January 29th, 2005


There are certain things that Americans do not seem to comprehend about sweatshops or income in developing countries.

0. I'll admit right at the outset that Nike and their ilk are selfish, uncaring corporate robots. That's not even relevant to this debate.

1. Sweatshops are not indentured labor. People work there because they *choose* to work there. There *are* widespread instances of indentured labor in India. Sweatshops can be a way out for people who would otherwise serve as bonded labor to pay usurious creditors.

2. Sweatshop salaries are low by American standards, but who cares about American standards? If people had better paying jobs, they would go there. Closing down sweatshops merely closes a possible employment option. The people affected will have to take worse jobs or starve.

3. Sweatshop working conditions might be bad by American standards, but who cares about American standards? Child labor is a given in India and it is not going away in a hurry. The need right now is to steer child labor into non-hazardous, sanitary occupations. Children are preferred by many hazardous industries for their nimble fingers. These include fireworks, bidis, and carpet weaving, all of which have far greater occupational hazards than shoe-making. For instance, cancer among bidi-rollers is extremely high. The fireworks shops have no safety standards whatsoever. Fireworks factory explosions kill a hundred kids every now and then.

Children work in construction, quarrying and a hundred other occupations infinitely worse than sewing shoes. Many of the kids carrying lime around a construction site would be happy to work for Nike. Are you sure you want to take that option away from them?

4. When I was a kid in a small town in Ranchi, you could get a pair of shoes custom-made by a self-employed mochi or cobbler, for about Rs 60 ($1.50). And remember, the cobbler is skilled labor, which sweatshop workers aren't. What would an American activist do? He would say, that's ludicrously low! Mochi, close down your shop and go home and starve!

No. It's not ludicrously low. It's what people earn there. It is their means of livelihood and I don't want some over-zealous pinhead taking it away from them.

5. A company called Blackspot is making sneakers with an anti-sweatshop message. According to the linked article, "They’re made at a factory in Felgueiras, Portugal, a town with a tradition of shoemaking. Workers there earn well above the Portuguese minimum wage of 365 euros per month".

I have only one question: how does making a shoe in Europe benefit poor people in underdeveloped countries? Answer me that and I'll jump right on the anti-sweatshop bandwagon.

And you should all ask yourselves this same question: how does boycotting sweatshops benefit poor people in underdeveloped countries? Other than putting them out of a job and taking one of their less harmful employment options away from them.

Let me know when you have an answer.
best friends

haircut help

It's about that time to get a hair cut again and I was wondering if anyone had some good suggestions on where to go around here. I've been to Bishops and have had bad experiences, so that's out. I was wondering if there were any hole-in-the-wall types of places. I can afford $25-30. I live off MLK and Tillamook and there's this place on MLK called something salon, that's not helpful at all but if you know what i'm talking about and you've been there, let me know what you thought. it's only a few blocks away.

(no subject)

So who all went to the dandy warhols show last night?

it was pretty fucking awesome if you missed it.

any one get some pictures from it though? I would really like some if any one has em.

  • Current Music
    bauhaus - big lugosi's dead

help with good food

My boyfriend and I are are new to the area and we would like to go out to dinner tonight. I checked the memories of this community, but nothing really jumped out at me.

We're looking for something in SE that is locally owned. We are broke college students so something around $10-$15 a person would be great.

ETA: if you could please tell me what type of food these restaurants serve, I would appreciate it! This gives me a good list not only for tonight--but the future.

Thank you for your help!

(no subject)

Last week I asked about the interviewing game. And because I know you all care so much about my life:

I interviewed. Half-way through I realized I was done with the process. It was me against another potential canidate, at the same time, in the same interview. I personally don't like interviewing with other people.

No matter, I was offered the position, and accepted it.

We'll see how it goes. Thank you, those who commented, for your wisdom.

Feels Like Burning

Hey all!Just wondering if any of you have this wonderfully horrible flu too... It started yesterday and by about 5ish I had a fever of 103.2 and started throwing up like crazy. I still Can't get my fever under control no matter what I take and have only gotten it to go down to 101.3. I hurt all over and cant keep anything down....I feel like I'am going to die! of course I had to get sick on the weekend....and now i have a strange rash on my face and chest and i don't know what to do.....I was wondering if any of you have this nasty flu or have had it? thank you....t/k
  • Current Music
    ~ Cops ~

yet another tax question...

ok yeah so this is probbily an easy question, but I'm just not sure. I worked three jobs and have three W-2's Do I need to file 3 seperate state/federal forms, or just add them up and use one form? I'm trying to use TurboTax and it's asking for my employers address, well I have two currently, so I'm just not sure what to use. Any help?

Thank you in advance!!
  • Current Music