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Are American Corporations A Plague On Humanity ?

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  • Democrat
    Lawrence, MA
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    Today's Boston Globe carries a piece on the Op Ed page titled - Deadly Savings. It revisits the stories about the numerous fires that have been occuring regularly in countries where American corporations are recreating the sweat shops such as the ones they operated in the U.S. a hundred years ago. The latest tragedy took place this past November when 112 garment workers were killed in a blaze in Dahka, Bangladesh. Just two m months earlier 25 workers were killed in Sivakasi, India A week later 283 workers died in two separate fires in Pakistan .....258 in a garment factory in Karachi and 25 in a shoe factory in Lahore. Two years earlier 29 people were killed in a similar fire in Dahka while manufacturing Gap products.The latest fire in November has made international headlines because the factory made clothing for Walmart. American companies typically use sub contractors to organize and operate these fire traps. This allows them to claim that they are not reponsible for the inhuman condidtions that exist. Walmart fired the sub contractor of the Dahka operation. But at a 2011 meeting to find ways to imporve safety at Bangladesh garment factories, accoring to Bloomberg News, Walmart and Gap officials told attendees they were not willing to participate in paying for the electrical and fire safety of the 4,500 garment factories in the country. It is estimated that the safety upgrades would add just ten cents to the price of a garment. Evidently the workers are not worth the cost especially since there are millions more ready to take their places once the smoke from the next fire disappears. And what about us- the consumers ? How much misery and death must be sewn into a garment in order for us to puirchase it for a few dolllars less than if it was produced under humane condidtions ?
  • Other Party
    Ohio
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    .


    Great post. GREAT post.



    The bottom line is the bottom line.


    We are greedy. Self-centered if allowed to be.



    The Republican party exploits this.



    What a shit life we have created...





    .
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I read that article and I have to agree with it and both of you guys!
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Yes I know how things are there; I worked there for about 6 weeks, to repair a belly landing on one of Biman's aircraft; did do all the logistics, repair etc. Each day I had to go via an overpass over the railroad to the small airport where the plane sat. when climbing up the stairs you pass babies who are misformed or have lost an arm or someting else. Besides them is a bowl asking for money. I asked the Biman guys about how come etc. This babies are mutulated on purpose in order to put them on the overpass to raise money for food. This says enough about how these people live. When I left on the last day they honored me and my technician in a special ceremony together with a oversweet delicacy, which did hurt your teeth for hours.
    Yes this is a very poor country; it is wet, low land lots of flooding etc. people who can work in these sweatshops are happy they have this job and do not complain. But I've seen some of these places; it is dirty, roof may leak, hot, lots of insects (they spray for that, but those chemicals are also dangerous for their health) The humidity is unbelievable; I guess I lost quite a few pounds over there.
  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    "We kill the workers over there so we don't to have spend billions in courts here for killing workers here." So says the American Manufacturing Ass..

    The Republican response? Gut OSHA to level the playing field and tort reform. Huh????
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    Let me add one more point to this discussion. This morning I went to Lowes and Walmart, pricing comparable new "drivers" for my tool shop. These are simple but intricate tools that allow almost anyone to drill, screw, and with attachments, perform many other carpentry tasks using power rather than manual efforts. While doing my shopping, I noticed one glaring fact: All these boxes, or kits, were labeled by their American brand name: Black & Decker, Dewalt, Skil, Irwin, etc. BUT the packaging included the statements that the housing for the tools was made in Thailand or Formosa, the motor was made in China or Japan, and some or all of the attachments were made in Taiwan or elsewhere………..totally outside the U.S. No wonder industry here is on the outs. How can these supposedly American companies rely on foreign manufacturing locations to bring these products into our country for sale? That, to me, is UN-American. I would much rather buy a product that is MADE here with a WARRANTY here. So what if they can save money on the labor? When I buy any product, the quality is the main selling point, and then the price.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Great posting leftofcenter. This is a topic that I have strong opinions about. Not only is the vast majority of our clothing and goods made out of America, the food that we eat is starting to be produced more and more outside of our shores. There are many reasons as to why this is happening. One--the corporations want to make as much money as possible with as few regulations as possible. The rise of multi-national corporations has one goal in mind: MONEY. As much as it as possible. They do not care about individuals, nature, etc. They care about money. The tragic irony about the rise of the labor unions in the early 1900's coinciding with globalization is that corporations just decided to go to countries where they could exploit the workers the same way they did our children before the labor movement helped establish workplace safety laws. The other problem is that we American's are used to cheap things and don't fully appreciate what that means. It is unfortunate that American's look at those fires in these factories and can't comprehend that those people died making clothes for us. How many more fires will it take before we wake up and demand that these multi-national companies institute strict fire codes and safety standards at all of their factories world wide?
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    Just have all those FOREIGN manufactures of the multinational companies bring their manufacturing to the U.S. where all are covered and protected by adequate laws AND fair wages. If someone or some group sets fire to one here, they will be chased, sought, captured, and prosecuted to the max. That will deter future crimes like that.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    It's ALL about money. Manufacturing is cheaper overseas and everything else is secondary. Worker safety? Not as important as the allmighty dollar. And it's not just the owners of the companies...most people (buyers) in America want the most stuff for the least money and do not care about anything else. I would MUCH rather buy Made in America but many times I can not find it. Canada and Mexico are second choice, at least it's from North America. Next is the rest of the world. Last choice is China, but sometimes China is the only choice.

