Chinese sweatshops – they were the future, once

Published on Stronger, by Owen Tudor, July 25, 2016.

… Over the past decade or so, Chinese workers’ wages in the industrial heart of the country on the south and east coast, including the Special Economic Zones, have risen substantially. Maybe not to western levels, but way higher than their parents ever earned. This is the result of job vacancies outstripping the supply of skilled and even semi-skilled labour; direct Chinese government policies to stimulate demand by increasing domestic purchasing power (especially as international demand for Chinese goods collapsed after the global financial crisis); and worker wage militancy too, despite repression and stave violence … //

… The offshoring of workers’ jobs is fuelling supply chain violations of worker and trade union rights in countries like Burma, Cambodia and Thailand, as well as leaving Chinese workers without jobs. But the Chinese activists who visited us this afternoon were also still having to campaign against multinational employers sourcing from Chinese factories, such as UNIQLO,  but then that, too, reflects what’s going on in the UK. As the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) has revealed, insecure employment and low wages have allowed some companies to ‘re-shore’ exploitative garment work to places like the East Midlands.

Workers in China are striking in huge numbers without being reported in the Chinese, still less the international, media. They are met with violent harassment and repression from the police, far worse than anything we’ve seen in over a generation. But many of the management responses to rising pay are depressingly familiar.

(full text).


City Councilman Will Withhold Potentially Deciding Vote on Baltimore’s Minimum Wage, on The Real New, Aug 11, 2016: Carl Stokes says he’s ‘betwixt and between’, will abstain from Monday’s vote;

Gallerie de photos: Incendies dans les Bouches-du-Rhône, une nuit dans les flammes, dans l’Obs, le 11 août 2016;

The Need to Rid the World of Inequality, Review of The 1% and the Rest of Us, on Dissident Voice, by Kim Petersen, Aug 10, 2016;

When Will the Record Corporate “Debt Binge” Collapse? on Wolf Street, by Wolf Richter, Aug 10, 2016: this year is unlike anything ever seen in the history of finance;

Why this Job Market is Still Terrible: The Politically Incorrect Numbers Everyone is Hushing up, on Wolf Street, by Wolf Richter, Aug 5, 2016: for individuals, it has barely improved since the Great Recession;

Wo endet die Toleranz? – Vom Umgang mit Islam und Islamismus, 4.58 min, von SWR am 16. Jan 2015 hochgeladen … nach dem Pariser Terror-Drama vom 7. Januar sprechen wir mit dem Philosophen und Autor Peter Sloterdijk über den Anschlag auf die Freiheit und seine Folgen.

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