NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • The War on Wages and The Road to Bangladesh


    Bill Black: In the name of competitiveness, the criminal conditions that led to the deaths and injuries of thousands of workers in Bangladesh, are being created around the world in a race to lower wages and working conditions -   May 2, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter




    the name says it all...real news - yusuf
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    William K. Black, author of THE BEST WAY TO ROB A BANK IS TO OWN ONE, teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Black was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and senior deputy chief counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement. Black developed the concept of "control fraud" frauds in which the CEO or head of state uses the entity as a "weapon." Control frauds cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime combined. He recently helped the World Bank develop anti-corruption initiatives and served as an expert for OFHEO in its enforcement action against Fannie Mae's former senior management.

    Transcript

    The War on Wages and The Road to BangladeshJESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of the Bill Black report.

    Bill Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a white-collar criminologist and former financial regulator. He is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One and a regular contributor to The Real News.

    Thanks for joining us, Bill.

    BILL BLACK, ASSOC. PROF. ECONOMICS AND LAW, UMKC: Thank you.

    DESVARIEUX: So, Bill, today marks--is May 1, which marks May Day, of course. What sort of news do you have for us related to workers rights?

    BLACK: Well, a demonstration of how critical those rights have been to working people. So we're talking today about the terrible loss of not only life but thousands of people maimed in the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh and the fact that this isn't some, you know, random act of God, but a combination of crime, it appears, from the top of the organization and good old physics, that building a building in what used to be a swamp without very special construction techniques is inherently unsound and likely to lead to terrible loss of life.

    DESVARIEUX: Okay. And you mentioned, though, that there was a road in getting to Bangladesh. I mean, there have been incidents like this in the past. I mean, the number of people who were killed, we're talking about 400-plus people, and the number of those injured could be--are definitely in the hundreds, even thousands, perhaps. How did we get here? It's not just one morning we woke up and there were these types of conditions in garment factories. What is really the driving force behind them [crosstalk]

    BLACK: No, you're quite right. That is the fundamental question. And I have been writing about it. And, of course, we're trying to urge policy changes to prevent this kind of thing.

    As we speak, the latest numbers are over 400 confirmed dead, 2,500 injured, and many of those injuries are very severe. And, in fact, three of the recent deaths have been of people in hospital. But many amputations--the usual type of thing when you have the collapse of a heavy structure. And a list of 1,300 missing. Now, that list probably has many duplicates, so we are hopeful that there aren't an additional 1,000-plus people dead, but we don't know. In any event, it's just the latest tragedy within Bangladesh.

    And, of course, it's again not some random tragedy. These are acts of crime by people who profit--not from the collapse, but from having cheap buildings and having workers that are suppressed to the point that the Pope, as we--you know, just hours before we spoke, the Pope said that these workers were living in conditions that he equated to modern slavery. So some of the workers were getting EUR 38 a month. Now, that is almost exactly the definition of what the United Nations calls extreme poverty. So these are people who are fully employed, often working substantial overtime, and with all that employment they are in extreme poverty. And that's become the norm. And that's why I dub this process the road to Bangladesh.

    And in the European context this has come up recently, because the euro, as we've talked about in the past, doesn't provide any good means of responding when your nation is caught in a severe recession or great depression. And so what Germany is imposing on the periphery of Europe is a combination of austerity, which makes the recession much worse, and a demand for what they call labor reform. And, of course, reform sounds like a good word, but it's mostly designed to make it far easier to fire people so that you can lower working-class wages very substantially and force the workers into ever deeper price competition with each other.

    And so, you know, I've been to Ireland and Spain and Italy and such. And in Ireland, there the whole strategy is to lower working-class wages to the point that they can out-compete the Spanish. But the Spanish are trying to lower wages for Spanish workers to the point that they can out-compete Portugal, which is trying to lower wages to out-compete southern Italy, which is lowering wages to try to out-compete Greece, which is lowering its wages to try to out-compete Turkey.

