Scrolling through Facebook with the first of many cups of coffee this morning I came across this heartbreaking article about child labour in Bangladesh. You can find a copy here
As someone who mainly expresses deep hurt with anger, I was immediately inflamed by the situation. It is simply not acceptable in today's world to have a child work up to 100 hours a week.
Articles like this make me feel even more strongly about our, costly, stance against sweatshops and appalling working conditions.
Granted, we don't make bricks and we don't import from a country where children are allowed to work at all, let alone 60 hours per week. But there are underground situations like this everywhere. I have seen women in 'workshops' in Italy, practically chained to their sewing machines whilst their kids cycled around in their little plastic tricycle. No air conditioning and appalling living conditions where people sleep in lofts right above their work stations. Bathrooms worthy of a trainspotting scene and noise levels to make anyone a little bit mad. It is under these conditions that they can make you a handmade leather bag for $10 and sell it to you in your trendy store in Brooklyn for $45.
I know it is easy to pick up that t-shirt for $5 because it is cute, I have done it myself, there are no saints here. But, this is an invitation for all of us to stop and think before we grab something incredibly cheap. Let's ponder for a second. How much did the labourer get to make a t-shirt like that in Bangladesh if it is here in the US for $5 ( a cup of coffee is $4.50 in New York). How long will my leather messenger bag will last and where does it go once it is broken ( hint landfill along with all the plastic crap we think we need but actually never use)
This is not about nationalism it is about safe a humane working environments for everyone regardless of the geographical location.
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Along with the tighter clothes, I seem to be carrying more and more each day. My wallet is always filled with cards, cash and other other bits and bobs. My mobile phone is not the smallest piece of equipment either, and my keys are bulky and really irritating when storing in the pockets of some tight trousers. And do not get me started on the case for my glasses. There has to be a solution to carrying around all of this bulky gear, right? Even for us fellas?