Paula Chakravartty and Stephanie Luce present the idea that there is an underlying act of terrorism in the countless instances of disasters and incidents that occur in the corporate world in their article “May Day: Reflecting on Bangladesh factory disaster and corporate terror.” The authors look into the conditions of the collapse of a building in Bangladesh, which killed over 400 garment workers and wounded many more (Chakravartty & Luce, 2013). The article examines the events leading up to and following the Bangladesh disaster, with Paula and Stephanie explaining the clothing industry’s companies’ possible culpability. As a result, the article is significant because it aids the reader in comprehending the garment industry’s operations. Therefore, the article is important because it helps the reader understand the workings of the garment industry in Bangladesh and the relationship between the sector and foreign investors. The purpose of this essay is to analyze the article while paying close attention to the strength and weaknesses of Paula and Stephanie’s submissions.
The article begins by comparing the act of terrorism in Boston and an accident in a factory fertilizer in Texas that occurred in the same week (Chakravartty & Luce, 2013). This opening comparison introduces Paula and Stephanie’s throughout the article that corporation owners are not concerned with the safety of workers, and therefore, the accidents in garment factories in Bangladesh may an act of terror. For example, Paula and Stephanie write that despite warning that the Rana Complex Plaza would collapse on April 23rd, 2013, the garment factory in the building still opened shop the following day when the disaster occurred. As a result, more than 400 garment workers died, and the accident was one of many that happened in Bangladesh since 2005, exhibiting a pattern of an apparent problem that no one cares to solve.
Paula and Stephanie then seek to analyze the events of the disaster to find the guilty party because the garment corporations in the US and Europe blame each other and fail to take responsibility or preventive measures against future disaster (Chakravartty & Luce, 2013). For example, the article notes that companies like Walmart refused to join a program that would ensure the safety of workers. Furthermore, the article shows how corporations take advantage of the opportunities and benefits of producing garments in Bangladesh with low cost, loopholes for exemption of taxes and weak labor laws. For example, Paula and Stephanie site a report which shows that employees are overworked. Also, Walmart and other corporations thwart efforts to give workers a voice through unions and garment production is located at export zones to ensure minimal taxation (Chakravartty & Luce, 2013). Fundamentally, Paula and Stephanie demonstrate that while Bangladesh has a rich garment industry, the activities of the companies and perceived little efforts by the government lead to a perpetual slow growth of the country while American and European based companies take all the profits. Finally, the article presents the efforts aimed at solving the problem of corporate terror. For example, Paula and Stephanie write that Bangladesh agencies like the Workers’ Rights Consortium demand accountability from garment factory owners.
Paula and Stephanie actively demonstrate the adopted position that there is corporate terror peddled by owners of large enterprises executed through acts of unaccountability and impunity and leaving other people in adverse conditions. First, the article provides evidence that shows corporations are unaccountable and irresponsible. For instance, the writers open the article with an example of a case similar to the topic of discussion showing the selective lack of attention when a disaster does not involve radical terrorism (Chakravartty & Luce, 2013). Further, the writers do due diligence on previous cases of similar disasters and establish a pattern of corporate irresponsibility highlighted by the unwillingness of companies to join work safety program. The combination of evidence and previous cases similar to the subject of discussion enables the reader to grasp the gravity of the matter at hand. Furthermore, evidence and due diligence show that the writers are passionate and concerned about corporate terror and the unaccounted loss of numerous lives. Secondly, the writers structure the article in such a way that the reader will form a sequence of thoughts which show conviction that the accidents are a form of corporate terror. For instance, the article opens with a viable example followed by the introduction of the case scenario and the facts about the incident. The article then seeks to find the guilty party by examining the history of the garment industry and the relationship between foreign corporations and the local community. Upon reflection, Paula and Stephanie find clothing companies culpable. The strategic presentation of thought to form a sequence of inter-related ideas merged with evidence show a well-researched topic that pronounces to the reader that the article is not just an opinion but a weighty matter that needs attention.
The article has some weaknesses as the writers place the blame squarely on corporation owners and exempt any possibility of genuine accidents in the factories. For example, throughout the article, the authors do not hold the government of Bangladesh accountable for failure to protect the citizens from exploitation as a state should do. Furthermore, Paula and Stephanie assume that the problems in the garment industry are solely responsible for the “race to the bottom.” However, according to the financial times, the imbalance of the Bangladesh economy as a result of holding back high-value sectors and lack of diversity contributes to the perceived negative progress despite a steady GDP growth of 7 %. Still, the writers’ pronouncement of the “race to the bottom” is not defined. One cannot decipher the reference of the said “bottom.”
Finally, after a well-researched report with fewer assumptions, the writers site solutions in place to eliminate corporate impunity and uphold responsibility and integrity. The presentation of a solution to a problem leaves the reader with closure and information on how to solve a future similar problem.
The article is well-researched and presents evidence that corporations are culpable of the numerous accidents in Bangladesh. Paula and Stephanie advocate for accountability and protection of citizens from corporate terror. The article gives the reader an alternative view as opposed to the popular notion that any disaster is a mere accident.
Chakravartty, P. & Luce, S. (2013). May Day: Reflecting on Bangladesh factory disaster and corporate terror. Aljazeera. Retrieved 28 September, 2017, from [www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/05/201351104516268273.html].
Stacey, K. (2017). Bangladesh garment-making success prompts fears for wider economy. Financial Times. Retrieved 27 September 2017, from [www.ft.com/content/5cd0d9ea-d316-11e6-9341-7393bb2e1b51].