Comments on: Can Western companies put an end to Bangladesh factory disasters? Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: VirtualThumb Wed, 01 May 2013 18:46:50 +0000 I wish people would take @hskoppek’s advice in their last paragraph. Unfortunately, I hold out no hope that any improvements in the quality of workplace life for the workers of Bangladesh will occur as a result of change efforts by businesses or governmental figures. Capitalism-based economic models allow no room for social policies or any other quasi-religious consierations, so businesses will not effect change. Governmental figures rely on the cash from business activites to fund their wellbeing (and the wellbeing of their country’s citizens), so they will not want to bite the hand that feeds them. That leaves the American consumer … oh dear.

By: wilsedw Sun, 28 Apr 2013 13:21:37 +0000 “If Walmart tries to run Bangladesh, the US and Walmart will be accused of imperialism. They can’t win this one.”

They most certainly could win, if they wanted to. If, when unsafe conditions are identified, they could simply give a time frame in which the problems must be fixed. If the problems weren’t fixed in that time frame, they could take their business elsewhere. Once that happened a few times and it was made known that Wal-Mart (and other retailers) is serious about worker safety, the factories would comply. No government intervention would be required.

But Western retailers don’t care about the safety and health of workers in their supply chains. And they don’t care because, overall, we as customers don’t care. People can point fingers at Wal-Mart and authorities in Bangladesh all they want, but the ultimate responsibility lies with us.

By: Yaakovweeeeeee Sun, 28 Apr 2013 10:17:17 +0000 If Walmart tries to run Bangladesh, the US and Walmart will be accused of imperialism. They can’t win this one.

By: hskoppek Sun, 28 Apr 2013 08:05:31 +0000 The issue is not as easy as it is presented in the article and the comments. Behind every Western company are consumers who benefit from the cheap labor and do not ask any questions when T-shirts are sold for just $5.95. They are collectively as guilty as Western corporations. Unfortunately, these consumers can hide in anonymity.

Even if just one Western company were to take the lead in responsible entrepreneurship, it could make a difference. However, it initially puts itself at a competitive disadvantage, which it has to overcome.

On the one side, it has to gain consumers’ trust, so that it can sell it’s products in the marketplace. On the other side, it needs to satisfy its shareholders, who invested in these companies.

At the same time, the company relies on suppliers, whom they also need to trust to be able to purchase garments which have been made in a responsible manner. These companies, too, strive to deliver a profit to their owners.

Then there are the regulatory bodies. Whether these be government authorities to check on building or fire safety or private certifiers, who audit environmental standards or human rights. They also carry a responsibility in the supply chain and need to be trusted.

Unfortunately, it is also true that some factory workers steel from their employer or try to otherwise take advantage of them. How can we establish an atmosphere of trust here?

The recent disasters in the garment industry tell me two things:

1) Like in the banking industry, greed eventually delivers undesirable consequences.

2) the economic model of competition and control is not working

It’s time to do something about it. There are plenty of new models out there, worthy to be considered. I would like to hear of any company interested to make a change for the better.

contact me via

By: NJThinker Sun, 28 Apr 2013 01:35:25 +0000 More big government regulations are just job killers!

Sound familiar?

By: AS1111 Sat, 27 Apr 2013 21:46:46 +0000 I wonder what the conditions are at the factories producing clothes for sale in Bangladesh? Or India, Pakistan, China, etc.

The liability here lies with the authorities and property owners (although this is a moot point). Free markets will utilize the lowest cost sources of labor and supply. This is a tragedy – however, many of us seem to be blaming this on the wrong causes – “western greed”, etc – rather than the obvious and most simple answer: a builder likely cut corners to reduce building costs, probably at the factory owner’s request,and a few bribes were paid to get necessary permits.

By: ptiffany Sat, 27 Apr 2013 20:40:27 +0000 If the Bangladesh authorities aren’t interested or won’t take action, nothing will change. It doesn’t even work with US companies in the US! Consider the recent Texas fertilizer plant explosion. Asking corporations to self-police is like the old adage, “We’ve got the fox guarding the chicken coop.”

By: Regular Sat, 27 Apr 2013 16:51:18 +0000 Ironically two of the very important reasons for western companies to move their manufacturing to China and other places are to save penalty taxes for environment damages and drive down the cost of safety operating standards that could have otherwise occurred in their (western) countries. If they push for environment and safety standards in the countries who offered cost-savings for them by avoid the environmental and safety responsibilities (the people’s lives in those countries are not their responsibility), then why do they ever have to offshore their manufacturing, they can profitably operate from their own neighborhood. These are the loop-holes introduced by globalization, which has both good and bad cause and effects.

By: pavoter1946 Sat, 27 Apr 2013 13:34:43 +0000 American companies are content to use the Sgt Schultz approach: They see nothing; they know nothing.

They will always rationalize cutting costs more and more, as they reap the profits higher and higher. Out of sight, out of mind.

Until advocates can tie Walmart and other companies to the deaths resulting in the low cost companies they are happy to use, nothing is going to change. And if improvements are forced in Bangladesh, they will simply shift purchases to other countries that are willing to cut corners on safety, and pay workers even less. Corporations know there are desperate poor people out there, and are more then willing to exploit them.

Consumers need to ask one basic question. Of the $1.00 saved on that pair of jeans, how much of that dollar was in savings to the consumer, and how much was pocketed by the corporation as higher compensation to the executives?

Corporations have been declared people. Consumers need to demand those ‘people’ act morally.

By: JL4 Sat, 27 Apr 2013 12:46:09 +0000 Three hundred people – and counting – in this building alone died, all so we can each save $1.00 on a pair of jeans. And Walmart, with most other manufacturers, keeps sending jobs overseas to “Emerging Markets” and no one says much about it.

Americans have sold their morality to corporate profit and cheap goods.