Essay about Cost of Cloth

Submitted By sammie103
Words: 1225
Pages: 5

You walk into Wal-Mart and see a cute top that you immediately want. Before looking at the price tag, you assume that the shirt is going to be about $30; however, you are shocked, and overjoyed to find that it is only $10. How can this be? How can a top that probably took a good amount of time, and probably several people to make be only $10? The answer is actually quite simple: textile factories. These factories exist all over the world, but are primarily found in countries such as China and Bangladesh. In these countries, people work extremely long hours, in terrible conditions, for very low wages. When places such as Wal-Mart outsource their products to these countries, they can then sell their products to the consumer for a much lower cost. This is why that shirt that you thought was going to be $30 could be sold to you for just $10. When observing these practices around the world, we can see a clear social structure. In this structure, the multinational companies, such as Wal-Mart, are on top. They are the main players in this industry. They control what gets made and where it gets made. They also control the prices that they are willing to sell their products for. Next on the social ladder is the consumer. The consumer also plays a key role in the price controls. We as consumers demand a certain price and will usually shop at the stores who will guarantee us those low prices. This is why Wal-Mart is such a high competitor in this industry. Lastly, there are the producers. These are the people on the assembly lines who work every day to produce these products. They have no real say in the matter at hand. Instead, they simply do what they are told in order to survive. All of these people have a social interaction one way or another. It may not be direct, but it most certainly is indirect. The people who work directly with one another interact on a day to day basis, no matter what their social status. However, the producers interact with the suppliers simply because they are making the products for them. They may not ever speak to one another, but this interaction keeps the cycle going. In my mind, this system most accurately portrays the functionalist perspective. From this perspective, we can observe the textile industry from a macro point of view. We can see that this industry has multiple parts working together as a whole. While all of its part might not be the most humane, they are still stable and predictable. The workers are expected to do certain jobs throughout the day and if not, they are punished, usually verbally. In the end, this industries produces clothing. This helps to keep the economy moving and the consumers happy. The suppliers are expected to create the designs, the workers are expected to create the designs, and the consumers are expected to buy the finished product and to give their feedback. While not everyone may approve of these practices, most people go along with it. It is a predictable industry. The consumers won’t stop buying out of greed most likely, the workers won’t stop working because it is their way of life, and the suppliers won’t change the way the system is set up because they are making a lot of money. It is a sad situation, but it is a functionalist society and it is also predictable and will most likely continue to function in this same way. When I watched this video, many emotions ran through me. There were any things that upset me, but there were also things that inspired me. First off, I was surprised to find that the average Bangladesh worker only makes about 1/50th of what an American would make for the same job. This works out to only be about $45 a month! Most people I know who work full time make more than that in a day. The comparison is ridiculous. While this also upset me, what bothered me more was the living conditions of these people. There was sewage on the streets, garbage where the children played, and just an overall vile smell. These are not conditions…