Capitalism At It’s Finest

D.K. Garments is a subcontract factory with 150 foreign guest workers (135 from Bangladesh and 15 from Sri Lanka), which has been producing Victoria’s Secret garments for the last year. None of the workers have been provided their necessary residency permits, without which they cannot venture outside the industrial park without fear of being stopped by the police and perhaps imprisoned for lack of proper documents.The Victoria’s Secret workers toil 14 to 15 hours a day, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., seven days a week, receiving on average one day off every three or four months. All overtime is mandatory, and workers are routinely at the factory 98 to 105 hours a week while toiling 89 to 96 hours. Treatment is very rough, as managers and supervisors scream at the foreign guest workers to move faster to complete their high production goals.

Workers who fall behind on their production goals, or who make even a minor error, can be slapped and beaten. Despite being forced to work five or more overtime hours a day, the workers are routinely shortchanged on their legal overtime pay, being cheated of up to $18.48 each week in wages due them. While this might not seem like a great deal of money, to these poor workers it is the equivalent of losing three regular days’ wages each week.

Workers are allowed just 3.3 minutes to sew each $14 Victoria’s Secret women’s bikini, for which they are paid four cents. The workers’ wages amount to less than 3/10ths of one percent of the $14 retail price of the Victoria’s Secret bikini. Victoria Secret, Slave Labor

This is a very common problem for foreign produced goods and is not limited to just American corporations (Nike and Wal-Mart being other recent examples), but is found throughout the entire world. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, India, Thailand, Burma, even New York city and Los Angeles where sweat shops and slave labor abound.

Slave labor is everywhere, the exploitation of human capital benefiting corporate monstrosities catering to dumbed down consumers who are too apathetic and stuffed to even care. Please read the rest of that article, it’s an eye opener.

Now, hoping you have read the article, consider this side tidbit: there is disagreement that America won’t fall under martial law because there won’t be the troops necessary to enforce it. But consider how people, all over the world, are willingly selling themselves into slave labor so that they can have the means to eat or a tin roof over their heads at night. This is a fact, a reality endured by millions of “workers” who are supporting the American corporate empire (and others). Finding the troops to enforce martial law in America is not going to be a problem here or anywhere else in the world as long as these corporate monstrosities control the resources we need to eat and live.

The real world is brutal, harsh, cold, calculating and utterly indifferent to suffering. Go examine the plight of the Palestinian people, the brutal conditions in the African diamond mines, the wholesale slaughter that has occurred in Uganda, Zimbabwe and recently, Burma where monks were killed by the thousands for current examples.

The world does not care about you or anybody else. Americans live pampered, puffed and pitiful little lives at the expense of other humans suffering on a global scale so that we can have our ‘essential’ baubles and trinkets and air-conditioned brainwashing malls. Spin cycle set to heavy-duty. Wash, rinse, repeat, over and over again, ad nauseam. American corporations are one of the primary parties responsible for this, but if they were not American, they would be Dutch, German, French, Italian or Canadian or any other country.

Capitalism depends on the exploitation of resources, both human and non-human, on a global scale. Profits are the sole motivation, the suffering of humans and non-humans are economically immaterial. Go examine a feedlot, pig farm or chicken ranch. Our treatment of other living creatures is absolutely appalling, and we mistakenly still believe this is the “good life”, the best the world has ever seen.

An ethical corporation would close up shop upon discovering that there are supporting the slave trade, but you don’t see that happening, do you? They’re not so ignorant to “not know” what they’ve done and deliberately set out to do. Instead, they get “caught” and the public outcry embarrasses them, so they pull up stakes and setup their sweat shops elsewhere and go right on as before.

What a wonderful arrangement this is for all the shallowly “concerned”. We get to feel self-righteous that we “objected” (but never stopped buying their shit or put these people out of business) and the corporations claim they’ve cleaned up their act and everybody’s happy, except the newly exploited poor who’s now “hired” for pennies a day in some third-world backwater to produce endless reams of more useless garbage for the American “connedsumer” market.

