Organizations Combatting Slave Wages,
namely the labor used to produce many garments, footwear, and electronics, consumed by developed countries.
Living Wages as a Human Right
We are so smitten by the power of capitalism, that it accepted even when it contravenes human rights. In an early industrial society, there were bitter fights between labour unions and companies to get living wages. State freedoms and policing were a bit slow to support the unions, but unions did prevail and eventually get better pay and work conditions in many industries (not all).
No society can surely be ﬂourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, I .viii.36
In an estimate of a €100 pair of shoes made in Indonesia, just €0.50 (that’s 0.5% of the total retail cost) goes to production workers’ wages. (CleanClothes.org)
Working conditions matter too, as the world heats up, and agricultural workers are exposed to hot humid climates.
Now consider a dicatorship, like Uzbekistan, where people pick cotton for a dollar a day. That product is sold into European and other textile markets, as a major supplier. Are those wages ever going to change? Is there any real concept of “fair market value” in a product produced at slave wages? This aspect of capitalism needs to be addressed to fix inequalities between rich and poor. Western companies and governments are turning a blind eye. Perhaps the consumer can make a difference?
Asia Floor Wage
Defining and working toward a living wage for Asian garment factory workers. A chart at their website shows the disparity between Living Wages and Minimum Wages in various countires:
FLA – Fair Labor Association.org
Insights into labour and business practices around the world. Difficulty in enforcing minimum wages and overtime payment. Standards for affiliate companies. Tracking by unannounced factory visits.
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