about history, are arrogant, can’t be shown wrong no matter how convincing and solid the evidence against them is, are arrogant, are arrogant, and oh, did I mention arrogant?
    All they have to do is to spout their amoral drivel, and they drive people away from their ideas. Nobody wants to be associated with such unfeeling and uncaring theobots in need of a compassion/empathy transplant.

  128. 128
    Jadehawk

    As for the other parts of the German example I don’t know, but I’m sure both Germanies had much more functional social institutions in that time frame

    unglued from reality, indeed. what social institution do you imagine Germany had, functional or otherwise, after being bombed to all hell and having its entirely sociolpolitical structure dismantled?

    Would you trust the cops in Bangladesh as much as you would in the US or another developed nation?

    given that I have social privilege over Bangladeshi cops, but not over US cops… yeah. I probably have a lot less to fear from the former than the latter.

    Once people have their economic power/security they can start thinking about political rights.

    the history of development has not borne out this assertion; literature in development in fact shows evidence that political freedoms are necessary to advance economic wellbeing, since without the former, the latter accrues almost exclusively to those already in power, with very few exceptions.

    “It takes a long time for a society to build up trustworthy social institutions”

    and on that note: economic and political oppression makes social institutions less trustworthy; political and economic empowerment of oppressed classes makes social institutions more beholden to them, and thus more trustworthy. It doesn’t work the other way ’round. Because where is the trust supposed to come from, when the social institutions are blatantly engaged in shitting on you?

    Right now globalization is increasing their standard of living rapidly, not nearly quickly enough,

    well that is certainly true enough, given that Bangladeshis won’t get wealthy enough to emigrate quickly enough before the glorious free market summarily drowns them in ocean water

    Think of the market as the environment, there’s a lot of forces at work and some really bad stuff that’s going on.

    social darwinism ftl.

    If these incidents are outraging Bangladeshi’s and they want better regs

    you can shove that if where the sun don’t shine. you don’t even have the excuse of ignorance anymore, ffs.

    but it takes time to learn you can trust a cop, a bureaucrat, or the guy at the corner store, and it takes time for them to become trustworthy.

    they won’t become trustworthy without power in the hands who are supposed to trust them. workers rights make social institutions in which workers engage “trustworthy”, because they’re accountable to the workers.

    You can try to speed this up but I don’t think it’s something you can impose externally (which it feels like people here want to do).

    how the fuck does one impose labor rights externally?

    my assertions are unsupported which is also false (I’m hoping the actual formatting on the hyperlink isn’t as bad as the preview)

    GDP != standard of living. GDP is how much money is produced, not how well people are able to pursue their goals and cover their needs

  129. 129
    SallyStrange

    A: All you accused me of is ‘sprouting religious drivel’. But as to “a coal-hearted amoral sociopath who treats poor people as bargaining chips, you don’t care when they die” I’ll happily call you an asshole.

    Great! Nobody wants you to hold back from saying what you think.

    Yeah I should stay civil

    Civility is overrated. Honesty and accuracy are preferable.

    but I’m pissed off at being called names and want to respond in the like.

    Awww, diddums.

    Have you heard of the “theory of mind”?

    Something that comes up fairly often around here, actually.

    According to wikipedia

    Usually people cite more in-depth sources than wikipedia about it, but whatevs.

    Theory of mind (often abbreviated “ToM”) is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own.

    People usually develop it from ages 2-3.

    My theory of your mind is that it’s artificially simplistic because you’ve limited your ability to perceive information that contradicts your current worldview.

  130. 130
    Chris Clarke

    aluchko, you started your participation in this thread with the declaration that you signed on to Matthew Yglesias’s heinously immoral post on Slate. I pretty much wrote you off as a worthwhile correspondent at that very moment.

    You say the shoe doesn’t fit? Fine. All I have to go on here is the arguments you’ve made. Based entirely on those, I concluded you have a whole lot of received false knowledge and moral apathy where your heart ought to be. Perhaps that’s unfair. But to complain about it, you really ought to reconsider starting out your participation in threads by chiming in that it’s a good thing Yglesias wished all those poor people into the cornfield.

    I find your comments here absolutely fucking disgusting. Don’t like that? Change your comments, because I’m not about to change my moral sensibilities absent a whole lot better reason than some whining FreeTrader’s blathering on a blog comment thread.

    Or, you know. You could just decide I’m an asshole and go away. Either works just fine for me.

  131. 131
    Jadehawk

    I don’t think anyone is trying to “undermine efforts at improving the civil society, economy, and standard of living within Bangladesh.”

    you don’t, do you. ignorant dolt.
    here are a few random examples of how various someones are undermining any attempts at improving conditions in Bangladesh
    http://www.thenation.com/blog/171628/documents-undermine-walmart-account-deadly-bangladesh-fire#
    http://www.actionaidusa.org/australia/2010/10/us-energy-policy-undermines-hunger-fight
    http://www.fmreview.org/preventing/hoshour

    What I suspect is that a lot of companies don’t care and build at the Bangladeshi level of civil society, economy, and standard of living because it’s cheap

    your suspicions are stupid and unfounded. Companies actively undermine efforts by workers, worker’s rights organizations, and civil society groups to protect and improve conditions for people in Bangladesh.

  132. 132
    SallyStrange

    Companies actively undermine efforts by workers, worker’s rights organizations, and civil society groups to protect and improve conditions for people in Bangladesh.

    Hell, they do that here in the USA.

  133. 133
    Jadehawk

    Well I’m an atheist who thinks the US needs universal healthcare and my home country of Canada should have a higher tax rate.

    I have some very choice words for someone who thinks North Americans deserve a safety net to protect them from the depredations of naked Capitalism, but poor foreign folks don’t.

  134. 134
    Jadehawk

    Hell, they do that here in the USA.

    and they’ve been doing their very best to try to do it in Europe, as well. Walmart failed at this in Germany, but not for lack of trying. And it’s not like others haven’t been succeeding in this *coughausteritycough*

  135. 135
    glodson

    I came here to explain how someone could disagree with you without being a horrible human being, not to be called one myself.

    There are cogent arguments with which one can dissent and not be an asshole. That is possible with some issues. It is possible to dissent in terms of how to implement some reforms, or the best course of action, and numerous other areas. One can even be ignorant of the larger issue and still not be an asshole.

    However, the arguments you make in this thread aren’t of those type. They are more in the vein of a person that sees the lives of others in terms of dollars and cents. If this was your intent, to dissent without being a horrible human being, you failed spectacularly. Maybe you should rethink how you see the needs of poverty stricken workers, and the systemic measures enacted by companies to ensure they have a cheap pool of labor with which they can show little regard to in terms of safety.

