domingo, janeiro 15, 2006

O outro lado do made in China

Hoje, os produtos feitos na China abundam nas lojas da Europa. Devido ao seu baixo preço, roupas, brinquedos e produtos electrónicos têm grande aceitação entre os consumidores europeus. Como resultado disto, a China é a economia que mais cresce no mundo, tendo mesmo ultrapassado o Reino Unido e sendo agora a quarta economia mundial.

Mas aquilo que não se sabe é a realidade que estás por detrás deste crescimento económico acelarado, bem como as suas consequências. O Independent dedicou a sua edição de ontem às condições miseráveis dos operários chineses:

Clothes and toys on sale in Britain's high streets are made by Chinese workers forced to endure illegal, exhausting and dangerous conditions, according to a new study. It will increase the pressure on retailers to monitor the conditions in which their products are made.

A three-year investigation into booming export factories for companies such as Marks & Spencer and Ikea discovered the human cost of China's "economic miracle". It found an army of powerless rural migrants toiling up to 14 hours a day, almost every day. Many were allowed just one day off a month and paid less than £50 a month for shifts that breached Chinese law and International Labour Organisation rules. Despite evidence of the shocking working conditions, cheap clothes, toys and increasingly electronic goods from the sweatshops are on sale in British shops with household names, including those with ethical buying policies.

Ainda segundo este artigo, na China os sindicatos independentes do partido oficial (o comunista) estão proibidos. Os operários trabalham em desrespeito pelas regras minimas de segurança no trabalho, ganham em média cerca de 40 euros por mês, e morrem frequentemente de exaustão ou acidentes de trabalho.

A consequência disto é que os produtos made in China impedem os países em desenvolvimento de crescer, e contribuem para o desemprego em muitos países da Europa, como Portugal. A verdade é esta: é impossível competir com as empresas chinesas, pois as suas condições de trabalho estão quase ao nível do trabalho escravo. E isto é mais uma prova de que o nosso mundo, inevitavelmente global, precisa não apenas do comércio livre, mas também de comércio mais justo.

E por isto tudo, caro leitor, antes de comprar uma peça de roupa ou brinquedo made in china, pense duas vezes. E porque não tornar-se um consumidor ético? Nós, consumidores, todos juntos, temos o poder de alterar o comportamento das empresas. Afinal, que tipo de mundo queremos: um mundo sem regras baseado na exploração das pessoas, ou um mundo mais justo e com menos desigualdade?

9 Comments:

At 1/16/2006 1:04 da manhã, Blogger Eva Shanti said...

Cada vez que pego em algo made in china (ou india, ou outro qualquer país 3 mundista) penso:´«esta pessoa trabalha o mês inteiro e o que ganha não chega para comprar este boneco, este par de ténis, esta t-shirt...»

Pior, podiam oferecer uma unidade a cada funcionário, já que ganham rios de diheiro com o trabalho deles.

Mas será que deixar de comprar é solução? Não irá piorar a situação de milhões de pessoas que, apesar de trabalho mal pago, têm trabalho? Que apesar de quase escravas conseguem uns trocos para poder comer?

A situação também se coloca ao nível do trabalho infantil. Há países em que as crianças ou trabalham, ou roubam para comer.

Quem me dera ter um mundo mais justo e com menos desigualdade...

Bjs

 
At 1/16/2006 10:29 da manhã, Blogger Eva Shanti said...

Só queria acrescentar que os consumidores são um grupo desorganizado e totalmente desconhecedor do poder que têm.

Já os produtors/fornecedores, são uma minoria em comparação com os consumidores, mas estão organizados, concertados e perfeitamente capazes de manipular a oferta.

Parece que é a oferta que determina e domina a procura, não o contrário.

Bjs

 
At 1/16/2006 11:35 da manhã, Blogger chiara said...

China cannot be defined a 3rd world -or developing, in politically correct terms- country. It is the 4th world economic power (it has just overtaken the UK). Actually, the invasion of cheap chinese textile on western market is crowding out the production from other developing countries. In other words, if we choose to not buy chinese products, we are not being unfair to developing economies..Cambodia represents an interesting attempt of paying decent wages and providing some form of socia insurance to workers.

 
At 1/16/2006 3:19 da tarde, Blogger Milan said...

Tb me sinto dividido entre o primeiro comentário da Eva e a posição do Nuno e da Chiara... Um caso difícil...

 
At 1/16/2006 6:34 da tarde, Blogger chiara said...

I am not sure that working as slaves is better than being unemployed.. this trade-off reminds me of the justification to the italian mafia blackmail: in Catania, companies like the Costanzo family construction, have been tolerated despite being part of the mafia system on the ground that provided job to people otherwise unemployed...no that is too easy. I am sorry, we are in 2005, not in the 1800.

 
At 1/16/2006 10:44 da tarde, Blogger Nuno said...

Today, is practically impossible not to buy products that are made in China. So any form of boycott is almost impossible :)

I am sensible to Eva's arguments. But being aware that the made in China, in today's conditions, is a serious cause of poverty elsewhere, I try to reflect this knowledge in my shopping decisions.

I also believe that we, as consumers, can do something to urge businessmen to create better working conditions for chinese workers. If they know that we, as consumers, prefer companies and supliers that provide better working conditions for their workers, then they may start to do something about it.

Initiatives like fair trade have been very sucessful so far. And this contributes to improve the lifes of thousands of workers around the world.

 
At 1/17/2006 10:58 da manhã, Blogger Eva Shanti said...

Nuno & Chiara,

First of all, I must admit that I was wrong considering as 3rd world country.

People working as slaves to earn some money instead being unemployed… No, it’s not really an argument; it’s a fact, unfortunately.

Here in Portugal we have a sad reality too. We have people underpaid, working for large companies and being explored to maintain a job. If you ask them I’m sure they all would say that they want to keep their job although they work many many hours without being paid for this extra-work, although they feel depressed and sick.

Other fact: in these conditions, people by the cheapest products, so they buy things made in china, made in India, made in what so ever.

I believe that we all have the power as consumers to do something to change this sad and unfair reality, but we are not well organized. At least, not in Portugal.

 
At 1/17/2006 9:57 da tarde, Blogger Nuno said...

Eva,

I think that the situation in China and Portugal are not comparable.

I also have friends that feel underpaid or that are not very happy with their jobs. Yet in Portugal trade unions are legal, it is a proper democracy with a multi-party system and where there are parties that defend the interests of low-income workers (like PCP). There are labour laws, there is some degree of social protection and a minimum wage, which, although low when compared to other european countries, is much higher than the one in China (if there is one at all).

In China there is nothing like this. People are not underpaid, they practically slaves. They have no rights whatsoever. There are almost no labour laws.

The problem is that China can no longer be considered a poor country. We are talking about the 4th largest economy in the world. I think that we should demand more from China. Because working conditions and the wages of low income workers in China has a hige effect on the rest of the world.

 
At 1/17/2006 10:10 da tarde, Blogger Nuno said...

(Also about consumers not being organised.)

There is a process of making people aware of things. They should know that many products that they buy are the result of exploring people (of not paying them what is decent). Once they are aware of this then they decide whether to do something about it.

That is the aim of this post: make the few people that read it aware, and encourage people to become ethical consumers.

 

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