Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cambodia Has Trouble With Their Cash Cow

The fashion industry is one of the largest industries in the world.  Our choices about what we like to wear effect millions of people and drive the economy.  That choice about what shirt you like seems slightly less insignificant, yes?

Currently in Cambodia the garment workers are on strike for a doubling of their pay to $160 a month.  That means they currently make $80 a month, about the UN's standard for poverty.  Do you know that virtually all of the garment workers in Cambodia are women?  And, only about 5% of the factories they work in are owned by Cambodians?  Sure, Cambodia is far away and not seen by the West as anything to think about other than a possible cheap vacation destination.  So, why should it matter to you that there is a country far away that makes 80% of its exports from women working in factories owned by foreign investors?  And that their government is now shooting them in the streets for asking to live in less abject poverty?

This matters.  You are part of the swirling system in this world that gets your shirt to you that also thinks that women need not be paid enough to be able to buy adequate food.  Think about it, the government there values the opinions of the foreign companies over the well-being of their citizens to the point that they are literally willing to simply kill them.  Treating those who work in legitimate trades in this manner does not bode well for economic progress, stability and development.  And, if the workers aren't in the factories, how do you think you will get your new shirt?


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