Bangladesh: to boycott or not to. A LIBERTARIAN DILEMMA.


Here is some follow up from last month’s collapse of a garment factory building in Bangladesh, which left more than 1,200 people dead. Namely: the US- Europe MNE divergence about safety policies, and the libertarian philosophy divided camp. A tale of two diasporas.

MIN wage per month for some Asian countries: $138 China, $66 circa India and Vietnam, $38 BANGLADESH: see Fig.from the WSJ  in my facebook timeline, may 13 here.

May 14, WSJ

By SHELLY BANJO And CHRISTINA PASSARIELLO:  Review & Outlook: A Do-Over in Pakistan page A14

Wal-Mart and Gap Hold Off on Legally Binding Pact to Improve Worker Safety

“This is the first serious step by the Bangladesh government taken over the last 10 years and the most important step by the brands and retailers to pay the real cost of production and ensure workers are safe,” said Dara O’Rourke, professor of environmental and labor policy at the University of California at Berkeley. But, he added, “Wal-Mart, Gap and other U.S. brands are glaringly absent and unless they step up, the agreement will have limited effect.”

May 15, ft:

Rift opens over textile worker safety in Bangladesh

By Louise Lucas and Barney Jopson

May 17,

The ongoing debate in the libertarian camp, in a BHL post:

Should You Buy a T-Shirt Made in Bangladesh?

by Matt Zwolinski

Recent events in Bangladesh have brought moral questions surrounding sweatshops into the spotlight again. And many consumers are wondering whether they might be doing something wrong by purchasing goods that are made in Bangladeshi textile firms. Some are calling for a boycott of clothing companies like Joe Fresh that outsource production there.

In response, people like Matt Yglesias and Richard Epstein have argued that a boycott is exactly the wrong idea, and have defended the lower labor standards employed by Bangladeshi firms. Others are not convinced.

Given the high heat and low light these debates often generate, this NPR Planet Money podcast is a nicely balanced look at the issue. It discusses the opportunities sweatshop jobs provide to Bangladeshi women, the reasons why Bangladesh seems to be stuck in the “t-shirt phase” of development, and how it might get itself out. And there’s more to come. Thanks to Jonathan Anomaly for the pointer.

More BHL on sweatshops:

  • A summary of work on my sweatshops here.
  • Roderick Long’s left-libertarian critique here.
  • My critique of the left-libertarian postion here and here.
Matt Zwolinski | May 17, 2013 at 11:13 am | Tags: sweatshops | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

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