I’m no bleeding heart liberal, nor even remotely a pacifist, finding such positions indefensible, because they ultimately assume a position of personal irresponsibility. Our disagreement should not always be passive or silent because this position changes nothing and continues to permit everything. I mention this, because I find the widespread callous disregard for our consumptive consumerism at the expense of other living beings as being just as indefensible. It not only permits such crimes to keep occurring, it promotes them and enables them. But we go on just like always, pretending that there is nothing we can do about it, or settle for useless and stupid protests, marches and “boycotts”, or worse, expend our “votes” on cowardly politicians who don’t have the spine of a earthworm to “fix the problems” for us.

Common sense tells any thinking human being that such crimes should be stopped. Non-participation is one step in this process, otherwise, we are hypocrites and indefensible in our complicit agreement to enable these crimes, but it is not the only step. It is we ourselves, who are enabling these corporations to continue with their abuse. Those poor peasants they exploit have already been disarmed, downtrodden and exploited for centuries in many cases by the wealthy and powerful (including their own people). But we, surrounded by our wealth and abundance and high living “standards” never make the connection that we are really the ones who now stand behind this, enabling this and promoting it, and not just with our consumption, but with our acquiesence to how exploitation works, how capitalism works, and our unwillingness to rise up and put a stop to it.

We’ve swallowed the lie that we can’t do anything about it, that we must allow the “democratic process” to work (which never does, it just regurgitates and pontificates, changing nothing) and that we must abide by the rules that have been laid down for us, but not for them. Hogwash. This has never been true, but the media and government spin cycle constantly regurgitates this abomination of logic, keeping us dumb, stupid and ignorant to the real facts of life.

This blog has largely focused on collapse, which I have argued is unpreventable, necessary and even long overdue. But has anyone besides me seriously considered the world that will be reshaped as a result of collapse? Or what your personal role and involvement might be?

If not, perhaps you should. The points raised above regarding our complicit agreement to exploitation will not change in collapse, unless we have changed, individually and collectively, including our corporations and plantation owners. Collapse does not abolish them by default, this is a ludicrous position to take. The “powers that be” will still be around, still be in charge and still own and control the resources we all need to live and survive unless they have been abolished.

This is a very important concept because many are hoping that collapse will change the world for the better. How can it, unless we change? Or unless our way of life and “doing business” also changes? Either we will suffer a catastrophic “extinction level event” that would abolish everything (very unlikely) or we can rightly expect an even worsening condition of our present situation and exploitation. It’s been said that if you can imagine the future, imagine a boot stomping on your face. That is the future, the slave labor, exploitation for your daily bread.

This is what I think will happen – as other writers have also said. Fascism will increase in collapse. Exploitation and human suffering will worsen, dramatically, especially here in America where the land of slave will take on a whole new meaning.

How then, will we change as a result? Will we remain as dependent as before? Yes, in all probably, we will. We will remain as complicit as ever, because we will sell-out just like peasants have been forced to do elsewhere for centuries. The idea that we will suddenly grow a backbone is based on an total illusion. Most people won’t lift a finger (just like now) to change anything or even help themselves (just like now). This group of people (over 90% – 95%) will be working against those who do seek fundamental changes. Or choose to live independently. Or have stashed food. Or have chosen non-compliance as their form of protest. But they will be irrelevant as being a part of any solutions that effectively change how we “do business” and treat each other. They will also be the new enforcers and informants of the collapse period, having sold themselves for their daily bowl of porridge.

Sweat shops exist in America and in other countries not because they are “occupied” by oppressors, but because the people are cajoled into oppressing themselves. Outside money and influence is not enough to force a people to stay oppressed, oppression must actually come from within and ultimately be self-enforced. This is one reason why Iraq is such a mess – the occupying forces are insufficient to oppress the people there forever. They must first be cajoled and tricked into oppressing themselves. Controlling food, water and medicine is one of their major methods, something America did to Iraq for over ten years before bombing the hell out of them again.

The IMF and World Bank oppresses people by enforcing severe economic policies that are not in the best interest of the targeted nation. South America is now seeking their own solution by creating their own version of a continental bank.

I have no illusions that Americans will concern themselves about the exploitation of other people, but they might eventually be concerned about themselves as their lifestyles and the planet crumble around them. Right now, they are too infotained, too distracted, too fat and too well fed to really care, despite being one of the most well-armed people on earth. Our concern is just like every other citizen on the planet, staying alive. Collapse won’t change that, it will only make it more difficult. Americans are already oppressing themselves, and this will only worsen. Other countries will do exactly the same.

