3 thoughts on “The Pope and a ‘fair wage’ in Bangladesh”

  1. Posted 14/05/2013 at 18:59 | Permalink

    Dear Mr Bartholomew

    It seems some people wish to retain third world people in poverty, perhaps to allow them to be ‘compassionate’ or ‘charitable’ towards them and to denounce their ‘exploitation’ by evil capitalists and business owners.

    Allowing people in developing countries to actually develop appears to be anathema to them.

    It took centuries for the West to develop to the state we’re in. The Asian tiger economies achieved the same in a few decades until they reached the leading edge of development.

    Those countries immune to development, even to the point of regressing, have more than their fair share of political corruption, civil unrest and a government actively dissuading foreign investment, assisted by aid from foreign governments and charities.

    I haven’t heard of mass starvation in Bangladesh, so $50 a month appears to be sufficient to keep a family fed, clothed and sheltered.

    It would be interesting to see a comparison between wage rates in poor developing countries and those in Britain at an equivalent level of development, and the rate of development with the rate experienced in Britain during that time.


  2. Posted 16/05/2013 at 13:54 | Permalink

    I hope your line of reasoning stops at wages, which I have some sympathy with. The issue that’s recently been highlighted with Bangladesh and other low wage countries is that of working conditions, labour laws and health and safety standards. Relaxing these conditions may as you say improve what really matters i.e. investment, profits and thus rapid economic development, but is short sighted and morally dubious.

    In short, whilst a free wage market with empowered agents is commendable, a market in peoples lives is less so.

  3. Posted 17/05/2013 at 01:51 | Permalink

    Forcing they payment of a higher wage will only lead to inflation? What a load of nonsense.

    A higher wage resulting from a fairtrade style system will come from increased export incomes improving the country’s current accout position. This improved current account position is just as useful as allowing 100% foreign ownership to bring inward investment, as you advocate, provided industries are responding dynamically to the market signals.

    Of couse, the point about cost competitiveness is justified, but you would hope that a bit of cost pressure would help push factory owners towards greater efficiencies (and yes, jobs losses, but this redundent labour can meet the demand of those still in employment with additional income).

    Broadly agree with the rest of the article. Development isn’t always pretty, but in the long run it is the only solution.

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