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6028: Re 5880: Manufacturing (Dorce, Knowles) (fwd)

From: Phil Knowles <Phildk@prodigy.net>

Dorce -

OK, but!  How could I not agree with you about working conditions in
exploitive factories?
And I respect your dissection of my sending-troops-into-battle analogy. At
least sometimes, by sending troops now, we probably have prevented wars (or
genocide) later, and likewise there may be an alternative to exploitive
factories in Haiti.

This is, indeed, the question.  Where I thought "Let them build, and let us
monitor and work for decent conditions", you suggest that is never the right
thing. So, where do we go from here?

About the factories:
        1)  On one side, consumers benefit financially by extraordinarily
low cost clothing made in low cost places from Venezuela to Nicaragua to Sri
Lanka. I should add New York City, where illegal work in sweatshops and face
immediate return to China by the authorities, and forfeiture of the bribe
(like $10,000) they paid to get here, if they make trouble. So there is this
huge industry - low cost clothing manufacture - which exists but we say "Not
in Haiti".
        2) There seems to be some awareness of the exploitation, out there
in the Wal-Mart public, and some signs of corporate willingness to take
responsibility.  They fly in the face of the bottom-feeding opportunists,
those who seek the lowest cost source, wherever, whatever, and they do have
to make a profit  -  so it isn't easy. Consider too the phony "Made in USA"
labels on stuff made in some Pacific, US protectorate,  islands.  But I
(eternal optimist) think the direction is towards better, and we should all
support that.
        3) You're certainly right about the profits leaving Haiti, but the
wages, low as they may be, stay in Haiti, do they not? So if you had 1000
people working at a low wage, isn't that 1000 small incomes replacing 1000
no incomes?

The Dominican Republic, no model of democracy and justice, seems to be
inching (back) into business as a trading partner and travel destination. Do
we hope Haiti will follow?

Cuba is apparently struggling along, until Fidel dies, then will the wealthy
Cubans return and will Cuba have a boom?  How should we view such a boom?

What doesn't work is what we have right now.  Thanks for this exchange.