It’s very clear to me at least, that our world won’t be improving because of collapse, not unless and if we actually do something about it, and set ourselves to the tasks necessary. But this is very doubtful of this present generation in my opinion. We won’t help ourselves now, what makes us think we will finally help ourselves then?

Unless and until we have achieved a level of literacy, education and awareness of our collective condition, we will remain both oppressors and the oppressed. This is a foregone conclusion. Blogs, books, newscast and video clips are not enough to change this, they’re only the barest beginnings and why I honestly think the Internet is almost useless as the tool to change lives. The Internet itself is still designed (and used) around the entire capitalistic model. My recent assaults by certain persons who sought to exploit my efforts for their personal gains and profits exemplifies this.

A new ethic of life and living is essential, but admittedly, unlikely to be embraced, even during the collapse. This entire generation must first pass away, hopefully leaving something of real value behind to our descendants, taking with them to the grave the apathy, indifference, callousness and disregard for life with them. What we should be doing is educating the young with a earnest zeal such as the world has never seen before, teaching them to utterly reject the present paradigm of exploitation for profits and greed and an absolute, categorical refusal to go along with any of it.

If the future is to have any hope at all, it belongs to them anyway, and not us. What we give them, instruct them and teach them is the only real “difference” we will ever make.  But we can pave the way, at least somewhat by leading by example, exemplified in our lives and in our efforts while we yet live.  But the question remains – will we?


admin at survivalacres dot com

15 thoughts on “Capitalism At It’s Finest

  • December 9, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    The “freedom” meme has so completely supplanted critical thinking that discussion about any issue that requires restraint on the part of the people is shut-off.

    This bumper-sticker mentality that screams, “We need freedom over planetary health, over our health, over every other creature’s health,” will inevitably cause the enslavement of the population in more easily seen ways — and all of it coming in the not too distant future.

    The right wing does not want you to see that their agenda does not include 99.9999999 percent of the population. They do not want you to see that their every action is designed to limit your freedom to the choice between planet-wrecking product “A” and planet-wrecking product “B.” The right wing is the party of the uncaring rich. Their interests lie in lowering wages, reducing or eliminating health care, gutting environmental regulations, reducing safety rules, dumbing down education and limiting it. All in the name of the god “CAPITALISM.” They quite frankly hate you.

    How do you keep that image from entering the minds of Joe and Jane Sixpack? Cause if they suddenly realized that they have been bent over without lube since Ronald Reagan, they would start voting for people who actually cared about them and the country and the environment.

    To get rich, stay rich and get richer without caring, you only need to promise that anyone can be rich. This is the great lottery ticket scam. How many of you people would buy a lottery ticket absolutely expecting to become a millionaire? Yet millions of Americans believe that they can hit the capitalism lottery and play every day, paying through the loss of dignity, health, and environment. As one person noted, the lottery is the stupid tax. The Neo Cons (and “CON” is the right word) have spent the better part of 25 years rewording and retasking the word sets that describe reality. They have convinced the slaves that they are better off with chains, that they are better off sick, broke, ill-housed, racked with violent neighborhoods, poorly educated, and working as many hours as humanly possible. They have convinced them not only of that but that they should help to attach the chains and weld them on. The average Joe will defend to the death his right to live a crappy life in the one in a billion billion trillion chance that he will suddenly develop the intelligence to create that one in a billion product that will enrich them beyond caring just like their jailers.

    So, to prevent the loss of economic power you offer the faked-up power of “freedom®.” So, if society at large asks you to sacrifice your AssHauler 2000 Bloatmobile in order to not kill everyone off, you scream, “FREEDOM®!!!”

    If society asks you to contribute to the everyone’s health, rather than just your own, you yodel, “FREEDOM®!!!!”

    And, of course, everyone says, “But what’s wrong with freedom?” Well, nothing.

    But it must be limited. If your freedom causes me to die, then it must be limited. You do not have the freedom to pipe carbon monoxide into your neighbor’s home. Why should you have to freedom to pipe carbon monoxide into everyone’s home, namely the planet earth?

