Jul 20, 2011

Enter the Sweatshop

The Sweatshop, the inhumane pillar of our modern (and impressively crumbling) economy, is a pretty abominable place to work in. Then again both the majority world and many in the West don't exactly get to choose where they'll actually try and make a living in and sweatshops do produce all those cheaply glamorous bits of clothing many seem to enjoy. Oh, well, this is far from a political blog, but I sincerely do hope the excellent, darkly humorous, oddly enjoyable and very freeware Sweatshop game will shed some light on things. 

You can play it in your very own browser too, preferably by clicking here. The game itself is some sort of rather inspired tower-defense/management-sim hybrid with lovely cartoon graphics, excellent ideas and a ton of little touches. Oh, and it even gives gamers the choice of monstrously, yet sadly realistically, hiring children or having workers work themselves to death. Play it, spread the word and help make people realize them elementary truths.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:


  1. "Oh, and it even gives gamers the choice of monstrously, yet sadly realistically, hiring children or having workers work themselves to death."

    To be fair in real life sometimes the monstrous decision to hire children is the only thing that stops said children from starving to death.

    The real monstrious thing to do would be to not allow children to support themsevles if no one else is supporting them. Meaning if the country is willing to feed all the hungren then sure have all the anti child labour laws you want but I always find it rather disgusting when people from developed countries are talking agaist or particually trying to stop children from working when in some cases this just means they starve to death.

    Sorry for getting all ploitical on your blog Gnome.

  2. Getting all political is fine dear Jonathon, but trying to "explain" the necessity of underage workers is something I simply will not tolerate. I can frankly see why Jonas gets so furious at the things you say from time to time.

    You really have a lot of reading to do, but first you have to understand how things work. I frankly don't have the patience or time to help there, and though I know you don't understand it, these are criminal/fascist ideas you are expressing.

    I suggest you start off by reading Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine".

  3. Well I don't understand how (if a country does not guarantee that all children will not go hungry) does not stand alone and make the next statement obviously true (then you should not prevent them from making their own wages).

    But either way I have read/watched far to much about sweatshops to add one more book on the pile of books I must read to become less offensive to other peoples ideals.

    And very soon I will have to either decide to get angry as being called ignorant or decide that everyone is right (not angry at you dear Gnome, never that, your blog is far to entertaining to read)

    But here, is a excerpt from the apparently appallingly and monstrous International Labour Organization that along with having an actually plan to help people admit that you cannot just pull children out of sweatshops without causing massive starvation and death.
    "Q: Still, child labourers provide vital income to their families. What happens when they stop working?

    A: Another cost we considered was the "opportunity cost of eliminating child labour", that is to say the cost to families who lose the income provided by their children's labour. As a result we had to consider the cost of setting up an income transfer program in every country to compensate these poor families when their children are removed from work and sent to school. Finally, we also costed for intervention programmes to urgently eliminate the worst forms of child labour and address the needs of special populations." - (http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/press-and-media-centre/news/WCMS_075570/lang--en/index.htm)

  4. Neo-liberal, crypto-fascist mumbo-jumbo, that absolutely fails to address the simple truth that the imperialist nations and the local bourgeoisie actually gain from this situation.

    And ignorance dear Jonathon is something that we all have to accept on certain points. I know nothing about Japanese literature for example, and you tend to believe almost everything the mainstream has to say for its (dirty, dirty) self.

    Having already argued on such matters during my PhD I do find this kind of conversation incredibly tiring; especially on a gaming blog. PLease, let's stop it here. And Naomi Klein's book is not about sweatshops - it's about the wider picture.

    Oh, and thanks for not getting angry.

  5. I am extremely surprised that you think I believe anything the mainstream says, I think your definition of mainstream is different them mine.
    Of there is a different mainstream out there that I have never heard about and whos views parallels mine somehow.

    And if I read this book (and that is a big if with all the current projects I am involved in), would it be possible to have a conversation somewhere else then?

  6. Absolutely, but these things to take time you know. And by mainstream I might have a different thing than you in my mind - it's far too wide a really and starts of by accepting capitalism.

