Made in China - So?

'Made in India'. So what?

Have you any qualms about buying cheap goods from China or India?

Games of life and death (Comment by Melanie McDonaugh in The Times 15 August 2007)

Do you worry about the conditions under which factory workers in China work?

Are you concerned with the breakdown of social relations as a result of millions of people migrating to the cities to work in sweatshops?

Are you aware of the abuse that these workers face in their factories?

Tell us here.

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It is not necessarily 'Made in China', I guess, but today I came across this comment: A world of hemp lingerie? No thanks (Timesonline, 21st April 2008) and felt outraged that the writer implied that it is not worth sewing a button back on an item of clothing, or that doing so (sew) is akin to slave labour. If Melanie Reid wants to know what slave labour really is, I would suggest that she reads Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace by Pun Ngai.

Pun (pronounced 'Poon') and I crossed paths while doing our PhDs in London. I read some of her original writing for our thesis-writing workshops. Let us just say that after reading her harrowing ethnographic accounts of what these dagongmei go through in their factories and dormitories, I could not sleep that night.

I think I became sensitized to the possible abuse involved in anything 'Made in China' after that.

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Here's one Made In India

Blood Sweat and T-Shirts If you missed episodes from this BBC Three series, do try to see it on their iPlayer (you might need to search around this site for the latest installment): Six young fashion addicts experience life as factory workers in India, making clothes for the British high street, working in the mills of India’s cotton belt and stitch clothes in cramped back rooms, sleeping next to their sewing machine.

Maybe, see also Blog here:

"Of course after my four weeks of such participant observation I could (and did) retreat to the safe confines of my ivory tower at the university. ... University seemed so surreal after my four weeks on the factory floor. ...

"My friends at the factory -- they didn't have the choice."

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 Good to find an example of a shoemaker/retailer who advocates 'care and repair' rather than 'buy cheap and dispose'.

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Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts (Episode 2) 'Review' in my Blog here:

"In this episode my attention was drawn most to Richard the working-class boy made good ....

"His point was that -- because he has done so -- anyone could make a better life for himself. ...

"Please if you are a friend of Richard, ask him to put in search engine "culture of poverty". "





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