Third World Exploitation and America’s Contentment With It

Hayden Larkin

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In modern society, clothes are a necessity not just legally, but for certain climates, they very well may keep you alive. As poverty rates increase a need for cheaper clothes is more demanded. While thrift stores and charity shops have been around for decades, many Americans want newer garments whether for status or longevity. The question never pops into the common American’s head as to how puffer coats can be 40-60 dollars when commonly they are a hundred-plus dollars. The answer is third world exploitation, taking the lives of people in poor countries, taking their desire for money, and giving them crumbs of profits made for their wages. Why are Americans disregarding this, frankly it could be chalked up to ignorance but I think America really has done an excellent job of hiding it from us and turning a blind to non-American workers.

The usual conditions of these third world workers are the sweatshop, they’re defined as breaking two or more labor laws, grueling 10 plus hour days, and unlivable pay. Many of these places are located in developing countries such as Bangladesh where they have a weak infrastructure and cheap labor as many of the people are living in poverty. Children, in a lot of places, end up working as well. The pay is so low the whole paycheck commonly goes to just-food for their families. It would actually only marginally increase the cost of a garment at stores like H&M for example to give people minimum wage, the price would only go up about two percent. Many of the female workers have also reported physical abuse and hot working conditions where they can not bring water. 

Now why do Americans allow this, why do the people in power allow this to happen to the other countries?  America is the “world police ” after police” after all as seen from our foreign intervention for better or for worse since World War One,  and frankly what they are doing to these people are no different than the very thing American workers fought against in the early industrial revolution. The answer is we truly don’t care for the third world, especially the Middle-East. America has always had an issue with turning a blind eye when corporate gets involved, but the true issue is the laws in the place. For example here in the U.S., we have a federal minimum wage, and states dictate what there will be off the backs of that. The minimum wage in Bangladesh is about three dollars an hour and since the work is not on  U.S. soil it’s considered okay. The things that have to happen are one of two things, either these countries have an American adjacent worker’s revolution (which took a long time to happen in the States), or an international set of guidelines that all corporations have to follow whether American born or not. 

The system currently is allowing greedy people at the top to manipulate those whose countries are destroyed, by American intervention or not, and playing off people’s hope to make better lives. I don’t blame the American public for not knowing, or not caring. Products are more expensive, money is an issue for people, and the systems in place are harming many working-class Americans. What people should be doing is simply advocating for people’s human rights, American workers should understand exploitation and we can’t allow hurt. We all are humans and we have a collective spirit to help one another and these people need our help, and we need to show that no longer will humans be subjected to suffering for nothing.