    And some people don't understand how or why China owns us.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    because SO many buy things from China, even though 99% of it is inferior to U.S. manufactured goods, and because they are comparatively dirt cheap. I guess one gets what one pays for.
  • Democrat
    Lawrence, MA
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    jaredsxtn Wrote: Great posting leftofcenter. This is a topic that I have strong opinions about. Not only is the vast majority of our clothing and goods made out of America, the food that we eat is starting to be produced more and more outside of our shores. There are many reasons as to why this is happening. One--the corporations want to make as much money as possible with as few regulations as possible. The rise of multi-national corporations has one goal in mind: MONEY. As much as it as possible. They do not care about individuals, nature, etc. They care about money. The tragic irony about the rise of the labor unions in the early 1900's coinciding with globalization is that corporations just decided to go to countries where they could exploit the workers the same way they did our children before the labor movement helped establish workplace safety laws. The other problem is that we American's are used to cheap things and don't fully appreciate what that means. It is unfortunate that American's look at those fires in these factories and can't comprehend that those people died making clothes for us. How many more fires will it take before we wake up and demand that these multi-national companies institute strict fire codes and safety standards at all of their factories world wide?
    Jared, You ask ....how many more fires will it take before we wake up and demand etc.etc...... I ask how many more blows will the American economy and labor force have to take before we realize that American corporatism , or capitalism, is not a viable system on which to base the welfare of the nation ?
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    All good discussion points. Somewhat related to this topic is an article in this morning's Washington Post entitled: Passengers on India's ‘cancer train’ share stories of pain and hope

    "Bhatinda, India — The train crawls into the grimy station, and scores of anxious cancer patients scramble to find assigned berths, floor space, even corners. Wrapped in large woolen blankets against the wintry cold, the passengers prepare for an overnight journey to the nearest public hospital, 220 miles away.

    "Many call it India’s “cancer train.”

    "But almost everyone on the train — patients and regular passengers alike — agrees there is little doubt that pesticides are mainly to blame, although they say they cannot afford to stop using them.

    “I spray pesticides 10 times in three months on my cotton crop, every week on the vegetables and a couple of times on the wheat crop,” said Baldev Singh, a 63-year-old, turbaned farmer. “I am told there is a link between pesticide and cancer. But it increases productivity.”

    "India’s Green Revolution of the 1960s and ’70s — introduced with American help to promote modern farming methods using high-yield varieties of seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides — was meant to fight hunger and increase productivity. But over the years, that model has become medically and environmentally unsustainable, according to many anti-pesticide campaigners, who advocate organic farming and tougher laws."


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    You can read the entire article in the Washington Post at the above link. While this is India and not the United States, it nevertheless resonates with any workers in the USA and elsewhere in which workers are exposed to harmful chemicals and dangerous working conditions. Many laws to protect workers have been enacted in the USA, largely as a result of Union demands and pressures, but as union representation declines there is less and less of an impetus to keep these corporations in check. They will always find some way to cut corners at the expense of workers...or as Leftofcenter pointed out in his first post here, outsource jobs to overseas locations that don't have the same worker protections that we have in America.

    I don't expect that Americans will be eating any of the produce from that part of India, but our chemical pesticides are leaving their mark anyway. I also wonder how much of those pesticides we are eating in our food. Roundup Ready anyone?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    michaels39301 Wrote: because SO many buy things from China, even though 99%of it is inferior to U.S. manufactured goods, because they are comparatively dirt cheap. I guess one gets what one pays for.
    michaels,
    As you found out today, finding products made in America is nearly impossible.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    McClellan, how right you are. It is almost shameful. Not only the one simple tool I mentioned above, but bigger and grander things from our largest companies, like Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, Walmart, and the rest as well. Why can't the U.S. impose a tax or tariff on incoming goods like these and thus divert the overseas suppliers from flooding our market with their cheaply-produced and lower quality goods? I remember when the slogan "Buy American" used to mean something.
  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    The way to go is for an increase in employee owned firms. Corporations are at war with employees, vendors and customers because all of them want a piece of the profits. And a corporation is obligated to care only about profits and stock price. Per the Dodge Bros vs. Ford case.