October 27, 2004

Slavery vs Sweat shop

Writing about web page http://mondediplo.com/1998/04/02africahttp://mondediplo.com/1998/04/02africa

I was thinking what subjects could I look at in the past to compare with the present? Then it struck me… the embarrassment of "civilised" Europe (Britainís only saving grace that it outlawed it first). Is colonialism and slavery the reason for so much inequality in the world? Did OPEC need slaves in order to develop? i cannot answer these questions without significant research, but Iíd be interested in hearing other people's ideas.

How similar is slavery to the current situation in the 3rd world? We're still exploiting those who cannot defend themselves… Is a below living standards wage and the harsh rule of the company actually THAT much better than slavery? I'm sure they'd prefer it… but the comparisons are striking and frightening. It's like history's gone almost full circle. And guess what? its all done under the pretence of actually trying to develop the country (ring any bells with colonialism anyone?). Did anyone read the article which said some economists suggest our money would be better spent against AIDS than climate change, what struck me… is not the logic of the argument (which, i think is fundamentally sound) is the idea that promoting free trade is also one of the best ways to help a developing economy. How is free trade meant to help a new industrialising country against the monolithic industries of America, Europe, Russia, China? Yes i am a free trade economist; I think itís a good thing, as the theory of comparative advantage says. But surely they need to be able to produce something. If Iím wrong please show me!... Thatís just getting into conspiracy theories, and well… i donít fancy a libel case! :)

Goodnight. Mx

October 26, 2004

RE: july 25th

Follow-up to july 25 2004 from The "Eden" Pretence

As kind of my belated comparision write up, (hey doing work? that'd be a NEW idea)

Basically i found it interesting comparing the labour relations and rights in the developed and developing world….
Despite the huge difference between wages and actual rights, it seems the Americans are more militant, i guess not because they the South-east Asians feel they are getting a good deal, just they have no legal form of settling disputes and are more dependent on the meagre rates of pay they get than the Americans who at least have some form of welfare system and recourse should they be unfairly dismissed. The article also highlights the abuse of workers rights both set of workers suffer…
Its interesting how the issue of outsourcing has become a significant issue in the race for the American presidency, many americans evidently feel it is threatening their job security.

Anyway as a side note…. RIP John Peel. Always a legend, will be missed.

October 18, 2004


Writing about web page http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1329728,00.html

Oh this is the funniest thing i've read all day….
Guardian got a whole load of people to write to people in Ohio telling them not to vote for Bush and these are some of their responses…
I dont laugh at Americans, i laugh at ignorance and people that dont get the joke!... although a couple of the replies are quite witty

anyway got the Hurt Process album today… hey its pretty good, but for a 10 track album, Using 4 tracks they released on their EP was a little tight!

October 17, 2004

july 25 2004

Writing about web page http://www.sweatshopwatch.org/swatch/campaigns/bendavis.html

This article, although a little old, is typical of the practices associated with clothing labels… forcing workers to accept lower levels of benefits and lower wages with threats to move production abroad. Using the excuse of job insecurity to reduce costs is just sick. The human cost of this on the workers is of course immeasurable and unrecorded. While there is an economic benefit to outsourcing jobs, in that costs can be cut making a firm more competitive. I don't think that brands can argue they need to cut costs to remain competitive; they're not cutting prices and with the mark up they place on their goods it simply increases profit margins! And anyway, whilst there is an initial benefit of outsourcing, in essence a reduction in the level of fixed costs, in the long run the benefits of the lower sunk costs become negligible and unless there has been a significant shift in the variable cost curve the problems of information transfer and administration can outweigh the benefits of moving production.

in a minor other point…
link Is yet another article about Zimbabwe's shattered economy and its effects. The explusion of non- Zimbabwean industry and confiscation of farms has caused the economy to crash horrifically.

No Logo

Writing about web page http://www.nologo.org/

Hrm… This is strictly not a "blog" – that word's starting to annoy me – But a 'Media Diary' following the events of a certain topic. As you can see the title of this post is "no logo"... if you've ever read the book by Naomi Klein you'll understand the areas this diary is intending to touch upon.
If you haven't read the book… do! Its a intelligent, satirical call to arms against overwhelming advertising, capitalism and the exploitation of third world countries that seems synonymous with 'branding'. It offers a way to fight back against multinational corporations and the lifestyles we're told we should leave. Buy the book here Amazon
The area Iím intending to focus on is the issue of sweatshops and exploitative labour practices.

Anyway… Socialist society is around for those interested in taking a stand against capitalism, Bush, Islamophobia, Iraq or any other similar issues. Their website is here

As a further point, Iím taking economics and history as my degree, so i vaguely understand capitalist society. I agree with capitalism, but i am aware of its limitations and its not the process of gaining wealth i hate, but exploiting those who cannot defend themselves.

A more trivial aside… does anyone remember how after September 11, no American band would have a go at George Bush or question of war against Afghanistan/Iraq?...RATM even disbanded! :'( the Dixie Chicks were dropped from their label for stating legitimate beliefs. Now its cool to say get rid of Duwya n vote for Kerry… So every other band seems to be doing it! Or is that just too cynical?

October 12, 2004


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