  136. 136
    aluchko

    @Jadehawk

    unglued from reality, indeed. what social institution do you imagine Germany had, functional or otherwise, after being bombed to all hell and having its entirely sociolpolitical structure dismantled?

    I didn’t mean specific institutions, I meant the society. People understood they could create a non-corrupt, functional, and prosperous society, and they were well educated. Even with the country pulverized they knew from experience that they could cooperate and rapidly get things working. Bangladeshi’s don’t have the benefit of this experience (this is one of the reasons it’s so hard to go and plop down a functional democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t have the experience that tells them it will work).

    given that I have social privilege over Bangladeshi cops, but not over US cops… yeah. I probably have a lot less to fear from the former than the latter.

    I meant for Bangladeshi’s, Bangladesh clearly has a far higher corruption level and that’s hard to fix.

    As for the other bits social darwinism is something completely different, I was just stating that the intuition behind evolution, that a lot of small subtle forces can make a drastic effect, is the same behind the free market. (and no, I’m not a hard core free market capitalist and GPD was just the best measure I could think of on short notice, do you have a better one?)

    @SallyStrange

    I mention theory of mind because I honestly think people are really bad at it and often make the error. I’ll say personally that when someone does something that causes X, or I think will cause X, it’s really hard for me to accept that X isn’t their intent and I have to make a conscious effort to accept that.

    My theory of your mind is that it’s artificially simplistic because you’ve limited your ability to perceive information that contradicts your current worldview.

    Frankly I think I spend a hell of a lot more time and effort trying to understand people who disagree with me than most. I honestly don’t know if I’m right on this subject. But one thing I do believe is this isn’t a moral question, it’s a wonk question. We all want Bangladeshi’s to have wonderful, well paying, and safe jobs, the question is how do we get there. People here are acting like anyone who thinks a different method is better is some sort of amoral sociopath. How are you supposed to consider someone else’s worldview if you think they’re an amoral sociopath?

    @Chris Clarke

    I don’t mind if you disagree with my arguments. But if my arguments lead you to think “you have a whole lot of received false knowledge and moral apathy where your heart ought to be” than I think you need to examine your own beliefs because you’ve come to an extremely inaccurate conclusion.

    @Jadehawk

    The walmart and the mine links are two of the first things I’ve seen that actually make a serious argument against my position. I don’t know enough about those sites to make conclusions based on them but I’m definitely taking them seriously. For the corn ethanol I’ve always opposed corn ethanol for that reason among others, but isn’t that a case of good intentions gone awry which is more in line with my position?

  137. 137
    SallyStrange

    I’ll say personally that when someone does something that causes X, or I think will cause X, it’s really hard for me to accept that X isn’t their intent and I have to make a conscious effort to accept that.

    Really? I have no difficulty accepting that people often do things that have an outcome they did not intend. The problem is that because people are highly motivated to think of themselves as good people who don’t do bad things, pointing out that their actions have bad effects gets interpreted as “you’re a bad person” and then they go into denial about what the effects of their actions actually are.

    But one thing I do believe is this isn’t a moral question, it’s a wonk question.

    You’re wrong: it’s both.

    We all want Bangladeshi’s to have wonderful, well paying, and safe jobs, the question is how do we get there.

    You’re wrong: there are people who actively want to prevent Bangladeshis from having well-paying, non-dangerous jobs, because they value profit more than other people’s lives. And there are people who simply don’t care whether Bangladeshis get hurt and killed in the process of manufacturing the cheap goods they enjoy. Any course of action towards ensuring good, safe jobs for Bangladeshis that does not take the existence of these two groups of people is bound to fail.

    People here are acting like anyone who thinks a different method is better is some sort of amoral sociopath. How are you supposed to consider someone else’s worldview if you think they’re an amoral sociopath?

    First of all, amoral sociopaths are part of our society and a great many of them are not criminals but law-abiding citizens. They happen to be over-represented in high-powered positions, such as CEOs of corporations that set up sweatshops in developing countries. In order to live in this world, you kind of have to consider their worldview. You can think it’s awful, but you do have to consider it.

    Second of all, if you’re coming off as an amoral sociopath despite your lack of intention to come off that way, perhaps it’s time to consider why that is and maybe change your approach.

  138. 138
    SallyStrange

    The walmart and the mine links are two of the first things I’ve seen that actually make a serious argument against my position.

    Really? Can you please explain why the concept of externalities and false efficiencies embedded in the model you claim is beneficial to Bangladeshis failed as a challenge to your position?

  139. 139
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But one thing I do believe is this isn’t a moral question, it’s a wonk question.

    It’s about morals. And your lack of them, with compassion and empathy. You are living proof the liberturd motto/slogan “I’ve got mine, fuck you”.

  140. 140
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    One thing from way upthread:

    I wonder if the effects of introducing proper safety standards would really be that bad for the Bangladesh economy. After all, it would create a lot of new jobs for renovating buildings, construction of new ones require a lot of capital investment

    Bangladesh’s newly-opened-up neighbour Myanmar is even poorer.

    Guess where the replacement factory’s going to be.

  141. 141
    Jadehawk

    People understood they could create a non-corrupt, functional, and prosperous society

    they did? based on what? because as far as they were concerned, they hadn’t been able to do any such thing.

    knew from experience that they could cooperate and rapidly get things working.

    what are you talking about.

    this is one of the reasons it’s so hard to go and plop down a functional democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t have the experience that tells them it will work

    ahistorical nonsense: by the time the Soviets and Americans started fighting over who gets to shit on Afghanistan more, they had only slightly less experience with democracy than Germans did. The same is true for Iraq, which had tried being a republic before US cash turned it into Saddam’s Playground.

    The walmart and the mine links are two of the first things I’ve seen that actually make a serious argument against my position.

    so you didn’t even fucking try to read the articles disproving your “yeabut what if the Bangladeshis don’t want worker’s rights?” BS.

    For the corn ethanol I’ve always opposed corn ethanol for that reason among others, but isn’t that a case of good intentions gone awry which is more in line with my position?

    in what universe is subsidizing US corn production “good intention”?

  142. 142
    Jadehawk

    oh and incidentally, if extreme corruption, mistrust of social functions and cynicism about the democratic process, combined with no history of successful extended democratic government prevented people from being able to have democracy and economic empowerment, why does Poland not look like Bangladesh?

  143. 143
    Jadehawk

    I had to go back and have a closer lok at this “but Germany was different” conversation again. At first, the reason why Bangladesh can’t have strong worker safety was this:

    Germany had a strong economy and industry that was able to develop or implement new technologies to efficiently implement the regs. In Bangladesh I’m betting their industrial sector is quite fragile, if they don’t have the investment, infrastructure, and technical skills to achieve that level of innovation they’ll just go out of business.Because of course post-war Germany didn’t have a fragile industrial sector, and didn’t need epic fucktonnes of investment.
    Then, when pointed out how much crap that was, he responded with this:

    It’s nothing to do with race or culture, it’s society. It takes a long time for a culture to build up trustworthy social institutions and to trust those social institutions. It’s the same reason why you can’t just drop a fully functioning democracy in Iraq, they have to build up to it.

