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Over elsewhere

I get taken to task about Bangladeshi clothing factories:

Progressives are generally horrified at the notion that people are becoming wealthier and can be quite open that they want it stopped. What’s baffling is how they draw votes.

3 hours ago
Reply to TD
It’s not people getting richer that we have an issue with, it’s people getting richer at the expense of others (usually in the Global South). Fast-fashion garment workers (predominantly women) work in terrible conditions so that we can afford that £3.75 dress, so yes, we’re going to ‘whine’ about it.

Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall
3 hours ago
Reply to EAP
Fast fashion jobs are vastly better than those on offer to the same people, in the same place, but not in fast fashion. Producing what people want to buy is also the way that places get rich. Which is why fast fashion is a good idea – both reasons.

3 hours ago
Reply to Tim Worstall
Do I need to remind you of the Rana Plaza disaster or are you just blindly ignoring those kind of events? Factories still have inadequate fire safety standards, among other issues. Just because they could be treated worse in other industries, that does not make it humane to allow them to work in the current conditions. The way you are clearly separating yourself from human beings that are being treated horrendously in garment factories is very telling of the patriarchal capitalist system we currently live in.

Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall
1 hour ago
Reply to EAP
I do know of Rana Plaza. I know more than that too. The money from my weekly column in a Bangladeshi newspaper goes through the hands of one of the guys who is one of the new, since Rana, factory inspectors. Through his hands and into a charity that provides hot food to street children and the like. I’ve even checked up with economists who study the issue. The factory jobs are indeed better than the alternatives to those workers. One person in one of these jobs improves the lifestyle of the whole family, increases both the nutrition and schooling of the children. I’ve even, if you can believe it, been out there and had one on one discussions with such economists.

Those clothing factories are beneficial to the lifestyles of those who work in them. Their lives would be worse if they did not exist. As they were worse before they did.

I support industrial revolutions because it is the only way, ever, that anyone has found to increase the living standards of the average person. This is what did it for us, here, in the 1800s. It’s happening now out there in the still poor countries. It’s absolutely damn marvellous that is too. It’s why absolute poverty has fallen from 40% of all humans to under 10% in only 40 years – the biggest reduction in poverty in the history of our species.

Far from “blindly ignoring” things I actually know rather a lot about them. And you?

30 thoughts on “Over elsewhere”

  1. Worstall you are a horrible capitalist grinding the faces of the poor so that you can harvest their organs to make throw away fashion.
    Me and my friends will never rest until we have peacefully protested our right to go out and loot a store In Oxford Street. Well, a girl needs a new wardrobe from time to time if she’s to be taken seriously by the Guardian, y’know.

  2. No, better these people have no work than work in conditions we would not tolerate for ourselves.

    What is ironic is that these people are also the sort to lecture about your ‘privilege’.

  3. Doesn’t this simply sum up the insanity of lefty thinking? They have these noble principles about sharing and equality and being opposed to exploitation etc. The problem is that they can never come to terms with the fact that, when their ideas are ever put into practice the results are always disasterous. On the other hand, ignoring them allows poor people to become less poor. This is very bad for lefties, they need poor people to exist so that they can pretend to be morally superior.

  4. The Meissen Bison

    I actually know rather a lot about them. And you?

    That replique is verging on the tuberous.

  5. The Meissen Bison

    I actually know rather a lot about them. And you?

    That replique is verging on the tuberous.

  6. a 500 kilo bomb? Must have been German.
    Or their scales need adjusting. If it was one of ours it would be a 495Kg bomb.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    “BiNd, a 500 kilo bomb? Must have been German.”


    When I was serving in Germany in the ’80s I always had a wry smile when I heard a German ordering a pfund of something. Last time I was in Germany, 2 years ago, I noticed they still do.

  8. Stony, had a similar chat with a very comfortably off work colleague when there was all the fuss about Wonga. He was adamant it had to be stopped because of the exorbitant interest rates.
    I asked “it’s Monday, you have no money and payday is Friday. What would you rather do?:
    1. Go without.
    2. Get a payday load of £50 from Wonga, buy food, fags and lager and pay back £60 on Friday.
    3. Borrow £50 from a loan shark who’ll charge you £70 on Friday and punch your head in if you don’t pay it back on time
    (plus, offer you the regular use of his services next time you’re short and punch your head in if you don’t)”.

  9. “Far from “blindly ignoring” things I actually know rather a lot about them. And you?”

    You missed off “mic drop”

  10. Stonyground,

    Most lefties are disconnected from reality. They often come from the upper end of the middle classes, and then go to work for various bubbles that disconnect them from the real world (like working for The Guardian, working in government etc).

    A big reason for Labour’s current failure is this is nearly everyone there. Whatever you might think of people like Neil Kinnock, his father was a miner and a labourer. Jack Straw lived on a council estate. Labour are stuffed with people raised by academics and then went off to university to study politics.

