24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Luke 6
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. James 5
The insanity of Neo-liberalism: When the poor in Bangladesh die like rats in European and American sweat shops: Europe's Moral Quandary: The High Human Price of Cheap T-Shirtshttp://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-insanity-of-neo-liberalism-when.html
Ignoring Worker Injustice Won't Make It Go Away
My seamstress died last week. She was crushed when an eight-story building fell on her. It's tragic. I'm outraged.
Somehow, the clothes on my back—the clothes I bought and will buy—are intertwined in what could be Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster to date, killing more than 300 (the AP now reports the death toll could soar to as many as 1,400). In fact, when the garment factory she worked in collapsed, she may have been making a blouse for me or my daughter. I don't know her name, and I didn't hire her directly, but that doesn't make her any less human. And it doesn't make me any less involved in this web of supply and demand. They were making clothing for companies that you and I know—companies where I have bought clothing for myself and for my children.
Without placing undue blame on the consumerism of Americans and the rest of the Global North, and without making this all about us, we still need to stop and consider how most of us have supported an industry that lets people work in these dangerous conditions. Ultimately, our spending reveals we tend to care more about the price of our clothing than the conditions under which they are made.
Even after the tragedy, the news that such a factory would be making our clothes didn't come as a complete surprise. We knew it already. Most of us have heard of sweatshops, where labor laws are violated, wages are unfair, or conditions are hazardous. For decades, clothing manufacturers that supply the U.S. fashion industry have been accused of relying on unethical working conditions for the cheap products we buy. We feel aghast when we hear such reports… at least initially. We might even share a news article with friends. And then, with our most powerful voice—our wallets—the majority of us simply pretend as if we had never heard the news.
What keeps us from caring enough to ask how our clothing is made? In part, it's too far away. I will never meet my seamstress. When we try on a pair of jeans folded on a shelf at the mall, we can't see the woman who stitched the zipper. The "Made in Vietnam" tag doesn't tell us whether our clothing came from a machine or from a living, breathing person with a family at home. Because we can't see the workers, it becomes easier for us not to feel guilty for the criteria we use as we buy.
Shopping to find a good deal or a cheap price isn't inherently evil, and it can be a positive thing. The "wife of noble character" described in Proverbs 31 was thrifty. "She sees that her trading is profitable" (Prov. 31:8). Saving money can mean a better life for our families and more funds left for us to generously give to others. But if we could meet the person who made the pair of jeans we try on in the dressing room, we would likely reevaluate our decision to consider price alone.
Pope Francis Condemns 'Slave Labor' In Bangladesh: 'Goes Against God'
Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned as "slave labour" the work conditions of victims of a factory collapse in Bangladesh in which more than 400 people have been found dead, Vatican radio reported.
"A headline that really struck me on the day of the tragedy in Bangladesh was 'Living on 38 euros a month'. That is what the people who died were being paid. This is called slave labour," the pope was quoted as saying at a private mass.
"Today in the world this slavery is being committed against something beautiful that God has given us -- the capacity to create, to work, to have dignity. How many brothers and sisters find themselves in this situation!" he said.
"Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit. That goes against God!" he was quoted as saying.
"There are many people who want to work but cannot. When a society is organised in a way that not everyone is given the chance to work, that society is not just," he said.