Good morning. I'm away on my annual Wildacres Writer's Retreat atop Pompeii's Point in North Carolina. I've been reading Fred Goldstein's Low-Wage Capitalism and thought his "Why the bosses need Walmart" is instructive. Enjoy Part 6:
The cost of Walmart's low prices is illustrated by the plight of workers at the Western Dresses factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2003, sixteen-year-old junior sewing machine operator, Robina Akther -- whose job was to sew flaps on the back pockets of pants destined for Walmart -- worked for thirteen cents an hour, fourteen hours a day, making $26.98 a month. If she did not sew the required 120 pairs of pants per hour she was beaten. "They slapped you and lashed you hard on the face with the pants. This happens very often. It is no joke." The work went on from 8 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m., seven days a week, with ten days off in the whole year. Charles Fishman, the author of this account, calculated that it would take half a century for Akther to earn $16,200, while in 2003 Walmart's profits were $19,597 per minute! Akther brought a lawsuit against Walmart in the United States for failure to provide back wages, overtime pay and protection from physical abuse that Bangladeshi law provides. Fourteen other workers were plaintiffs in the lawsuit -- from China, Indonesia, Swaziland and Nicaragua. According to Fishman, "all make merchandise for Walmart, and all have nearly identical claims."
Previously... Yes, I realize that Goldstein as leader and member of the secretariat of the Workers World Party has a point of view anathema to the majority of people in the United States, but he consistently raises points that I think important and worthy of deep discussion concerning our present economic hierarchy in general and Walmart in particular. I sincerely hope that when I return from my retreat I'll find the beginning of discussion that brings a thoughtful, large and varied voice to The Writing On The Wal. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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