    As for the other parts of the German example I don’t know, but I’m sure both Germanies had much more functional social institutions in that time frame

    again, where the fuck were those “functional social institutions” supposed to be, in a country that had just had their totalitarian state dismantled; a totalitarian state that was the direct result of having had a weak, ineffective republic in which the old aristocrats still held power and where political parties found open battles in the streets with armed thugs.

    After having that pointed out, he responded with this:

    I didn’t mean specific institutions, I meant the society. People understood they could create a non-corrupt, functional, and prosperous society, and they were well educated. Even with the country pulverized they knew from experience that they could cooperate and rapidly get things working. Bangladeshi’s don’t have the benefit of this experience (this is one of the reasons it’s so hard to go and plop down a functional democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t have the experience that tells them it will work).

    holy goalpost shifting and ignorance, batman.

  144. 144
    Jadehawk

    holy fuck let’s try without the blockquote fail.

    I had to go back and have a closer lok at this “but Germany was different” conversation again. At first, the reason why Bangladesh can’t have strong worker safety was this:

    Germany had a strong economy and industry that was able to develop or implement new technologies to efficiently implement the regs. In Bangladesh I’m betting their industrial sector is quite fragile, if they don’t have the investment, infrastructure, and technical skills to achieve that level of innovation they’ll just go out of business.

    Because of course post-war Germany didn’t have a fragile industrial sector, and didn’t need epic fucktonnes of investment.
    Then, when pointed out how much crap that was, he responded with this:

    It’s nothing to do with race or culture, it’s society. It takes a long time for a culture to build up trustworthy social institutions and to trust those social institutions. It’s the same reason why you can’t just drop a fully functioning democracy in Iraq, they have to build up to it.

    As for the other parts of the German example I don’t know, but I’m sure both Germanies had much more functional social institutions in that time frame

    again, where the fuck were those “functional social institutions” supposed to be, in a country that had just had their totalitarian state dismantled; a totalitarian state that was the direct result of having had a weak, ineffective republic in which the old aristocrats still held power and where political parties found open battles in the streets with armed thugs.

    After having that pointed out, he responded with this:

    I didn’t mean specific institutions, I meant the society. People understood they could create a non-corrupt, functional, and prosperous society, and they were well educated. Even with the country pulverized they knew from experience that they could cooperate and rapidly get things working. Bangladeshi’s don’t have the benefit of this experience (this is one of the reasons it’s so hard to go and plop down a functional democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t have the experience that tells them it will work).

    holy goalpost shifting and ignorance, batman.

  145. 145
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    holy goalpost shifting and ignorance, batman.

    Typical liberturd response. Otherwise, they would be wrong, and that simply can’t happen. Their unevidenced theology says they are always right. Where have we heard that before….

  146. 146
    aluchko

    @SallyStrange

    Really? I have no difficulty accepting that people often do things that have an outcome they did not intend. The problem is that because people are highly motivated to think of themselves as good people who don’t do bad things, pointing out that their actions have bad effects gets interpreted as “you’re a bad person” and then they go into denial about what the effects of their actions actually are.

    It’s hard to keep track of who’s saying what and I don’t believe you’ve been guilty of it. But this hasn’t been people ‘pointing out that their actions have bad effects gets interpreted as “you’re a bad person”’, lots of people have explicitly called myself and Yglesias bad people.

    But one thing I do believe is this isn’t a moral question, it’s a wonk question.

    You’re wrong: it’s both.

    I agree to an extent. Different moral codes can lead to different ideal outcomes, but I think people underestimate how different beliefs look like different moral preferences. For example a liberal believes the libertarian doesn’t care about the poor because the libertarian doesn’t want the minimum wage. The libertarian thinks the liberal doesn’t respect the poor’s decision making because they’re taking away opportunities with a minimum wage. The difference isn’t in morals as much as in their model of how the world works.

    You’re wrong: there are people who actively want to prevent Bangladeshis from having well-paying, non-dangerous jobs, because they value profit more than other people’s lives. And there are people who simply don’t care whether Bangladeshis get hurt and killed in the process of manufacturing the cheap goods they enjoy. Any course of action towards ensuring good, safe jobs for Bangladeshis that does not take the existence of these two groups of people is bound to fail.

    If these people exist and have a significant impact on Bangladeshi regulations I’d agree the safety regs need to be drastically improved. If however the current state of safety is improving and something Bangladeshi’s are comfortable with I’d be against an external intervention.

    First of all, amoral sociopaths are part of our society and a great many of them are not criminals but law-abiding citizens. They happen to be over-represented in high-powered positions, such as CEOs of corporations that set up sweatshops in developing countries. In order to live in this world, you kind of have to consider their worldview. You can think it’s awful, but you do have to consider it.

    Second of all, if you’re coming off as an amoral sociopath despite your lack of intention to come off that way, perhaps it’s time to consider why that is and maybe change your approach.

    Yeah, I sometimes feel guilty for the flack good sociopaths get but Chris Clarke was the one who first used it, used it in a derogatory manner, and stood behind its use. So I think I’m quite justified in referring to its use.

    As for “coming off as an amoral sociopath”, I can kind of understand why. I feel people make the mistake of getting emotionally attached to the process instead of the goal. Life in Bangladesh sucks for a lot of people, particularly the 87 people who died in this accident and all the others who will die before things get better. It’s not just bad, it’s utterly horrific, it’s beyond the capability to language to describe how horrible it is and the worst part is it’s not even a particularly noteworthy disaster. But feeling that emotion doesn’t mean that anything you do in response to that emotion is the right decision. The US made a very logical emotional response to 9/11, emotions that went past Afghanistan and got the US into Iraq, those very valid emotions got hundreds of thousands of people killed, and when people argued against the invasion they got clobbered by the emotional response to 9/11. So when I argue I try to keep the emotion in the right place. The goal of helping Bangladesh is something you should feel passionate about, the method of helping Bangladesh is something you need to approach analytically in case you’re wrong.

  147. 147
    Rutee Katreya

    It’s hard to keep track of who’s saying what and I don’t believe you’ve been guilty of it. But this hasn’t been people ‘pointing out that their actions have bad effects gets interpreted as “you’re a bad person”’, lots of people have explicitly called myself and Yglesias bad people.

    All I’m seeing from you is kneejerk defense of the pro-capitalist class status quo, so I’m not sure why I or anyone else shouldn’t call you bad people.