    Capitalism cannot exist without growth. We cannot exist if it continues to grow. One of us has to go.

    Your choice: all of the planet’s biota (including us) or an abstraction designed to kill us and enrich a few.

  • December 9, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    No, we as a society will not change. We seem hellbent on “doing an Easter Island” to the entire planet.
    Humans must be the most shortsighted animals that ever lived, on this planet, or in any star system ever.
    We seem to be gradually dumbing down, over decades I suppose, and maybe even a century or so, but the pace seems to have quickened in the past decade, maybe due to the over-vaccinated, over-fluoridated kids who do nothing but stare at their tvgod in every spare moment, and pump themselves full of industrial chemicals in disguise as food.
    I recall one comment that has stuck in my mind in Theo Colburn’s book, OUR STOLEN FUTURE. It goes something like this: “there may be fates worse than extinction awaiting humans.”
    I agree with much or most of what admin wrote, as well as Cherenkov. One thing I disagree with somewhat is Admin’s that “the internet is almost useless as a tool to change lives”.
    People cannot change their lives until they open their eyes and see the world in as many different ways as possible–at least try to view anything and everything from new and different angles, lenses, etc. A person will never be encouraged to do that by watching conventional propaganda disguised as news on the networks.
    The internet has so much more to offer and we’re mainly limited by our time (and, yes, one can find also the same useless drivel on the internet as one would see on tv network news).
    Of course, a person must realize his/her narrow view of the world is just that–narrow, in order to want to change.
    My 2 cents.

  • December 10, 2007 at 6:44 am

    i tend to agree w/ Lynda that without wise use of the internet most people now awakened and/or aroused would have not been dragged gnashing and screaming from their somnolent state if their intake had been been limited to the MSM dysentery. OTOH, Admin is correct that many who ‘see the writing on the wall’ (internet) then somehow ‘think’ that they’d actually done something real/meaningful. The net is great for accessing information yet said content is no placebo and no possible solution to anything without appropriate, effective action in the real world by real people.

  • December 10, 2007 at 9:37 am

    (lynda – this post isn’t to single you out, but I’m mighty tired of the “Internet” argument, so I’m going to vent my experience and frustrations here).

    It is possible (but unknown) that I have more Internet experience then most (here). I’ve been online for over 20 years, even before there was a ‘Net. In this time, I remain convinced that it has changed nothing (and never will).

    Since that time, our level of information awareness and knowledge has quadrupled (at least), yet our ability to change our future has diminished an unknown percentage (estimate is at least 90%+).

    The Net, despite it’s archival and information gathering capabilities, has not changed anything, it has only deadened our senses to our destructive ways. Instead of empowering us as often alleged, it has effectively disabled us as individuals (some of the reasons for this are below).

    I’m not deriding the Internet, it’s a fantastic tool, I’m only pointing out that it has not changed our world as is often alleged for the better. It has become the placebo for real activism and real care and concern.

    It seems like it is “enough” for most people to send a few dollars or share a video or post a comment or write an article or perform any other shallow activity as if this would really change anything. Yet despite all of this effort (and it’s stupendously huge, thus the exponential growth rate of the Internet) our world remains the same, on the fast track to destruction. Actually, it could be argued that we are on an even faster track of destruction because of the Internet, but I don’t have time to get into that right now.

    The Internet is the new television, I still do not see why people cannot realize this. Sure, you get to pick what you want and you get to pretend you “interacting”, but your not, not really.

    You’re fooling yourself into believing you are participating in real life. The Internet is not real life and never will be. The real world is going on outside our doors.

    The Internet reports on the real world – nothing more. It doesn’t even represent the real world very well. Notably, it reports on the real world after the fact. It’s like one of those chalk outlines around a dead body. What good were the cops when they only report a crime? What good is the Internet when it doesn’t actually prevent anything?

    What we thought would educate, motivate and even alarm us by using the Net has turned into something else entirely – infotainment and it has deadened our sense of sensibility, justice, concern, compassion, morality and fairness terribly.

    Let me put a finer point on it. I’ve long believed that if people really believed what was being posted on the Internet, they would change their world as a result. That is, they would get up from their keyboards and go change the world – right the wrongs, correct the injustice, arrest the traitors and on and on and on. Yet this is still not happening, despite 20 years on “news”.