    And the result of all of this dynamic is that you end up in a Bangladesh-like circumstance where even if people are fully employed, they're in extreme poverty, where you pit the poor against the poor so that they can't insist on safe dwellings. This is, you know, a building collapse that's caused more losses, but the fires in Bangladesh, again in garment factories, have killed hundreds recently as well. And it's the usual thing. You find that the fire codes aren't enforced, the key exit doors are locked, supposedly to stop theft. If anybody's familiar with the Triangle fire in the United States, we're recreating these conditions in much of Bangladesh.

    And two things that--I warned about this dynamic in a group, a conference, an economics conference in Ireland in November 2012 called Kilkenomics. And my copanelist said, what are you talking about? You're crazy. Bangladesh is the great success story of rapid economic growth. If we're putting Greece on the road to Bangladesh, then that's great for Greece. And so you get an idea of how really criminogenic these kinds of theoclassical economic dogmas are, where they don't see anything as to what's happening at the level of the people. They see the profits of the businesses, and they think, that's great.

    And the second one was--I did the keynote speech, this Public Eye Award, which is a shaming award, for Goldman Sachs. And this is--the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland do this annually, and they do it in Davos, which is the site of the World Economic Forum. Well, it turns out the World Economic Forum is this very right-wing group of business types, and they have a supposed scale that talks about whether a country is competitive. And other even more right-wing folks have ones that call it freedom. But the World Bank has something called the Doing Business index. And all three of these things share a common theme, which is, if you comply with the International Labour Organization, the ILO, standards to protect workers from, you know, being killed at work, which you would think could be a noncontroversial thing, thing you're a bad place. You're a bad nation. You're not competitive. It's not a good place to do business. It's a place where you're denied economic freedom if you are protected from bosses like in Bangladesh, who deliberately build on a swamp and then bribe officials, allegedly, to get the building done, and then tell you, even when the cracks appear in the foundational pillars, that it's nothing, the plaster is just, you know, rupturing a little and the building's perfectly safe, and they tell you, go back and work or we will dock your wages.

    So that dynamic, which is at the level even of an associate enterprise of the World Bank, is steadily pushing--those indexes are used in the parliaments of all these nations to say, see? See? This is a race, and we've got to win the race. And the way you win the race is to destroy worker protections. And the result is this dynamic. You create what we call a Gresham's dynamic, where bad ethics drives good ethics out of the marketplace, what happens when people who cheat gain an advantage in the marketplace.

    And, of course, it's cheaper to not even buy the land. The person who supposedly own the land it is alleged actually stole the land in this case. But it's cheaper not to use appropriate construction materials. It's cheaper, of course, to buy swamp land than regular land, because, after all, you can't build in swamp land, except that he did.

    And all of these things, when they produce this race to the bottom, what they fundamentally do--you know, people are used to thinking this as just money. But what you do is put every worker in that building's life at deadly peril. And it's not a question of if; it's simply a question of how many people will die if we allow these kind of perverse standards to continue.

    So the very first thing we need to do is get rid of and completely discredit these so-called--these three indexes that push people to repudiate ILO standards of safety, and we need to substitute a competition in integrity for this competition in laxity that is literally lethal.

    In--if any of our viewers who've studied economics, these--what we're talking about is markets for lemons, very poor quality goods, in this case a factory. The literature on lemons typically just talks about it as a loss of money, but when you build a lemon of a building, you kill people. And this isn't the only place. This happens through much of the world where there's significant seismic risk, earthquakes, in other words. They bribe the building inspectors. Often the building codes are very good, but it's cheaper to build a building without appropriate rebar, with thinner concrete, etc., etc., etc. And those buildings collapse. And, of course, the saying among people that study earthquakes is that earthquakes don't kill people; buildings kill people.

    DESVARIEUX: Absolutely. Well, thanks for joining us, Bill.

    BLACK: Thank you.

    DESVARIEUX: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting