Thursday, July 30, 2015
"The True Cost": western consumers depend on slave overseas labor for clothes, and other things
“The True Cost” (2015), directed by Andrew Morgan, starts out as a predictable critique of the way US clothing retailers and brands depend on garments manufactured by grossly underpaid labor overseas. This affects even major fashion lines. Fashion should not be disposable, the film says.
Gradually, though, the documentary turns into a attack on “materialism”, and on a capitalist system that seems predicated on it.
The film offers live footage in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Uganda, Haiti, China and Japan.
Particularly effective is coverage of a major factory fire in Bangladesh, and of a government crackdown on labor protests in Phnom Penh. The film also ventures to cover cotton growing in southern US, and the virtues of “organic fabrics”.
One could ask a disturbing question about the moral responsibility of individual consumers. But the problem of underpaid workers probably does affect the low end the most. One could start asking the same questions about other products, like computers, cell phones and electronics. It doesn't stop with Thomas Carlyle ("Sartor Resartus").
The official site is here Besides Netflix Instant, it is also available on Amazon and iTunes.
Picture: near Tupelo MS, Natchez Trace, my trip, 2014.