A new book out insisting that we should all consume less and really, let’s get with the limits of the planet. At which point we get this drivel:
Perhaps the book’s most startling comment comes from Abdullah al Maher, the CEO of a Bangladesh knitwear firm that produces for fast-fashion giants including H&M and Zara. He admits that transitioning to a lower-consuming society would be painful for his country: its 6,000 clothing factories would probably halve. But in this new system, the factories would provide better wages, pollute less and compete on quality instead of speed. “There’ll be no ratrace then,” Maher says, adding: “You know, it wouldn’t be so bad.”
It’s a striking statement from a powerful businessman in a nation that is a factory for the world. And it’s the sort of comment that gives MacKinnon confidence. “I’m hopeful that, coming out of the pandemic, people are going to have discussions that start to move the idea of reducing consumption back into the public discourse, from the fringes where it’s been for three decades,” he says.
Such conversations will involve tossing up whether we’re prepared to give up our vibrant, high-velocity, acquisitive lives in order to calm our minds and save the earth. Although we might not like the answer, and change is always uncomfortable, it’s tough to argue that there’s even a contest.
Fewer factories doing less production, requiring less labour, is going to raise wages? What gabbling stupidity is this?
We could start from Marx. It is only the absence of that reserve army of the unemployed that raises wages. So, if half the workforce to laid off this is going to raise wages how?
There is also the specific. Those Bangladeshi factory owners find themselves in a bit of a bind at present. Their business model depends upon cheap labour – or it at least started out that way. They’ve pretty much sucked in all the available labour by now. There aren’t all that many folks out on the land bored of staring at the south end of a water buffalo. They’re not able to suck in the peasantry to the factories that is, as there’s not that much – much, this is a relative thing – peasantry left to be sucked in.
So, they find themselves having to raise wages in order to get hold of the labour they’d like to be exploiting and extracting from. That is, Marx was indeed right about what raises wages.
So now we’ve some gargling idiot claiming that reversing that process is going to raise wages?
What’s worse is that someone will write a whole book on the subject without being able to spot such clear and obvious stupidity.