    If Alex Jones or Common Dreams or Truthout or any other ‘activist’ website / group / authors / writers actually, fully believed what they write – why don’t they go do something about it instead of just writing more mere words? I well understand the power of words – but hey, how MANY MORE ARE REQUIRED NOW BEFORE WE STOP THE INSANITY?

    We’re still standing around, pretending we’re concerned when all we’re really doing is “checking the Net”. How utterly INSANE is this? Why are we taking those tasers and shoving them up the asses of those criminal cops? Why aren’t we dragging our corrupt politicians into the streets for a good old tar and feathering town meeting? Why aren’t we destroying those rigged electronic voting machines and smashing them into pieces? Why aren’t we destroying the corporations that are destroying our planet?

    Because we still believe that information is sufficient and that this alone is “activism”. We are kidding ourselves and its high time we admit it.

    Change will NEVER happen via the Internet. This is why despite billions of webpages documenting all manner of crimes and evils all over the world, the Internet still “fails to deliver” and always will.

    We have been brainwashed into believing that we “need more information” before we take action to change our world. This is HOGWASH and always will be. It is also one of the reasons Amerika is the laughing stock of the world. Look around – people actually get really upset when they get dicked around in (some) other countries. Not here. It’s fast food and short attention spans, change the channel and let’s move on!

    In the past 20 years, during the life of the Internet, we have now approached the precipice where humanities future now hangs in the balance – despite the Internet and it’s alleged “help”. Information is not activism. Books are not activism. Journalism is not activism. Activism needs information – but it does not need the Internet and in reality – it does not need any more information. It needs people who live in the real world who do real things to change the world they live in.

    There was more activism in the ’60’s and ’70’s then there is today. In those pre-Internet days, people got off their fat asses and did something about something they believed in. Now, they turn on the computer and fire off a message into cyberspace and think, “Okay then! That’ll tell ’em how I feel!”.

    Good grief!!! We’re INTERACTING WITH COMPUTERS AND SOFTWARE!!! And we are pretending they are “people” and this impersonal, long distance and utterly unfeelable, uncaring insensitivity is going to “make a difference”. Unbelievable.

    The Internet for this reason is one of the biggest modern lies swallowed by 99.99999% of the people.

    I love the ‘Net and what I can do with it, but I’ve long realized it will never motivate people to action. It’s a tool, nothing more, but like any tool, it only does what it was designed to do.

    How come despite all the evils and malfeasance and crimes and treason and on and on and on, posted widely on the Internet, we STILL have the same crimes being comitted by the same people, over and over again? What’s missing here?

    The Internet has educated and informed BILLIONS and BILLIONS, yet our world continues to implode.

    And it changes NOTHING and never, ever will. Hundreds of millions in this country alone have “had their eyes opened” and still, they sit, doing nothing to change their world and make it a livable place.

    Information is never going to be enough. Suffering must come first. Change only occurs when you become so uncomfortable with your present condition that you get up and do something about it. There lies the problem with the Internet – it implies what it never delivers (change) and because of it’s medium, can never, ever deliver.

    20 years of Internet usage and writing and online ‘activism’ and watching far more qualified people then me have demonstrated that we will never change our world unless we walk away from this placebo and go forth and do it.

    It remains a absolute categorical LIE that “mass awareness” is required to instigate change. This has never been true, but it is a major premises for those that believe that the Net (somehow) accomplishes that.

    I believe that the Net fails for other reasons too – not to exclude it’s manipulation an control, but to point out that it has deadened us to “reality”. The Net brings the world to our computers but not to our lives, and it’s never going to be the real world. We become insensitive to what we read, despite the crimes and heinous acts and oft repeated evils occurring all over the world.

    The real world though, has a much more tangible sense of this then what we’ve read (or watched on television). A crime committed in our sight, or against our person is very, very real, and we are instantly motivated to act. Not so with what we read “over there”. The Net has distanced us from our feelings, our attachment and our activism in ways that nobody dares seem to express. I dare – because I’ve seen it fail – utterly, as it will always fail.

    Just imagine – a world with no Internet. What would you do? Try it sometime, it will surprise the hell out of you.

