Favorite

Like Pakistan 

The Old America that the Tea Party and its corporate backers are crying to bring back was free of tiresome regulations burdening businessmen just trying to create jobs, and maybe make a few pennies of profit. That America was very much like the Pakistan of today.

The news from Karachi last week, of fire sweeping through two sweatshop clothing factories and killing nearly 300 people, many of them trapped behind locked doors and barred windows, immediately brought to mind the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York in 1911. One hundred and forty-six garment workers died then, many of them, like their Pakistani successors, trapped behind locked doors. Some leapt from the 10th floor rather than burn.

America changed after the Triangle fire. The lives of working people were deemed to be worth saving henceforth, even if it cost a few dollars. Legislation improving workplace safety was enacted. The fire spurred the growth of labor unions that fought for better working conditions and higher wages. (The Tea Party and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce want to drive unions out of existence. They believe rich bosses should decide unilaterally how and whether poor workers live. They support Mitt Romney.)

It's no cinch that the Karachi fire will bring similar reform to Pakistan, a country famous for its atrocious working conditions and lack of basic safety equipment in factories, a country where the sweatshoppers routinely bribe government inspectors to ignore safety violations. In fact, if the Republicans gain control of Congress and the White House, America will start looking more like Pakistan than the other way around.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Politics and the court

    When they say that confirming a Supreme Court justice is about the Constitution, they mean it's about politics. It's always about politics, at least in the modern era.
  • Having the abortion conversation

    One potential game-changer on attitudes regarding abortion is a clear change in its legal status.
  • Targeting teachers

    The Hutchinson administration has riled the teachers union in the Little Rock School District.
  • Ad hominem

    Everybody's favorite logical fallacy these days seems to be the argumentum ad hominem. That's where you make a personal attack on somebody's presumed motives instead of engaging the substance of what they've said. Sad to say, it's as prevalent on the political left as the right.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: People vs. corporations

    • Voting for the minimum wage is not an example of doing something "for the people."…

    • on August 15, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation