Welcome To My Blog!

26 02 2008

Hello Everyone.

My name is Stefan Marseglia and I am currently an undergraduate student at City University, London, reading Journalism and Sociology.

For part of my Internet Production class, I have been asked to devise a blog, in regards to a subject that I feel passionate about.

I must admit that basing my blog around sweatshops and how Westerners seem to turn a blind eye from this solely to purchase clothes at cheap, cheap prices wasn’t the first subject that came to mind when I was thinking about creating a blog.

However from having two similar conversations with two different sets of people in the past week alone, I feel, has made me choose this subject to talk about.

The first conversation took place at Oxford Street on Wednesday February 20, 2008, with a man from the Red Cross, while my friend and I were out shopping. After discussing the aims of the Red Cross, we started to talk about cheap labour and how some companies use cheap labour as well as child labour in other countries such as Bangladesh, so that we, as a Western nation, can enjoy cheap clothes at cheap prices (looking back at this, I imagine that the Red Cross man was referring to Primark, due to my friend having just come out of there with a massive Primark bag).

The second conversation occured on Tuesday February 26, 2008, with some of my friends who are on the same course as me. We were discussing jobs and how the pay-rates of some jobs in England are disgraceful, due to employees only being paid the minimum wage or even below it. After one of my friends made this comment, someone – who seemed to be listening to our conversation – decided to give us their two cents worth and told us that we should consider ourselves lucky, as we were not being exploited like some people are, due to working in sweatshops.

It certainly felt like I had completed a puzzle once I had heard this remark, since joining these two conversation puzzle pieces together has formed the basis of this blog!

Now, I must admit (yet again) that I am no expert on the subject of sweatshops and how companies use cheap labour to exploit people, however I hope that by doing this blog I will be able to gain knowledge on the subject, and with you reading it and sending in your own comments, we will all be able to become more well-informed.

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9 responses

29 02 2008
Kayla

Well, I do think that both of the people you ran into have a point. You are lucky not to be in a third world country having to work in a sweatshop and with pretty much nothing to look forward to in life. Things could definitely be a lot worse. But then again they could be a lot worse even living in England – you could be homeless for example. But that’s beside the point. I think there is another side to this situation as well, and that is that the unfairness of the situation should be viewed according to the specifics of the situation. You can’t simply generalize a situation like this and expect the rules and views to work across the board. What’s unfair in England might seem like nothing to complain about in Bangladesh, but in reality it is something worthy of complaint when you are in your situation and living in England. And to complain about your plight in England does not mean that you are insensitive to the difficulties of the lives of others in less developed countries. That would actually, in my humble opinion, be a very unfair assumption about a person, and we all know what happens people assume things…

And about your conversation with the Red Cross man, I think maybe he does have more of a valid justification for pointing the finger at your friend and his big Primark shopping bag than the other person in the cafe did for telling you not to feel sorry for yourselves. If it were me, personally I would ban shops that use sweatshops. It is one thing to purchase from a company that makes their clothes in countries where the labor is cheaper but does not employ people to work in horrible working conditions and young children. And it is a completely different thing to patronize a shop that does employ sweatshops. I think that it is important to research and know as much as you can about who you do business with – you never know who or what you are supporting otherwise!

3 03 2008
Tammara

For about one week, I attempted to ban anything made in China. It was a real eye opener. It was Christmastime, and after visiting at least 5 different stores, I could not find Christmas tree lights that were made any where else. Try it. Read the labels on clothes, toys, your everyday purchases. I dare you to get through one day without purchasing something that was manufactured in a Chinese sweatshop.

The real problem is that workers choose sweatshops because the alternatives are more dangerous. These people are desperate. So, I question if banning their products (and putting them out of work) is really the solution. I think it’s a much broader problem that requires serious restructuring of the soceity at large.

3 03 2008
Raadhika

True – what alternatives do they have, really? Prostitution, drug dealing, other illegal activity that’s life threatening?

4 03 2008
Matt Dowsett

The only reason the UK and other western nations are so wealthy is because we keep 3rd world countries so poor. Our governments can preach as much as they want about how they’re trying to tackle poverty and wipe out famine etc but at the end of the day nothing’s done. The reason for this is for our country, as with many other western countries, we need to keep other countries weak and oppressed! It’s harsh but its true. You only get rich people if you have poor people. Way of the world I’m afraid.
I’m willing to bet that alot of my friends don’t care about their primark bargain clothes being produced in sweat shops. Correction! They probably do care but not enough not to buy the clothes. It’s like anything. If I asked my friends is they cared about global warming they’d probably say yes. But are they willing to be proactive and do something about it? Not at all!
At the end of the day poverty and sweatshops are something that will, in my opinon, never be able to get rid of. Human mans fundamental thrist for material goods and basic selfishness will not be able to resist the temptation of a cheap and “value for money” item of clothing or cheap food!

4 03 2008
Sarah Black

Everyone knows that this is going on in the third world countries but noone including myself ever thinks they should do something!! Talking as a *poor* student it is really just to grab a cheap top for a night out or whatever and not even think about the consequences of our actions.
I dont think just banning the products would solve a problem because these managers and owners willl still keep exploiting them as there is no other option, as someone else commented on!
Instead alternative options of labour should be introduced aswell as taking legal action to stop these sorts of factories!!
We have to stop them otherwise we will never have equality in the world!!

5 03 2008
Tommy Tucker

I don’t want to sound like I don’t care,
but our country has enough of it’s own problems, immigrants, drugs, crime violence going on right here, without having to worry about what going on over there !

Lets get things fixed here first.

5 03 2008
Joy

I think this is a fair cause.
I’ve seen it over and over in my own country (Uruguay), and legal actions do not take place since the police or government or whatever are bribed by these companies. It is not commented or even mentioned in the media unless a tragedy occurs (like a kid beeing beaten to death or the unsafe factory catching fire and all the workers there dying).
It’s great to see that people from the first world, who wouldn’t know what it is really like down here, are also concerned about the less fortunate and attempt to help from so far away.
Good luck with the blog, Stef n_n, I hope you can build up a strong conscience about this.

7 03 2008
Lor

maybe its time to bring industries back to Britain, granted things would be more expensive but then standards would be met, and there would be more jobs for the growing population

28 03 2008
John

Hello! I have just found your blog from your Harry Potter website, TheDailySnitcher.com. This is brilliant! I feel very strongly that first world countries should take a larger role in aiding those less fortunate. It is very unfair and inhumane and immoral, I feel, that people stand by and watch and do not come to the help of those who are suffering from corrupt societies and governments. I do feel of course that the first world has its own problems with corruption as well, but when people, young children especially, are suffering, surely then that is more important to fix than worrying how much money we have in our already fat pockets?

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