    If these people exist and have a significant impact on Bangladeshi regulations I’d agree the safety regs need to be drastically improved. If however the current state of safety is improving and something Bangladeshi’s are comfortable with I’d be against an external intervention.

    What solipsism is this? If you ignore the bangladeshis who want better regulation, and the union busting bullshit, and the corporate lobbies, you can pretend these are questions?

  148. 148
    SallyStrange

    I think alushko is just kind of dim-witted.

  149. 149
    aluchko

    @Jadehawk

    People understood they could create a non-corrupt, functional, and prosperous society

    they did? based on what? because as far as they were concerned, they hadn’t been able to do any such thing.

    Considering the fact that they almost took over the world (well Europe) I think the German’s understood pretty well that they could create a highly functional and prosperous society.

    The walmart and the mine links are two of the first things I’ve seen that actually make a serious argument against my position.

    so you didn’t even fucking try to read the articles disproving your “yeabut what if the Bangladeshis don’t want worker’s rights?” BS.

    Huh? I read them. Going by memory Walmart was using a factory with very bad fire regs (no fire exit I think) and also lobbied against stricter fire laws. The other article was about people being kicked off their land for a coal mine (not directly related but relevant). Walmart is one company and the publication is one data point, what about other companies? Other regulatory interventions? If you don’t know the hazard of making decisions based on a single article I’ll send you a link to WND.

    For the corn ethanol I’ve always opposed corn ethanol for that reason among others, but isn’t that a case of good intentions gone awry which is more in line with my position?

    in what universe is subsidizing US corn production “good intention”?

    The problem wasn’t in subsidizing US corn production directly, it was subsidizing US corn production by buying vast quantities of corn based ethanol in order to reduce carbon emissions (and buy votes in the midwest). Sure the politician motives were entirely self serving, but the only reason they did what they did is because of well intentioned environmentalists who wanted lower carbon emissions and took the offered solution.

    I don’t know how people feel about Nuclear power so I’ll drop this if it causes another controversy or derails the discussion. But Nuclear power has very low carbon emissions, and fell out of favour in large part because of the environmental movement. Consider how much better the planet would be if Nuclear plants supplied 80% of the world’s electricity instead of 13%? Good intentions don’t necessarily lead to good outcomes.

  150. 150
    Jadehawk

    If however the current state of safety is improving and something Bangladeshi’s are comfortable with I’d be against an external intervention.

    given you’ve already been provided an answer to this if, your insistence on repeating it tells me a lot about you. A LOT.

    The US made a very logical emotional response to 9/11

    incoherent.

    the method of helping Bangladesh is something you need to approach analytically in case you’re wrong.

    we aren’t wrong tough. labor rights are the only thing that ever protected workers from being killed by immensely shitty working conditions and permitted some of the incredible wealth of their labor to actually remain with those workers instead of being siphoned off elsewhere.

  151. 151
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, liberturds are arrogant, which means they can’t be shown to be wrong, and must obfuscate the refutations with verbosity. As our present liberturd shows so well. Still no conclusive evidence, and his OPINION isn’t, and never will be, evidence.

  152. 152
    SallyStrange

    in order to reduce carbon emissions

    Corn subsidies and ethanol were instituted out of a concern for carbon emissions? Oh dear, aren’t you the naif!

  153. 153
    SallyStrange

    given you’ve already been provided an answer to this if, your insistence on repeating it tells me a lot about you. A LOT.

    Yeah, right?

    “IF the Bangladeshis want better working conditions…”

    “They do. Here’s a link. And another.”

    “However, IF the Bangladeshis want better working conditions…”

    I mean seriously, who doesn’t want better working conditions? People sometimes make a trade-off between safe working conditions and better pay, but is there really a human being alive who would prefer, ceteris paribus to work in more risky conditions rather than less risky conditions?

    Where is this skepticism about the Bangladeshis’ desire to not have to trade their physical safety for a living wage coming from, dear aluchko?

  154. 154
    Jadehawk

    Considering the fact that they almost took over the world (well Europe) I think the German’s understood pretty well that they could create a highly functional and prosperous society.

    did you study world history from Captain America comic books or something?
    Nazi Germany wasn’t about to take over the world, it was highly dysfunctional, and not particularly prosperous, if you don’t count the elite; but the elite is always prosperous. And how is being experienced at having been oppressed by a totalitarian state supposed to explain those social institutions that aren’t really social institutions that somehow are the reason Germany got to have workers rights? Do you have any fucking clue what your point even is, here, other than insisting that Germans get to have rights, but Bangladeshis don’t?

    Huh? I read them. Going by memory Walmart was using a factory

    so that’s a no, since I’m talking about the articles other people have linked.

    The problem wasn’t in subsidizing US corn production directl

    no, that’s actually a problem; a massive problem.

    by buying vast quantities of corn based ethanol in order to reduce carbon emissions

    except for the part where cornbased ethanol produces more carbon emissions.

    (and buy votes in the midwest)

    now we’re getting something, but not quite. the farming lobby in the US is ridiculously strong. and harmful as hell.

    but the only reason they did what they did is because of well intentioned environmentalists who wanted lower carbon emissions and took the offered solution.

    are you fucking shitting me? In which universe does the US government does anything at all because of “well intentioned environmentalists” wanting something!? this was nothing more than another subsidy for agricultural corporations.

  155. 155
    aluchko

    @Jadehawk

    holy goalpost shifting and ignorance, batman.

    I wasn’t trying to shift goalposts, you build up a trustworthy police force, judicial branch, or a well organized company that’s a social institution. You invade, wipe out all the specific organizations, it’s not that hard to rebuild. People understand ‘hey, this is what professional cops look like, and that’s what a small business looks like”. They have the benefit of not only living in an advanced society but knowing everyone else did too, all that order doesn’t just vanish. I suspect that’s part of the reason Japan also recovered quickly. It’s why the US, made of immigrants from developed nations, quickly advanced past far older countries while Africa, who didn’t have large technologically advanced societies, nor have the natives take meaningful part in the governance, did poorly during colonialism and struggled after.

  156. 156
    SallyStrange

    I wasn’t trying to shift goalposts

    And yet you did. Remember what we were talking about before, how sometimes people do things that have effects they didn’t intend? If you are being honest here, then that is exactly what you just did.

  157. 157
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I wasn’t trying to shift goalposts,

    People like you always shift goalposts. Until you can and will admit you are wrong, you aren’t debating, you are preaching. And, without evidence, you just preach/sloganeer, and don’t engage in a rational evidence based discussion.

  158. 158
    Jadehawk

    you build up a trustworthy police force, judicial branch, or a well organized company that’s a social institution.

