Meryl Streep, where are you when we need you?
BBC and Aljazeera both led this morning’s news with the 8-story building that pancaked into an earthquake-like rubble heap in Dhaka, Bangladesh yesterday. Upwards of 120 people are dead. The stories referenced the frequency with which this happens in Bangladesh where the regulatory agencies that do exist are beholden to the politicians who are generally bought off by garment industry interests. Needless to say not a lot gets done in the way of worker safety.
There was a related story last night on “All in with Chris Hayes” about the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion where 15 people were killed and at least 200 injured. Gross violations of safety standard appear to have been present at the site. In the U.S. we have lots of regulatory agencies—they aren’t well funded, Congress is anxious to get rid of them and often the regulators are buddies with the regulated.
Mostly the American TV has ignored the above “accidents” and focused on the admittedly fascinating case of the guys at the heart of the Boston bombings—the foreigners/the terrorists. Wonder who’s winning in the contest between death by “international terrorism” versus death by workplace negligence?
Who knows if the citizens of Dhaka are royally pissed? I’m sure some are; lot of good that will do.
What really shocks me is that apparently the citizens of West aren’t. Royally pissed. Not at the owners who are “part of us…we went to school with their kids” or their government that presumably should have offered some assurance that it is not ALL about dollars—that workers’ safety is a consideration.
Why then are right wingers railing about the “nanny state” where the community well-being is protected? It is gone. If the citizens of Dhaka and West can’t/won’t/don’t want to rise up in wrath why should I care?
The thing is…I don’t think the good people of Dhaka have very much choice, their minimal wages for stitching up my GAP jeans are at least putting some food in the mouths of their kids and there hasn’t been a Bangladeshi Spring.
But here at home…I honestly thought that when criminality was exposed, when it killed our communities’ kids or fire fighters and demolished our homes, we would always rise up in wrath and denounce the acceptance of greed over concern for community. But greed is no longer one of the seven deadly sins, it is an American value. Even in West which is nowhere near Wall Street.
Silkwood was a true story. OR. Capitalism is all good. Choose one.