The real “slumdogs”


Nicholas Kristof makes a hugely depressing point.

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The real “slumdogs”

  1. Gadzooks! That’s a surprisingly good, clear-headed, article for NY Times. It reads like something from the Wall St Journal. I bet Times readers got the vapors, though.

    • Anyone who praises the vile inhumane conditions of these countires should have their children put to work there.

  2. Where Mr. Kristof goes off course, in my view , is that he assumes the only – and therefore best – option is the status quo. That we should exploit third world conditions because the exploitation is better than nothing.

    Another option is that all of us could pay a little more for our Playboy tee shirts and regulate in such a way that the money goes to those who most need it. Most of us wouldn’t even notice.

    Unless we really believe that when we pay $30 for a flimsy tee shirt most of the money goes to the sweatshop employees.

  3. Who’s praising the conditions?

    If anyone is praising those countries/economies, it would be those on the left who want those type of conditions. I bet their carbon footprints are negligible.

    We are very fortunate to live here in Canada. Our forefathers worked in those type of conditions so we wouldn’t have to.

    • There is much to respond to here , jwl , but I won’t waste my time with most of it.

      But I do feel compelled to say that our forefathers worked in those conditions until they unionized and forced their way out of those conditions. And dragged non-unionized people along with them.

      • I agree about the usefulness of unions protecting workers against robber barons generations ago.

        • So then, you would be in favour of requiring countries with which we trade adhering to the minimum in labour legislation which would allow these workers to gain protection against their own robber barons?

          • I wouldn’t want to impose our ideas, or way of doing things, on other countries so I am not in favour of requiring countries to do anything.

            But if workers in third world countries wanted to form unions, I would support their right to do so.

            I think unions were useful when they were first formed because there was no worker protection at all. But I stopped thinking of unions as being good once labour laws were introduced – like the work week, or conditions in factories – but unions do nothing now but agitate for more money and benefits in exchange for working fewer hours.

          • “I wouldn’t want to impose our ideas, or way of doing things, on other countries so I am not in favour of requiring countries to do anything.”

            So you don’t think we should be in Afghanistan trying to tell them how to run their country?

            Huh…I could have sworn that was your position. I guess I misunderstood.

          • “So you don’t think we should be in Afghanistan trying to tell them how to run their country?”

            I am not always consistent! The only time I support meddling in other countries affairs is when it comes to dictators. There are no bad reasons for taking out dictators as far as I am concerned.

            It also depends on what the Canadians are specifically doing over there. If they are trying to create a new Canada in Afghan, than I am against that, but if our soldiers are trying to help Afghanis create their own society, I am in favour.

          • “if our soldiers are trying to help Afghanis create their own society, I am in favour.”

            Because of course the poor benighted Afghans can’t do it on their own.

            Oh, the white man’s burden…it wearies me.

  4. Regardless of what we may idealize as a perfect solution, the reality is that there are large of numbers of dreadfully poor people, and the only way out of their poverty is a painful step by step process, going from one ill-paying job to one that is slightly less ill-paying.

    There is no mechanism whereby you can possibly provide all of these people with well-paid jobs (even by local standards). All they want is the opportunity to improve their lives (just getting into the shade would be a start apparently) by whatever means. We should remove all obstacles in their way.

    And I suspect that lack of unions is the least of their civil rights issues.

    • But who will be attempting to have articles like this printed and the “its so much better for them!” meme parroted all over the first world, while taking steps to make sure that the wages are as inhumane as possible and doing everything possible to make sure that the step by step process to which you refer never gets beyond step 1?

      I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

      • it doesn’t really matter who publishes what about this stuff. What is important is what happens for these people. It won’t be pretty to watch but they will have to take control over their own lives bit by bit. This includes dealing with working conditions, insurance,health, contracts, corruption, pollution and so on. They have to figure that out for themselves, and no doubt there are ways we can help.

        But what we should not do is boycott their labor because we are squeamish about sweatshop conditions.

        • giving them our manufacturing jobs in pathetic conditions and trumpeting about it ain’t the way to help.

          • We are not “giving” them anything – the company tenders for a manufacturing contract and hires people at the local wage to fulfill it. if the people they hire will work for $1 a day or whatever dismal amount it is, that is a pretty good indicator that there is nothing else there for them to do, except maybe go and filter garbage for 50 cents.

            II don’t see how it is a better choice for them to stay as they are while we figure out some grand plan to deliver our living conditions to them.

  5. I just don’t follow the logic here. If unionizing helped our forefathers escape similar conditions why the hell wouldn’t it help them? Will it be painful and will people lose their lives over it? You bet they will. so what thy’re dying now anyway. Unless you want to argue that unions held us back too. There are probably people out there you do make that very arguement. No doubt it was misguided to organize boycotts against nike or walmart but you gotta grab public attention somehow. I allways wonder why we focus on this aspect of the problem when the actions of govts in restricting trade, tariffs etc are likely the key issue. Anyway it’s up to them to go for unions or not.
    JWL get off yr CC hobby-horse, you must have a sore ass by now. If it’s counterproductive for these poor bastards to have sanctions placed on their developement, then maybe we, who can afford it should shoulder more of the burden. But no i heard the arguement go just the other day, we contribute so little to the world imissions, let others do more. Poor buggers, they can’t win for losing can they?