    I know what social institutions are. Unlike you, I also know that no such things existed in Germany int he post-war era. I mean seriously, “trustworthy police force”? in post-Nazi Germany?! and there wasn’t such a thing as a judicial branch until years after the end of WWII, and certainly not before worker’s rights were being implemented. And I’m not touching “well organized company” with a ten foot pole, considering we’re talking about Nazi Germany.

    You invade, wipe out all the specific organizations, it’s not that hard to rebuild.

    I really don’t think you understand what is entailed in transitioning out of a totalitarian state. Germany didn’t have any kind of social institutions until 4 years after WWII ended; it was wholly controlled by allied forces in the meantime. this is not about rebuilding individual organizations, this is about constructing social institutions from scratch.

    People understand ‘hey, this is what professional cops look like, and that’s what a small business looks like”.

    we’re talking about post-war Germany. what do you think people imagined a “professional cop” to look like…?
    Also, you are going to tell me Bangladeshis don’t know what a small business looks like!?

    It’s why the US, made of immigrants from developed nations, quickly advanced past far older countries while Africa, who didn’t have large technologically advanced societies

    what is this I don’t even. I fucking hope you’re 14 and from Alabama or something. This is the most disgusting erasure of imperialism and the economically and politically devastating effects of Western colonialism I’ve seen in a while.

    nor have the natives take meaningful part in the governance, did poorly during colonialism and struggled after.

    the “natives” did poorly during colonialism cuz they were being fucking colonialized, you ass.

  159. 159
    Jadehawk

    I’m quite thoroughly nauseated. Someone else will have to take over, because I’m quite done engaging with this incredibly racist shit.

  160. 160
    SallyStrange

    I’m sorry, but I’m out of spoons for tonight. Gonna go take a bath. You’re right, this guy is fucking racist. (There, there, aluchko, don’t take it badly, just consider it as a warning sign that your actions don’t match your intentions.)

  161. 161
    SallyStrange

    Assuming, charitably, that you’re honest about your intentions.

  162. 162
    aluchko

    @Jadehawk

    “we aren’t wrong tough. labor rights are the only thing that ever protected workers from being killed by immensely shitty working conditions and permitted some of the incredible wealth of their labor to actually remain with those workers instead of being siphoned off elsewhere.”

    Minimum wage laws are part of labour rights. In the US a minimum wage of $1 would be too low. But if you raise it to $100 then almost no one would have work. Having overtime laws for a factory worker or other manual labourer might be appropriate, having one for myself, a software developer, might not be. The fact that labour rights are very helpful to general welfare doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have an appropriate limit or vary on circumstance.

    As for the Nazi’s I have no doubt the standard of living sucked, but the people all understood they all did something very impressive (horrible but impressive) and I think that means a lot and helped them hold eachother to a higher standard.

    As for corn ethanol, direct subsidies mean a lot of extra corn which hurts foreign farmers and produces a food imbalance. But it isn’t really a cause for skyrocketing corn prices. Subsidies by making corn ethanol do drive up prices, and that’s what hurts the poor.

    And getting public support for any policy requires different groups. The public said, ‘we don’t want global warming, but we don’t actually want to spend any direct money to farm it’. The politicians said ‘we can shovel a bunch of subsidies to corn farmers by telling people corn ethanol helps the planet, and we won’t get hit on the cost because other politicians don’t want to piss off the farmers either’. Environmentalism wasn’t the motive for corn ethanol, but it was the idea that got hijacked in order to implement it (along with energy security). If no one cared about global warming corn ethanol might not have happened.

    @SallyStrange

    Frankly if people were being honest they would have taken the charitable interpretation and said “hmm, obviously Germany didn’t have many surviving organizations and infrastructure after WWII. It could be that instead of forgetting WWII he meant social institutions in a more abstract sense”

  163. 163
    SallyStrange

    Frankly if people were being honest they would have taken the charitable interpretation and said “hmm, obviously Germany didn’t have many surviving organizations and infrastructure after WWII. It could be that instead of forgetting WWII he meant social institutions in a more abstract sense”

    If you were smart, you’d take responsibility for your failure to communicate instead of blaming it on ALL of your interlocutors.

    Please to be fucking off now.

  164. 164
    Chris Clarke

    Time to find someplace else to blather, aluchko.

  165. 165
    Ze Madmax

    aluchko @ #162

    “hmm, obviously Germany didn’t have many surviving organizations and infrastructure after WWII. It could be that instead of forgetting WWII he meant social institutions in a more abstract sense”

    The problem isn’t that other people aren’t being charitable. The problem is that your assumption that Germans post-WWII would know about the kind of social institution you keep talking about demonstrates a profound ignorance of German history. As Jadehawk points out (# 144):

    again, where the fuck were those “functional social institutions” supposed to be, in a country that had just had their totalitarian state dismantled; a totalitarian state that was the direct result of having had a weak, ineffective republic in which the old aristocrats still held power and where political parties found open battles in the streets with armed thugs.

    And one more time, for emphasis: the kind of ‘functional social institutions’ you keep talking about were absent from Germany (assuming they had existed at all between 1870 and 1945, which wasn’t the case for some institutions), so Germans wouldn’t have had the experience with them you keep arguing they did.

  166. 166
    Jadehawk

    he meant social institutions in a more abstract sense”

    you fucking ass, I know quite well what social institutions are, and I’m not fucking dumb enough to confuse them with organizations. That doesn’t make your statements not racist and not stupid, given that “social institutions in the abstract sense” are normative systems governing family, government, economy, education and religion, and you claimed post WWII Germany had more “trustworthy” social institutions than Bangladesh has now.

  167. 167
    Amphiox

    Frankly if people were being honest they would have taken the charitable interpretation

    Please explain why, given your posting history on this thread, you feel yourself entitled to be deserving of a “charitable” interpretation?

    Because frankly, you don’t.

  168. 168
    aluchko

    @SallyStrange, @Jadehawk

    I’m sorry.

    BUT HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU JUMP TO RACIST?!?

    As for the Bangladesh vs Germany thing. Consider this.

    Assume a million Americans and a million Bangladeshis were suddenly transported to a distant planet that had a bunch of nice vacant farms and industrial infrastructure mysteriously lying around (so the Bangladeshis don’t have the advantage of low tech industrial experience). In 10 years which planet do you think would be doing better? I’m going to guess the Americans, not because they’re smarter or have better genes or have a better culture, but because they have better education, the experience of living in a highly functional society, and the education to use all that industry. If you can’t accept that then you’re not going to agree with me. (also note Germany was competing against nations in post war Europe in 1945, their prosperity wouldn’t look as prosperous nowadays).

    That doesn’t make your statements not racist and not stupid, given that “social institutions in the abstract sense” are normative systems governing family, government, economy, education and religion, and you claimed post WWII Germany had more “trustworthy” social institutions than Bangladesh has now.

