Thursday, October 17, 2013
Systemic Corruption and Failure in Haiti's Factories
Exploitation of labor has long been a recurring issue, throughout the world, particularly in less developed areas of the world. That being said, the recent revelations about the conditions of factories in Haiti are incredibly alarming. Clothing factories in Haiti became very prominent following the devastating 2010 earthquake that ravaged the country. Despite the economic benefit of the manufacturing jobs, these factories appear to be doing more harm than good. Recent reports have shown surprising failures in the area of employee safety along with a great deal of exploitation. Issues include poor lighting, lack of medical personnel, fire safety problems, and theft of wages from employees. These findings reveal a willful systemic negligence that not only robs workers of what they have earned, but also puts them in a great deal of danger on the job.
Personally, I find these failures to be appalling and completely unacceptable. Perhaps the most disturbing part is that some of these factories make clothes for American companies and at least one was built in large part by our own State Department as a part of the aid following the earthquake. This exploitation of foreign workers shows the darker side of American capitalism, the side that has led to a great deal of corruption in foreign countries and gotten the U.S. entangled in problematic wars. These issues are indicative of the ethical bankruptcy of owners and managers who value profit over the well-being of their employees. It is obvious to me that governmental or international oversight needs to be utilized in order to hold these factories and companies to higher standards in the way they treat their employees.