Do we even care?

Here is yet another reason to buy Made in USA this holiday season.   111 people were killed and more than 150 injured in Bangladesh garment factory fire this week to provide clothing for stores such as Wal-mart (who admits it’s supplier contracted through this factory, but says it didn’t know that until now).

Since 2006, more than 500 have been killed in Bangladesh alone to provide low cost clothing to those of us in the first world.   Nothing new, right? There are accidents all the time even in the first world industries you say.  Sure but think about the fact that many of these are young women who are paid as little as $37 a month to risk their lives in fire trap buildings to provide  us with low-cost clothing because they have no other options.

Cited in the article was James Gross a professor of labor at Cornell University of New York who stated that these deaths won’t affect sales at discount stores as “Most people are just looking for a bargain and they don’t  have the  time or inclination to find who’s making them and should we buy this stuff or not”  You can read the entire article here.

Also cited in the article was the reminder of the 1993 fire in Thailand that killed 188 mostly young women (again) who were manufacturing toys for top American companies.

My heart goes out to anyone who works in a dangerous job or profession, especially if that person feels they have no opportunities elsewhere.  Money isn’t over-flowing from my bank account, like many, but I try to keep my needs and wants few which allows me the luxury to choose where to shop.

Trust me, I know it is hard to find certain items produced in our own country.  Try to buy a computer, television or any appliance and we are pretty much stuck with a foreign import.    But do we really need those items? Can we find a way to live without it?  Can we find something else that would work as well?

I wonder, is Professor Gross right? Do we only look for a bargain?  Where do you draw the line and refuse to buy an item?  Do you seek to buy domestic products for yourself and gifts for others?

So the question is do we care if others are working in horrible conditions to allow us to have what we want?

I have been leaving each post this month with a quote on gratitude. Today, I want to leave you with my own words of gratitude:

I am so grateful that my family is safe, and while we never know when we walk out the door each day what may befall us, I am grateful we live in an area where we feel relatively safe whether it’s in our home and neighborhood or on the job.  

 

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8 Comments

  1. Superb post – for too long this has been the general state of affairs, and it just leaves everyone in the same state of status quo. Change only happens at grass roots level. I wholeheartedly support you in what you said.

  2. I don’t know if you saw this a year or two ago, but ABC News did a Made in America challenge where they tried to outfit an entire house with only American made products. They did pretty well, but selection was slim and they needed the help of the entire nation just to locate American made products. And they could not find a coffee maker that was made in the USA. It was a very interesting segment.

    • I didn’t see that one. Our local radio did an experiment where they had one person try to go through his day without using anything that wasn’t made in the USA. It was funny in a sad way. The person couldn’t use their alarm clock to get up for work, couldn’t shave because his electric razor wasn’t made here, his shoes weren’t made here and had to go barefooted, couldn’t drive car, ride subway, etc. It was funny how they did it but such a sad story on the state of our economy.

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