    How in the hell is that racist? I’m not claiming they’re genetically inferior, religously inferior, or their culture is inferior. And I meant trustworthy in the sense not just of corruption but in putting your faith in the system. If you’re going to claim that is racist then what words do you use to explain why “Bangladesh continues to face a number of major challenges, including poverty, corruption, religious intolerance & discrimination, [and] political instability”

  169. 169
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    As for the Bangladesh vs Germany thing. Consider this.

    Why should we consider anything unsupported by evidence you say? *floosh* “that which is asserted without evidence is dismissed without evidence. Your whole series of posts *floosh* sent to the sewer as OPINION.

  170. 170
    Chris Clarke

    aluchko, you’ve been asked to leave politely. You won’t get another warning.

  171. 171
    rowanvt

    Actually, considering that most Americans don’t know how to grow food, the technological infrastructure wouldn’t be of any use for them once most of them had starved to death.

  172. 172
    rowanvt

    Dear Tpyos, please eat that apostrophe that appeared for no good reason. Amen.

  173. 173
    aluchko

    @rowanvt

    True, I tried to cover that with there being farms too (the US does have farmers).

    @Chris Clarke

    Fine I’m gone. I honestly was not trying to start a flame war, but I strongly feel the opposing view is not nearly as amoral as you propose and was hoping for an open discussion.

  174. 174
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    You got an open discussion. You failed to provide evidence for your claims that the horrifically immoral practices you advocate ultimately lead to benefits for those currently suffering from them. You were therefore justifiably excoriated for advocating horrific practices which benefit no one in the long term and harm vast numbers of people in the short and long term.

  175. 175
    SallyStrange

    Why racism? I dunno, do you have an alternate theory as for what would motivate a person to invent an impossible, superficial sci-fi scenario in order to justify calling Americans’… what? ability to conceptualize and implement civil infrastructure? better than that of Bangladeshis’.

  176. 176
    PZ Myers

    #168: Wow. That’s pretty damned racist.

  177. 177
    Amphiox

    How in the hell is that racist? I’m not claiming they’re genetically inferior, religously inferior, or their culture is inferior.

    How? Well, let’s see:

    I’m going to guess the Americans, not because they’re smarter or have better genes or have a better culture, but because they have better education, the experience of living in a highly functional society, and the education to use all that industry.

    The bolded part is culture, and is a claim to a “superior” culture.

  178. 178
    aluchko

    So I was asked to leave but people are still taking shots at me (including PZ… yay?). Does this mean I’m allowed to respond? (it was PZ!). Because I don’t quite get the reactions to 168.

  179. 179
    Amphiox

    Memo to aluchko:

    Comments once posted are public domain and are open to response, irrespective of the status of the poster.

    MEMO to aluchko:

    IT.
    IS.
    NOT.
    ABOUT.
    YOU.

    You sad, sorry, self-centered fool.

  180. 180
    Lofty

    aluchko the dense, Chris Clarke asked you to POQ off his thread, are you hoping to be banned?

  181. 181
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Oh boy.
    Yglesias is a piece of work.
    “Let’s set aside workplace safety in favor of workers making money, despite the fact that these selfsame working conditions are likely to bring harm to those workers.”
    Yeah, that makes total sense.
    Wait, no it doesn’t. Perhaps that’s because human life does not have a price tag.

    ****
    crissa @1:

    Worrying about cost effective threats is a good idea…

    …But yeah, I don’t like this lives-are-worth-less crap. It’s BS.

    Throwing out everything Yglesias says, though, is trashing an ally to the remainder of our causes, and someone willing to let their own sacred cows be singed. That’s something we should all be willing to do.

    Interesting. I think I need to reread Chris’ post to see where he throws out everything Yglesias says.
    I also find it curious that an individual such as Yglesias who thinks making money is worth more than proper safety conditions is considered an ally.
    Sorry, but no.
    If this asshat places such a low value on human life, then I don’t give 5 shits what kind of ally he claims to be.
    That you are trying to support someone with such reprehensible views has made my opinion of you drop that much more.
    ****

    (Chris, I know you don’t want aluchko to post here, but I’ve had a shitty day and getting this out was actually rather theraputic):
    aluchko @168:

    I’m going to guess the Americans, not because they’re smarter or have better genes or have a better culture, but because they have better education, the experience of living in a highly functional society, and the education to use all that industry

    Americans are better than/more advanced than Bangladeshis because…stuff. Might I add that this “stuff” isn’t universal to all Americans. In fact, given that many Americans do not have

    better education, the experience of living in a highly functional society, and the education to use all that industry.

    .

    Many American do not get adequate education. How and on what basis are you comparing the educational standards of the average American with the average Bangladeshi? How is your way not biased in favor of Americans?
    The second is really the most offensive of your insulting “America is the bestest” campaign. Living in a highly functional society? First of all, what does that mean? Define “highly functional society”, then prove that this is exactly what the United States is. Remember, you’ll have to take into account the experiences of a few hundred million other citizens of the US…many of whom do NOT think the United States is a highly functional society.
    In fact, I’ll say it right here, plain as day: The United States does NOT have a highly functional society. We have a disfunctional society comprised of disparate elements seeking dominance (both over the country as a whole and any minorities within the country). I don’t know how you’re defining “functional society”, but I’m guessing however it is, you pulled down your pants and decided to shit out all of your privilege with that statement. Have you ever talked with (not “at”, or “down to”) any oppressed Americans? Have you spoken to any transsexuals? Any gay men? Any Hispanic women? Any young black men? Have you spoken to anyone who is physically disabled?
    When I hear these people speak, I hear minorities talking about all the ways that the US is *not* a functional society. Unless by functional society, you mean old white men whining about the good old days and doing their best to roll the clock back on damn near every progressive advance made by the US in the last 60 years.

    As for your last claim “the education to use that industry”…Have you paid any attention to the attempts to gut education across the country? Seen how creationism is being touted as “teach the controversy”? Have you noticed how many, many Americans have been and continue to be priced out of higher education b/c they don’t make enough money? Have you noticed that unless you have money, a higher education is quite difficult? Oh wait, that would require you to talk to minorites about their struggles in this country, rather than assuming that your limited views apply to the country as whole.
    Who are these people who have “the education to use that industry”? Have you done the reasearch? Can you point out these kinds of people? Can you explain why they are representative of the United States to such an extent that you can make comparisons of education between the US and Bangladesh (with the latter oh-so-conveniently coming up short)?

    In short, the amount of assumptions you are making exceeds the amount of bullshit you just spewed. And that’s saying something.

