Thursday, April 25, 2013

Two Hundred Bangladeshis Die, But It’s Okay. A Media Star Explains

A sweatshop has collapsed in Bangladesh killing over two-hundred people. Survivors are still being pulled out the rubble.  Right now, as I write this, human beings just like us are dying unspeakably horrible deaths, a fact made more awful when you consider how bad their lives were. They made clothes for Wal-Mart and other such humanitarian outlets. Even though “deep cracks” were visible in the building and the police had ordered it closed, the slaves workers were ordered to keep sewing.

But it’s okay. Privileged rich fat kid Matthew Yglesias puts it all in perspective. Bangladesh doesn’t need tougher workplace safety rules, Boy Wonder explains, because the wogs are different from us:
Bangladesh is a lot poorer than the United States, and there are very good reasons for Bangladeshi people to make different choices in this regard than Americans. That’s true whether you’re talking about an individual calculus or a collective calculus. Safety rules that are appropriate for the United States would be unnecessarily immiserating in much poorer Bangladesh. Rules that are appropriate in Bangladesh would be far too flimsy for the richer and more risk-averse United States. Split the difference and you’ll get rules that are appropriate for nobody. The current system of letting different countries have different rules is working fine.

Yeah, it’s working out just dandy for the people who are bleeding and suffocating under piles of rubble, their bones shattered to bits. But that’s a chance the poor darkies take for being less risk-averse than the better sort of people. They made their calculus, whether individual or collective, and now they have to lay in it.

 I wonder where Master Yglesias learned so much about the psychology of the working poor? Was it from his rich family? Attending an elite private school in Manhattan? Harvard? Brunching with Ezra Klein and Megan Mcardle, where they also discussed the stress of being professional bloggers and having rich daddies? He must have divined it from those fleeting glimpses into the kitchen when the doors swung open.

Or maybe he learned about it while moonlighting as a film critic who specialized in comic book adaptations:
 I spent the decade as a real comic book adaptation completist, so I can tell you with some confidence that Daredevil and Elektra are the two worst of the decade. Considerably worse than the awful Fantastic Four 2. But which is the very worst? I think that to give a fair answer I would need to rewatch them but that’s a fate too horrible to contemplate.

No doubt. It’s far more horrible than spending your life in a sweatshop until the roof caves in and kills you; and all this while a self-described “comic book adaptation completist” who’s never lifted anything heavier than a double cheeseburger sits on his ass at Slate and lectures that slack safety regulations are working out well for you. They are a part of your collective calculus. 


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