    Try not replying to this post. Try staying off the Net for a week. Try actually doing something with your life. Try looking around and realizing what needs to be done, right where you are.

    I’ve long said “shoot your television”. That’s pretty much how I feel about the Internet too. I’m glad for the medium to vent, but I realize it’s pointless and always will be. The real world is outside of this office, and always will be.

  • December 10, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Well, I’m at least tied with you for years of internet experience. But that just means I’m old .

    For news/information, the internet is nice, but no real improvement over radio for immediacy and, for the most part, depth of information. It’s a bit better than land-line telephones when they first started, in that you can reach more people at once with info, and e-mail and blog posts can be read whenever time is available, features radio didn’t have.

    I found the preparedness community I work with using the internet, which is a good thing. However – actually spending long amounts of time physically with them was still needed to weed out members that ‘sounded good on paper/internet’. And there is no doubt that by getting involved with a group centered hours north of me, I’m less involved in my local city/community.

    OTOH, the pertainent word above was ‘less’ involved – I have still been active and involved. But so very many of the times I’ve been involved in local groups, the focus of the group has turned out to be ‘how can the government change things for us’. Whether it was the Friends of the Library working to get the county to repair the local library, or the Sierra Club trying to get ‘open space’ preserved (rather than working on population issues or getting the city to REDUCE the number of days a week garbage is collected from twice per house to once) the focus was never on personal responsibility or even local responsibility for local services. Which ‘side’ of school funding should I be active with, more money for gifted kids or special ed kids (my son was both!)

    That final point drove home that I was as much of the problem as anyone else, looking to the govt to solve my problems. I reduced my local community involvement, started homeschooling, and started preparing.

    But, yeah, if most ‘believers’ in decline won’t actually do preparing, if most ‘believers’ that the govt is inexorably taking our rights away aren’t taking to the streets, etc, then activating the sheeple and cornucopians isn’t going to happen via the internet. People will read and believe what they already believe in. Gods know I tend to do that, and I’m arrogant/elitist enough to think that I’m a cut above the crowd.

    Now, off for a nice cup of tea…


  • December 10, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    I could say that subscribing to Ms. Magazine in high school, or the Village Voice in college, or listening to NPR after college changed me. But, in fact, I already had a predisposition to, uh, less main stream media by high school.

    Once using the internet, I kept reading non-mainstream information, and kept doing my own evaluation of sources.

    Did my activism slow because of the internet, or because I became a Mom at the same time cheap online time entered my home? Or did I see how little the activism changed anything, so I worked more on changing myself? Is there less domestic violence after the years I spent trying to end that? Fewer sexual assaults? Less hunger or homelessness? No.

    My husband thinks that if the ’08 presidental election is cancelled that ‘the people will take the to the streets’. I neither think that they will in any appreciable numbers, nor that there would be any change if they did.

    I expect that online petitions would be sent in the millions. Gods, do THOSE get on my last nerve.

    Bah. Humbug.


  • December 10, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Admin, I don’t feel singled out, BTW.
    I do agree that the internet, per se, will not change the world or anything else for that matter.
    But the internet does provide a decent source of info. for those who WANT to (help) change.
    The way I see it, those who (try to) implement change now, with the presence and use of the internet, are the same ones who before, without the use of the internet, who tried to implement change. The people are pretty much the same–different time, different technologies, same results because nobody’s listening.
    As others have suggested, they will listen only when their comfort level changes.

    What would I do without the internet? Rejoice. I would love to take all my computer crap out onto the lawn and torch all of it, but for now I still need to gather info. I cannot get elsewhere since I live in the middle of nowhere.

  • December 10, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    “The internet has chained me.”:):):)

    You have changed me John!:)

  • December 10, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    I’m looking into a solar panel system (my backup generator recently installed) and more food. My wife is about to chain my wallet:)

  • December 12, 2007 at 10:14 am

    Sweat shops have existed since the formation of this USA and before then in Europe and else where in the world… Humans abusing humans is nothing new, and will continue until robots take their place 100% in sweat shops, mines, factories,etc. and by then we’ll have come up with some kind of new human abuse…Life gos on,it’s a bitch and then you die….

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