Bodies continue to pile up at Rana Plaza, once a powerhouse of Bangladesh’s garment industry, where more than 1,000 corpses have been unearthed since a factory collapse two weeks ago (and today, another survivor was discovered). Meanwhile, yet another disaster, a May 8 fire at the Tung Hai Sweater Factory in Dhaka’s Mirpur district, claimed eight additional lives. In total, the death toll since 2005 from fires and other preventable incidents at factories in Bangladesh now exceeds 1,500, according to garment-industry watchdogs—including more than 110 killed by a fire at the Wal-Mart-affiliated Tazreen factory in November.
|By: Michelle Chen Saturday May 11, 2013 6:40 pm|
|By: Michelle Chen Saturday April 27, 2013 11:30 am|
There are few ways to make a decent living in Bangladesh, but there are many ways to die trying. The cruel weight of that reality bore down on a Dhaka factory complex on Wednesday as it crashed to the ground and instantly extinguished hundreds of lives and livelihoods.
As of this writing, the body count at Rana Plaza is about 300 and rising, with hundreds more workers still unaccounted for, and the 72-hour emergency window for recovering trapped people alive almost gone.
|By: Michelle Chen Monday April 22, 2013 7:35 am|
Wal-Mart’s business model runs on the art of delusion. Clean aisles and bright decor insulate customers from the unseemly factories that produce the brand’s sought-after bargains. But when Wal-Mart’s label was found plastered all over the charred remains of a massive factory fire in Bangladesh last fall, the ugliness at the root of the retail giant’s supply chain was exposed.
|By: Michelle Chen Sunday December 23, 2012 8:07 am|
In a fashion industry where trends change by the minute, the lives of the workers who make the clothes are often valued as cheaply as the products they create. The devastating fire at the Tazreen factory in Bangladesh, which killed more than 110 people, is tied to what labor advocates describe as a powder keg: the manufacturing system in the Global South, where countless factories are one spark away from catastrophe.
|By: David Dayen Monday November 26, 2012 3:00 pm|
I briefly mentioned the implications of the Walmart supply chain, and how the insistence of keeping prices low has wide-ranging impacts across the globe. Apparently some of those impacts are completely tragic.
|By: Lisa Derrick Monday October 1, 2012 5:00 pm|
Muhammad Yunus is visionary economist and Noble Peace Prize winner who believes in the essential goodness of humanity. Stepping down from the ivory tower of academia, Yunus visited the poorest villages of Bangladesh in 1976 and made a personal loan of $27 to 42 women in the village so they could build and sell bamboo furniture. The loan was paid back with interest, and the women took out a larger loan. Thus microfinance was born. In the past 30 years, microcredit has spread to every continent and has benefited over 100 million people. Yunus’ Grameen Bank (literally “village bank”) has loaned money to 1 out of 1,000 people on earth, at 98% repayment rate.
In Bonsai People, The Vision of Muhammad Yunus, Holly Mosher follows the founding of a Grameen Bank branch and several of the women aided by loans.
|By: Michelle Chen Wednesday March 14, 2012 7:00 pm|
The world’s greatest games are about to begin in London. But outside the sporting spectacle this summer, few will notice where the real cheating is going on: in Asian factories that churn out plush mascots and other Olympiad gear, corporations have freely exploited lax labor regulations. As the Olympics approach, activists are racing to push the brands behind the games to play by the rules of fair trade and human rights.
Trying to avoid an instant replay of London’s age of imperialism, the Play Fair 2012 campaign aims for accountability and transparency in the corporations scoring massive profits from cheap labor in the global south.
|By: Josh Mull Monday April 26, 2010 4:05 pm|
Answer: Zero. The military shouldn’t even be involved in Afghanistan. If we want to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan, we need sustainable, civilian-only solutions.
|By: Tula Connell Thursday December 25, 2008 1:30 pm|
When America’s founders crafted the Constitution, they knew more was needed to ensure the survival of democracy. So they created the Bill of Rights. They made sure that at the top of the list, the First Amendment included such rights as the freedom of assembly. That is, the freedom of all of us to gather together in groups of our choosing. Like, say, unions.
|By: Ian Welsh Saturday February 9, 2008 4:00 pm|
You also didn’t earn most of it. It seems like every time I discuss taxation, some libertarian will waltz in and say “it’s my money and I don’t see why the government should be able to take it.” So let’s run through why, no, it isn’t your money.