Inherent Worker Exploitation, and Our Complacency

The Dutch Government describes the phenomenon of Labor Exploitation as, “cases where people are made to work – voluntarily or under duress – while their employer withholds their wages and/or cases where they are made to work under very poor conditions.” Workers in the Global North generally agreed to contain North America, Western Europe and Japan, have the highest standards of workers rights. This developed, wealthy democratic archetype which has often had social safety nets built up over the course of its history, generally results in workers gaining some amount of protection from labour exploitation.

However, not all countries, nor even all democracies are developed and wealthy. Many, such as the ones we shall be analyzing today, located outside the Global North, are desperately poor and underdeveloped. This Diaspora isn’t natural and was instead created largely by those same wealthy, developed northern democracies. They developed it through generations of colonialism, and now the neoliberal influence of the IMF and World Bank (Helen Caraveli. 2016). More specifically, financial aid from the north to the south often comes with neoliberal barbs in the form of stipulations that destroy developing (expensive) welfare systems. In other words, the only way to economically grow for many countries is to accept aid but destroy workers protections. The message remains the same, no matter how much independence an ex-colonized country may officially receive, they will still be economically submissive to the colonizing nation which continues to rape them.

Today we shall take a closer look at the 3 Industries with serious workers rights abuses, and how our consumption of their products only continues to support their exploitation. These industries shall be diamond mining, cocoa farming, textile manufacturing. Inhabitants of the global north pay these industries tens of billions of euros a year, while they can’t be bothered to spend more of that money ensuring safe working conditions, fair pay, sick leave, and health care for all the workers they employ.