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Invisible hands

May 5, 2013 - Harry Eagar
I'd like some free marketeer to explain to me why the following statement could be made:

"Any continued improvement in working conditions will depend on companies working with the Bangladeshi government, said Ferdows, the Georgetown professor. A March decision by Walt Disney Co. (DIS) to stop production in Bangladesh was 'wrong- headed,' he said.

It's from one of Bloomberg News' excellent explanatory reports, this one on factory conditions in Bangladesh.

It was inspired, of course, by the collapse of Rana Plaza and the 600-plus dead workers, mostly poor women.

Also from the story, there is this:

“ 'If you look at industrial history across the world, for better or worse, this is what early industrial revolution looks like,' said Pietra Rivoli, a professor at Georgetown University in Washington and author of 'The Travels of a T-Shirt in The Global Economy.' Bangladesh is 'still a desperately poor country, and we shouldn’t minimize what a steady job with a steady paycheck means to a poor woman.' ”

No, we shouldn't. We should emphasize the workings of the untamed market and how it -- according to Professor Rivoli, and anyone who knows economic history will agree with her -- always yields this result.

Why is that?

If you read the rightwingers, you will often find references to an "invisible hand." Never, or very seldom, to the invisible hands who are immolated in the name of efficiency.

Why cannot the invisible hand take care of the invisible hands?


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