Monday, October 29, 2007

monday mornings

It is raining and thundering here in Brisbane this morning. The skies are grey and foreboding. I am already lacking that jump out of bed and greet the morning with a smile motivation.

Then my google reader presents me with a story like this about child labourers in Gap clothing sweatshops and this about the privatisation of Nicaragua's electricity services aggravating already appallingly poor access to electricity, all in the name of moving into the carbon-neutral future. It makes me just want to crawl into bed and pull the blankets over my head (except that it is way too hot for that!)

Yes, I am feeling a little pessimistic today. Don't worry I'll be back to my cautiously optimistic view of the world tomorrow.


erin said...

In defense of The Gap, this would not be a "Gap Sweatshop". The Gap doesn't make their clothes, they buy them from suppliers. These suppliers are routinely investigated to ensure they meet The Gap's strict standards and the accounts are pulled if they don't. Unfortunately, Gap's inspectors can't be everywhere at once and many suppliers will use whatever method they can to maximize their profits.

Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid. Why do you ask?

alicia said...

Fair enough. And the article did indeed word it that way. Which was one of the points that I took the most issue with. The Gap and other clothing manufacturers are forcing their suppliers to find ever cheaper means of producing the clothes. But then when "the strict standards" aren't reached they pull out. More depressing than these children working in horrible sweatshop conditions is what happens to them when the Gap pulls their account. Unfortunately they will likely be moved into even worse fates like child prostitution.

When it comes down to it every layer of the supply chain is attempting to maximize their profits. I just think when I read stories like this that perhaps those at the top of the chain need to take a little more responsibility and realize that they are only propagating a problem by simply pulling out when there is an issue.

erin said...

Also fair, but unfortunately at the top of that chain is us, the consumers and while clothing manufacturers are trying to maximize profits we will not tolerate them raising prices to do so. If we continue to demand jeans for $50 or $30 dollars, or even less at stores like Walmart, what can they be expected to do? They must remain profitable or they won't survive as a business. And then were would be buy our jeans?