  182. 182
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    aluchko:
    If you are actually interested in discussion of *why* your comments are racist–and they are–you can ask them in the Thunderdome. By continuing to post here, you are disrespecting Chris’ wishes (cf. if you manage to post anything in this thread in response to *this* comment directed your way)

  183. 183
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Hmm, how many libertarians are in aluchko’s magic planet scenario?
    How many Republicans?
    If I had to bet my money on one of the two groups I’d go for the Bangladeshis, because actually people in less economically developed societies are pretty resourceful in ideas how to make shit work, since they can’t just cry for somebody else to fix it and they are actually used to living in societies where people work together and take care of each other (extended families, anybody?).
    We can safely assume that aluchko isn’t only ignorant on 20th century history but also on 21st century societies.

  184. 184
    unclefrogy

    sometimes we run across an engineer who thinks he understands how biology works but completely misses the basics.
    people who in the main part of there day for work or play do things that are in general tend toward the abstract and esoteric details that are just not experienced in everyday life often have very strong opinions in areas they know little about and will argue forever about their misconceptions and a lack of enough data and experience with it to make a true or even helpful statement about it.
    such as I’ve been seeing here
    thanks to all who engaged with the fools.

    I think we can probably forget about Bangladesh coming out of its state of underdevelopment and move on to prosperity because by the time they would have been successful they will be drowned.
    and the sweat shops will have all moved anyway to some other slave wages economy.
    uncle frogy

  185. 185
    Nick Gotts

    If you’re going to claim that is racist then what words do you use to explain why “Bangladesh continues to face a number of major challenges, including poverty, corruption, religious intolerance & discrimination, [and] political instability” – aluchko

    British colonialism (before the British conquest, Bengal was one of the most prosperous parts of Asia, but the British deliberately destroyed its thriving textile industry), followed by partition in 1947 – what is now Bangladesh was practically without industry, exploitation by what was then West Pakistan, a destructive and divisive war of independence, neo-colonial exploitation…

  186. 186
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Anybody noticed how quickly Libertarians always become concerned for the workers if you talk about trade regulations?
    Nononono, you gotta buy the stuff made by those who have the shittiest conditions because they need those jobs the most (wait, wasn’t Yglesias’ argument that shitty conditions earn higher wages)!
    How can you be such a cruel bastard to people who already have it bad.
    And it’s also telling that I can easily detect if tonight’s fish comes from regulated sustainable fishing, but not if my mobile comes from regulated sustaiable human work….

  187. 187
    Deen

    @cm’s changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) in #140:

    One thing from way upthread

    That would have been me you were quoting.

    Bangladesh’s newly-opened-up neighbour Myanmar is even poorer.

    Guess where the replacement factory’s going to be.

    Not if Myanmar would have had the same worker protections as Bangladesh – I’ve been advocating all along that all countries should offer reasonable worker protection regulations. Not that that would be politically easy to accomplish, of course, but if Bangladesh can do it, why not Myanmar too? Unless, of course, you’re going to first stop Bangladesh from doing it, and then use the same argument when it’s Myanmar’s turn.

    As to this all costing a lot of capital investment, I don’t see why the capital for that investment wouldn’t be available. It’s not like the companies in the US and the EU aren’t currently sitting on a mound of cash that they’re not investing due to lack of demand. Or that the companies who use offshore manufacturing can’t afford a small drop in profit, or their customers can’t afford a small rise in prices – they can afford that a lot better than the Bangladesh workers can afford to work in collapsing factories.

    Besides, moving to Myanmar isn’t free, it would also require capital investments (showing that you too assume that at least some extra capital will be available when needed). In some cases (maybe even in many cases), it may even require more investments to start over in Myanmar than to modify existing facilities in Bangladesh.

  188. 188
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Wow, Aluchko carried on supporting exploitation of the poor, and then threw some racism into the mix. I’m glad I left. What an arse.

  189. 189
    Rutee Katreya

    Not if Myanmar would have had the same worker protections as Bangladesh – I’ve been advocating all along that all countries should offer reasonable worker protection regulations. Not that that would be politically easy to accomplish, of course, but if Bangladesh can do it, why not Myanmar too? Unless, of course, you’re going to first stop Bangladesh from doing it, and then use the same argument when it’s Myanmar’s turn.

    Worth noting that the factory left IN SPITE of Bangladesh not having worker protections…

  190. 190
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Assume a million Americans and a million Bangladeshis were suddenly transported to a distant planet that had a bunch of nice vacant farms and industrial infrastructure mysteriously lying around (so the Bangladeshis don’t have the advantage of low tech industrial experience). In 10 years which planet do you think would be doing better? I’m going to guess the Americans, not because they’re smarter or have better genes or have a better culture, but because they have better education, the experience of living in a highly functional society, and the education to use all that industry.

    Actually, in that scenario I’d put my money on the Bangladeshis. Statistically speaking, a random sample of one million Bangladeshis is going to contain a far higher percentage of people with experience in primary and secondary industries than a random sample of one million Americans is, by dint of the fact that America has thriving tertiary and quaternary industries which a far higher percentage of the population than the same industries in Bangladesh.

    Bangladesh: Labor force – by occupation:
    agriculture: 45%
    industry: 30%
    services: 25% (2008)
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bg.html

    USA: Labor force – by occupation:
    farming, forestry, and fishing: 0.7%
    manufacturing, extraction, transportation, and crafts: 20.3%
    managerial, professional, and technical: 37.3%
    sales and office: 24.2%
    other services: 17.6%
    note: figures exclude the unemployed (2009)
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html

  191. 191
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    *which employ a far higher percentage

  192. 192
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Gilliell

    And it’s also telling that I can easily detect if tonight’s fish comes from regulated sustainable fishing, but not if my mobile comes from regulated sustaiable human work….

    Actually, it’s very easy to detect that, unfortunately; it didn’t. As far as I can tell, no one’s mobile does.

  193. 193
    rowanvt

    To put Thumper’s lovely statistics into something Aluchko might understand:

    Of 1,000,000 Americans, approximately 7,000 would know how to grow/raise/fish for food. That’s it. Only 7,000 to supposed the remaining 993,000 people.

    Of the Bangladesh, 450,000 would know how to grow/raise/fish for food. And 300,000 would be capable of running the industrial technology.

    The majority of the Americans would starve to death.

  194. 194
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The majority of the Americans would starve to death.

    Including Aluchko. Typical liberturd loser.

  195. 195
    Pteryxx

    (posted also in Thunderdome, where the discussion’s been ongoing)

    More on how workers were afraid to go back into the cracked building, but were forced by the factory owners; also how the owners of the garment industry influence the government and prevent workers from organizing.

