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Thread: The True Cost (documentary)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    The True Cost (documentary)

    I just watched this tonight with my GF and the local simple living group.

    It was both life affirming and life changing. People cried, my GF included.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    San Francisco
    Planet Money did a series a while back (maybe a year ago?) where they actually produced an ugly t-shirt from sourcing cotton (in the US) through having it produced off-shore and delivered. Fascinating the complexity of the process. And interesting interviews with the various companies that had a part in teh production of the shirt. One of the more interesting bits was with the actual manufacturer of the shirts. I forget which country he was in but he was concerned that his labor cost was making his firm non-competitive in basic shirt production so he was looking to up his game in terms of being able to do more than just basic manufacture (by buying new fancy equipment) so that he could step up a rung on the manufacturing food chain and remain viable by doing work that the newer, less developed country's factories weren't yet capable of.

    We probably can't put the free-trade genie back in the bottle, so I'm not sure what the answer is. In the long run it's likely that the same worker struggles that happened in the US to improve working conditions and pay will happen elsewhere, but probably on a much slower scale. After all, if one country implements worker safety protections after a big fire (as happened in the US after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire 100 years ago) manufacture of goods will simply move down the line to another country that hasn't yet implemented similar protections and is therefore a cheaper location for production. Eventually every country will have implemented the improvements but it'll be a long slow slog to get to that point.

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