While do gooders beat their breasts about the plight of refugees some of Europe’s best known fashion chains, including H&M and Next, have been selling the aformentioned breast beaters garments made partly by young #Children working in Turkish sweat shops. Yes, the hipsters who make the most noise about human rights are, in their quest for 'cool' points, supporting the exploitation of the poor and dispossessed.
Aid workers have found Syrian refugee children working in factories owned by the fashion chains' contractors in Turkey, according to a report prepared by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).
The discovery has led to concerns that the problem of human rights abuses may rife where refugees have sought sanctuary in nations with poor records on human rights. If that is the case it is likely many companies have been aware are keeping quiet about abuse because the situation suits them financially.
Other companies admitted they had identified undocumented adult Syrians in the factories.
This brings us to one of the dilemmas western liberals face, a problem I raised in a post on the outcry about a garment factory accident in Bangladesh claimed many lives. Working conditions in the factory were, by western standards, unsafe and completely unacceptable. But in calling for the west to intervene and close such factories the anti - poverty campaigners overlooked the fact that many people in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, throughout Asia and in Africa and South America have a stark choice.
Another dilemma of course is that the obsession with automation that has destroyed so many jobs in the developed economies over the past few decades will easily transfer to the low labour cost economies once political meddling starts to force up wages and it becomes more economical to use machines than people. Some experts predict humans will be redundant by the end of this century. So what do we do with the unwanted people? Euthanasia?
They accept those working conditions or they watch their families starve. And we have a stark choice, boycott the companies that sell cheap products made in third world sweatshops, salve your human rights conscience by paying through the nose for stuff and condemn third world workers to even greater poverty, or accept the human cost of cheap clothing, continue to buy from discredited companies and sustain the corrupt system.
What do we do? I don't know any better answer than we stop meddling in the political affairs of third world nations and let these societies evolve at their own pace. It is only two hundred years since our ancestors were being driven off the land and away from the lives that had prevailed for centuries, forced to #Work in the terrible conditions found in factories in the newly developed urban industries. Me? I'm happy do go out in a twenty year old jacket a shirt I've had for ten years and a pair of shoes that aren't new. Quality costs but it can work out cheaper because it lasts. There's no right and wrong here, but I'm morally at peace with my decisions, have you thought about yours?
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