Pick Wayne's Brain

May 11, 2013

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 12:45 PM

On April 23, 2013, Mohammed Sohel Rana assured factory owners and reporters that Rana Plaza, the Bangladesh building that bore his name, would stand “for a century.” It collapsed the next day and as of this morning, they’ve pulled 1,034 bodies from the rubble. Those people did not have to die. According to the Worker Rights Consortium, the cost to upgrade all of Bangladesh’s garment factories would be about $3 billion. This figures assumes all the major factories would need safety equipment installed and other related expenses. If you spread that cost out over five years (as in, you loan them the money, which is how it would normally be done), that comes out to about $600 million per year. There are roughly 7 billion garments exported from that country each year, so if you add ten cents, one thin dime, to the cost of each garment, you more than cover that renovation cost. Just ten cents more for that piece of clothing you’re wearing could have saved over a thousand lives. (Others say the per garment price increase could be as high as twenty-five cents.) Is human life worth so little to us that we won’t pay a dime more for an article of clothing? Where are the pro-life people on this issue? They should be demanding better safety for garment workers worldwide right along with the rest of us.

[Edited for date error.]

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