  11. The Meissen Bison

    BiND – I suppose that when it comes to foodstuffs other than staples, a kilo is not a particularly useful quantity. Measuring something in terms of hundreds of grams is clunky and overly precise and so the Pfund has lived on as 500g and in fractions of a Pfund.

    Those who can remember sweetshops where sweeties were decanted from large glass and later plastic jars onto scales will recall asking for a quarter (113g) of winegums for which they handed over 2/6d.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset


    Agreed. I could have gone on to say that’s also why I was relaxed about decimalisation. You could still ask for a pound of apples, or multiples or fractions as I pointed out in many a pub discussion at the time.

    But of course that just draws invective.

  13. It’s like when English people decided to move from the countryside to the cities; yes, conditions were sh*t but better than working in the countryside.
    Having worked summers jobs on farms in my youth I found that, even with mechanisation, it’s better to be the tractor driver than the spud picker…

  14. I had a play with this subsistence farming lark a few years back. Learnt a lot. Primarily, you can live off a bit of land if you’re content to be 100% self-sufficient & exist in total abject poverty. Because you do it alongside a modern industrial society. And you can’t trade with it. Your surplus production isn’t worth anything because your productivity is so low.
    Let’s try & explain. Say you keep chickens & you manage to produce a surplus of eggs. But how many? Let’s say a couple dozen. Back in the dark ages you could probably trade 24 eggs with the blacksmith for a a couple hours of his work making you a shovel blade. But a couple dozen eggs in the supermarket is less than £4. Even a cheap Chinese shovel blade bought from the ironmongers is £12. So you’d need something like 3 weeks egg production to buy it. Same with clothes. You’d have to make everything starting with growing the plants for the fibre or keeping the sheep for the wool. Even at Made in Bangladesh prices, it’d be a week’s work to buy a shirt.

  15. That’s what the retards Tim’s arguing with don’t understand. What poor means in this context. To them it means missing out on a wide screen TV & a Sky subscription. Poor by their standards. Where in reality it means having absolutely nothing, being constantly hungry & watching half your children die of starvation before they’re grown. Outside of those factories, a Bangladesh peasant doesn’t have enough productivity to exchange his labour for life’s basic necessities. Even with other Bangladeshis. Not unless you cut off the Bangladesh economy from the wider world’s economy.

  16. I have quite a big garden and have grown vegetables from time to time. There is quite a lot of satisfaction in doing it but, if you just do the cold calculations, it isn’t worth the work that you have to put in. Then there was a year, round about 2011 I think, when it pissed down all summer and our veggie patch was mostly underwater.

  17. TMB
    a quarter (113g) of winegums for which they handed over 2/6d.

    In my serious sweetie days sweeties were on ration but 2/6 for a quarter would have been daylight robbery. 6d maybe though my memory banks have erased that bit of essential information. Heck, in 1969 in my local pub in Somerset I could get 2 pints of bitter for 2/6.

  18. I can’t remember wine gums being sold by weight. What were described on the jar as ‘American Hard Gums’, maybe. But a tanner’s about right. I’ve an idea the first gallon of petrol I bought was half a crown. Got poured into a 105E Anglia with backwards slanting rear window & all the rust you could possibly want. Makes you think doesn’t it? An eight year old car was a knackered heap fit for the scrapyard. There’s cars now come with guarantees last that long.

  19. 6d is 2½p so perhaps someone is mixing up shillings and (new)pence. Half-crown certainly seems far too much for a sweet-shop purchase, more like a weeks pocket money.

  20. I seem to recall buying sherbet lemons by the penn’orth or tuppence’orth. Maybe winegums had duty imposed?

  21. The only valid argument that I’ve ever seen against foreigners industrialising is that, if we then go to war with them, they could shoot back.

    But fussing over the Bangladeshis becoming richer is just plain nonsense. I always find it a pleasure to read about because, in my younger days, I couldn’t see how they could solve their problems. I’m delighted to have been proved wrong.

  22. The Meissen Bison

    I beg your pardon, one and all, it must have been a Saturday and I treated myself to half a pound @ 1/3d per Qtr.

    Sadly, with time, gums have receded so now I just make do with wine.

  23. I find it interesting that the UK gives rather a lot of schit about the Rana Plaza disaster, or at least have heard of it. I doubt if anyone in Bengal gave a schit about Aberfan, Senghenydd or Piper Alpha. Rightly so of course, priorities and all that.

  24. ‘Rightly so of course, priorities and all that.’

    True Bongo. People have to look out for their interests.

  25. Shortly after decimalization and from personal memory, 1/4 lb of sherbert lemons were 11p. Over to you, mathematical economists.

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