    Democracy Now! transcripts: Part One Part Two

    We’re joined now by two guests. Kalpona Akter is with us. She’s executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, started work in garment factories when she was 12 years old. She is usually in Bangladesh but currently in the United States to call on retailers like Wal-Mart, The Gap and Disney to take the lead in improving working conditions in Bangladesh. And Charlie Kernaghan is with us, director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, which has an office in nearby Dhaka. His group identified Children’s Place and Cato as among the clients of the collapsed factory.

    We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s start with Kalpona. I mean, the workers had refused to go to work. Then they were told if they didn’t show up the next day, that they would lose their jobs?

    KALPONA AKTER: Yes. That, workers had been told. On Tuesday, when workers saw the crack in the building, they denied to work, so they left the factory in the afternoon. But on the Wednesday morning, they were forced to go inside the factory, and someone with a hand mic said, “One crack doesn’t matter. The factory will be—there will be nothing happen.” And they were forced to keep working. And after this announcement, within 30 minutes the building collapsed. And as you know, it is more than 200 died, and we are just waiting to count more bodies. We don’t know that when it will stop what number it will stop, because many of them are entrapped.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Kalpona Akter, some of the press reports say that there had been a—there was a bank in the first floor of the building, as well as some other commercial establishments, that after the crack was discovered Tuesday did close down, but meanwhile the factory—the factories above the first floor stayed open? Is that accurate?

    KALPONA AKTER: Yes, it was accurate. Like, the bank did move their staff, so there wasn’t any staff from the bank. And in the other stories, there was shops; those was closed. But the workers themselves, they were forced to go. And I had a chance to see a video of the building owner, who was saying, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. There is a crack only. And engineers, they came, and they said workers can work,” which is a lie, which is lie. This building was totally damaged, and it wasn’t ready to work—I mean, ready to have a factory even.

    [...]

    AMY GOODMAN: Charlie, the companies that you understand so far have been working in this particular factory where the building collapsed?

    CHARLES KERNAGHAN: Well, it was—once the building collapsed, it was impossible for workers to try to go through and find the labels, but for certain, Primark from U.K., Joe Fresh from Canada. There was definitely Children’s Place. They said maybe that was two months ago that they were in that factory. Cato, which has 13 stores—1,300 stores across the United States, they’re involved. More and more is coming in. Wal-Mart is even saying that maybe they might have had—they might have had their clothing being sown in Ether Tex, which was one of the factories in this building collapse.

    And it was absolutely just as Kalpona said and the others, is the workers were told that if they didn’t go in on Wednesday to work, that they would not be paid for the month, because the owners said, “We won’t have the money to pay for the whole month, and therefore, if you don’t go to work, you will not receive any pay for a full month.” Nobody in Bangladesh, no worker in Bangladesh could ever go for a full month without wages. They go from hand to mouth. So, the workers were literally put in a trap.

  196. 196
    Pteryxx

    From CBC radio (no transcripts):

    Interview with Kalpona Akter

    She holds the retailers responsible, because when they audited these factories, the inspections are announced beforehand and the workers coached on what to say. The workers can’t complain about violations or feeling unsafe. She also says while consumers play a vital role, they’re disconnected from the human faces of the workers making their clothes, and being lied to by retailers who claim they support worker safety. She asks consumers to hold their retailers responsible for fair treatment and compensation of workers who are injured or killed.

    Interview with a factory collapse survivor, Fatema Khatun

    Fatema was one of the workers ordered back into the factory in spite of the danger, and threatened when she and other workers tried to leave. When the building started to collapse, she survived by leaping from the second floor. Her job paying $118 per month (with bonuses and 170 hours of overtime monthly) supported her sister and her sick parents, paying for their food and medical care and for her sister’s education. Of her three closest friends, one survived and two are still missing.

  197. 197
    craigmcgillivary

    Safety regulations in part reflect a balance between economic opportunities for people and the safety of workers. How wealthy your country is plays a role in how risk averse it should be about worker safety. So naturally a place like Bangladesh should have different rules than a place like America. Rich countries shouldn’t force their high minded safety regulations on a poor countries without actually thinking about how those regulations effect the lives of the people who live under them.

  198. 198
    Jadehawk

    Rich countries shouldn’t force their high minded safety regulations on a poor countries without actually thinking about how those regulations effect the lives of the people who live under them.

    vs.

    “None of us wanted to go in. The bosses came after us with beating sticks. In the end we were forced to go in.”

    Tens of thousands of garment workers took to the streets of Dhaka to protest their poor working conditions.

    Hundreds of thousands of garment workers walked out of their factories in Bangladesh Thursday, police said, to protest the deaths of 200 people in a building collapse, in the latest tragedy to hit the sector.

    She said the families of those killed had been left even more vulnerable by this collapse.

    On Tuesday, when workers saw the crack in the building, they denied to work, so they left the factory in the afternoon.

    another bit of racist faux-concern.

  199. 199
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Rich countries shouldn’t force their high minded safety regulations on a poor countries exploit lacking safety regulations in poor countries for their gain without actually thinking about how those regulations effect the lives of the people who live get injured or die under them.

    Fixed that for your conscience

  200. 200
    chigau (違う)

    Jadehawk
    I don’t think craigmcgillivary read or watched any of the news stories, let alone the previous 196 comments.

  201. 201
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I don’t think craigmcgillivary read or watched any of the news stories, let alone the previous 196 comments.

    I believe that’s his MO.

  202. 202
    Ichthyic

    Safety regulations in part reflect a balance between economic opportunities for people and the safety of workers. How wealthy your country is plays a role in how risk averse it should be about worker safety.

    I must have missed it, did Craig outright admit he is an ignorant libertarian, or were we supposed to just guess it from things like this?

  203. 203
    Maureen Brian

    Has anyone asked the citizens of West, Texas, how they feel about their safety being traded in for someone else’s profit?

    Same deal, craig, just different skin colour is all.

  204. 204
    Deen

    To be fair, most of those free market types seem to want to turn the US into a low wage country too, making sure everyone the lack of social safety net leaves the poor too desperate to deny any job, no matter how horrible.

    Oh no, wait, that policy targets people of color disproportionally too. Never mind.

  205. 205
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @rowanvt #193

    Exactly :) Aluchko seems to be under the impression that education in academia translates directly into farming and manufacturing skills… I do not think this necessarily follows [/snark].

    Xe seems to be under the impression that the primary and secondary industries are “easy” and that any old idiot can do it, when on the contrary they require very specific expertise and experience. I would love to see Aluchko try and live as a subsistence farmer for a year. Or be given a pile of iron ore and the necessary machinery, and told to make steel. Or being given a lump of raw iron and the necessary machinery, and told to manufacture a spade. It would be hilarious.

  206. 206
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @craig mcgillivary

    Rich countries shouldn’t force their high minded safety regulations on a poor countries without actually thinking about how those regulations effect the lives of the people who live under them.

    Don’t be a pratt.

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