Rana Plaza Disaster

MODERNITY AND ITS DISCONTENTS

SHORT WRITING TASK 1 – THE RANA PLAZA DISASTER

Having watched the 4 Corners piece and read the newspaper articles about the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, critically reflect on what this event tells us about global, 21st century capitalism. You might focus on the historical desire for capital (money used for investment) to use cheap labour in order to create ever-increasing amounts of profit (another kind of money, that which is left-over once expenses are subtracted from earnings). You could reflect on your own role in the global market. How does our desire for cheaper products increase the likelihood of such disasters? Who is to blame? Who should take responsibility for improving the working conditions of people in the garment industry? The local Bangladeshi factory owners? The western corporations that own and market the brands of clothes being produced? The Bangladeshi government? The international labour movement? Consumers of the end product? Is there such a thing as ethical consumption? And what of the victims of this disaster and the hundreds of thousands of similarly exploited workers like them? What will happen to them if we boycott the products they make? How does global capitalism encourage us to forget their plight?

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