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SHOP AT BRENT CROSS SHOPPING CENTRE!: The Guardian: "Retailers urged to take Bangladesh safety deal further"

Link to web site

"Workers rights groups are calling on retailers to use a legally binding deal to improve safety for clothes factory workers in Bangladesh as a blueprint for tackling similar problems elsewhere.

"IndustriALL, the international union group which is backing the deal between textile workers and more than 70 retailers to tackle fire safety and building security in Bangladesh, said it had already begun work to build a similar agreement in Pakistan. It comes amid evidence that workers in Pakistan and China face greater workplace risks than those in Bangladesh.

"Retailers including Primark, Marks & Spencer and H&M agreed to independent factory inspections and action to improve manufacturers' buildings in Bangladesh, after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in April killed more than 1,100 people."

"New direction needed to
lead us out of Wongaland"
(Link to The Guardian)

"Eminent economists have been struggling to explain why output per worker is now lower than it was before the start of the recession. Dick Sargent, in a piece for the journal Economic Affairs, comes up with one simple explanation: labour is cheap and capital is expensive. The financial crisis made the banks much more cautious about lending, and this, combined with a lack of demand from firms in want of 'animal spirits', has led to the decline in business investment.

"At the same time, workers have been taking cuts in real (inflation-adjusted) wages, so employers have been able to generate the same level of output by using less capital and more labour. There was a slowdown in the growth rate of capital per employee, which led to a slowdown in the rate of output per employee.

"... Where do we go from here? Option one is the free-market right's new 'alternative economic strategy': lower taxes, a smaller state, less red tape, liberalisation of planning. Option two is a new AES for the left: national investment bank, Green New Deal, activist industrial and regional policy. Option three is to accept that this is as good as it gets."

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