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6045: 6028: Re 5880: Manufacturing (Dorce, Knowles & Burnham) (fwd)

From: LAKAT47@aol.com

In a message dated 11/28/2000 11:17:32 AM Pacific Standard Time, Phil Knowles 
<Phildk@prodigy.net writes:

<<  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".

To me it is not a factor that slave wages translate to low cost of goods.  
That does not justify mistreatment of human beings.  And I say not in Haiti, 
not anywhere, but that is just my opinion.  I feel comfortable giving my 
opinion knowing that it will not cause the course of history to change one 
iota.  I am really not against all factory jobs in Haiti if they truly 
benefit the people and do not mean that a person is only able to barely 
subsist.  If a person, as in Thor Burnham's post (#6027), is able to make a 
better life through creative financing <smile> and decent treatment, I am all 
for those factories.  I had not heard of any experiences like the ones he 
illustrates so considering that he is accurate, I have to change my blanket 
<<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 examples I had heard of were of workers making less money per day than it 
would take to feed their entire family.  Of course they were able to buy food 
on credit at the company store..........I think you know where I'm going with 
this.  This effectively keeps a person working and eternally behind in pay.  
That doesn't sound like it helps Haitian economy.  As I said above, Burnham's 
post telling us that people in the factories he is familiar with not only 
make enough to feed their families, but to save money and invest in second 
income source businesses, as well as paying for education for their children, 
changes my condemnation of all factories in Haiti.  His story sounds almost 
idyllic.  I would like to see this factory, but I am not suggesting it 
doesn't or didn't exist.  Just never heard of such a thing.  

I know what we have now isn't working, but there have been roadblocks in the 
way of progress, supported by the US.  I believe these forces do not want 
slave labor to stop.  I believe that these forces are willing to let Haiti 
die before letting Aristide make progress, they believe, at their expense.  
My entire point about this manufacturing thread is that as long as factories 
do not want to pay decent wages (not by US standards) and have decent 
conditions, then who needs them.  The factories that are behaving with some 
degree of social responsibility, I would have to say they may benefit the 
people of Haiti.  That is really my only criteria for supporting or 
condemning anything in Haiti.....is it good for the people or not.

I'm glad we are talking too...;)