Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Bangladesh Apparel Industry

As a follow-up to my last post, I was interested ('pleased' doesn't seem the appropriate word) to hear the reference (at about 4:40), in this PBS NewsHour story on workplace safety in the Bangladesh apparel industry, to the Triangle fire.  More interesting was the assertion that Bangladeshi industry representatives had tried to address safety concerns with some retailers. The business drive to keep costs low, indeed to relentlessly lower them, can be deadly.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Triangle Revisited

On March 25, 1911, a fire at the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village left 146 people dead - 123 of them women.  The aftermath brought together the unlikely bedfellows Tammany Hall and labour reformers, leading to changes in workplace safety requirements.  On Sunday, a blaze at a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh - operated by Tazreen Fashions Ltd. - left at least 112 dead, most of them women.  So much for progress.  It's getting harder to cheer for capitalism when its rapacious exploitation of workers continues unabated.   The most recent disaster, within days of the Black Friday shopping frenzy, is sobering.  We should all take a hard look at our consumption habits.

Triangle shirtwaist fire, March 25, 1911

Tazreen Fashions Ltd. fire, November 25, 2012
Black Friday bargain hunters, November 23, 2012

Friday, 5 October 2012

There'll Always Be A Greece

After reading this article on Patrick Leigh Fermor in Greece, I was reminded of my thought during the height of the European financial crisis that, despite disruptions to so many lives, there will always be a Greece; and an England (there's even a song about that) and a Spain and a...  Men will always go down to the sea at Balaklava, at Tyre, at Cape Town, in New England, on Haida Gwaii and on Tahiti.  There are rhythms of life that economic cycles will threaten but will never expunge.

Mani, Greece

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Homage to Daniel Shays

Upon reading of Gore Vidal's death I searched the web for one of his aphorisms or witticisms to share on facebook and Twitter.  But I found that either I thought this or that quote might offend a friend/follower or that I didn't really agree with his statement - as pithy or funny as it might be.  I've enjoyed his historical fiction and essays, where he fleshed out his ideas more fully.  I think that I've come to not care so much for cleverness, generally; and for the limits of things like Twitter, specifically.  Lately, I'm seeking more depth of thought and fewer sound bites.

Gore Vidal