  7. Well getting to have a in-depth conversation with the ever magnanimous Gnome seems like a rather interesting reward.

    Started reading The Shock Doctrine, will email you when I finish (if that is alright).

  8. One thing that most people overlook is that countries that bring in sweatshops tend to experience very rapid economic growth afterwards. The personal wealth and life expectancy in the country increases dramatically.

    It's nice to try to apply western ideals to the third world, but not at the expense of their well-being. Every civilization has gone through some period of hardship before attaining comfort.

  9. @ Jonathon: Excellent!

    @ Ryan: Actually the exact opposite of what you're describing is true. The facts are obvious. Third world countries are plunging deeper into poverty every day. Get real! And -especially now when the brutal system is facing its greatest crisis- things are getting rapidly worse. BTW, I take it you are from the US Ryan?

    Also the right to live is neither "nice" nor an "ideal".

  10. You know, people, I am looking at the comments and have my eyes wide open in disbelief - Ryan and Jonathan, you are negating basic human rights!

    Childhood should be time for growth, education and possibly quite a bit of fun, too, not a period of hard, mind-numbing physical work. Everywhere, not just for priviliged elite - and yes, you obviously are that elite.

    Sweatshops in third world countries are essentially a form of modern slavery and you speak of forcing underage work as if it was their own, concious economic decision.

    Frankly, I am surprised how polite and cool-headed Gnome remains about this in his comments, because I definitely would be less kind, were it my blog.

  11. Thank you so much for gracefully stating the obvious dear Barts. Never thought it would feel so refreshing.

  12. "Sweatshops in third world countries are essentially a form of modern slavery and you speak of forcing underage work as if it was their own, concious economic decision."

    No they are not, the definition of a sweatshop is simply a factory that is perceived by the people talking about it to be more dangerous or difficult then acceptable.

    And I very much doubt that the list of all factories more difficult then westerners would like and the list of all slavery using factories is the same list.

    And do not lump me in completely with Ryan, it seems obvious to me what kind of sweatshops he is talking about by his description of them and there is no excuse for that kind of land and resource grabbing capitalists.

  13. Please Jonathon, let's stop it here. You are not answering; you are simply trying to justify the unjustifiable.

  14. Harbour Master7/22/11, 2:02 AM

    Hello gnome.

    Played Sweatshop for awhile and then put it down. It made me think some things, depressing things that I doubt Littleloud intended. And thus was born a new idea for a new post! (prob Sep/Oct)

    Incidentally, I can understand where the opinion "sweatshops have a place in economic development" comes from. It's similar to the outrage of the developing countries over pollution and being green. After the West has had its explosive growth on the back of environmental harm and widespread pollution, then it's right for them to do the same thing - it's their turn now.

    Except that it isn't. It may not be fair, but we understand the consequences so much better now and the future such actions create (destroy). And so it's reprehensible to support things which we know are ill in their nature. And, in the case of the sweatshop, the Western nations even benefit from this denigration of the human soul.

    It upsets me what many of our retailers have got away with - fired their local staff and put children halfway around the world on the "payroll" in unmonitored conditions.

    And by and large they get away with it. There's no labelling for "ethically produced without child labour". If it's easier on your own pocket, it's all good.

  15. A correct parallel indeed. What's more the Third (well, the majority) World doesn't actually operate in the way the 19th century West; it's not at the forefront of technology, it cannot be imperialist, its living standards are actually worse and it's heavily indebted.

    On a happier note, I'm pretty certain the contemporary societal mode will face cataclysmic changes. Might even just end and herald a new, just future.

  16. ..cough!!! splutter.... what did you put in the ouzo????? .....elderly

  17. ELDERLY?


    You're kidding me, aren't you?

  18. Kid you?....you nearly killed me!! you and that bloody leprechaun....
    "NW by W by SE" you said..
    That is the last time I'm fetching a bottle from your cellar without a map....
    wheeze.... splutterr!
    You knew I was sydelxic!!! elderly

  19. Oh, but I really thought you didn't care for a map. I mean, you have been down there before with the pixies, haven't you. Anyway...



  20. 3+ years and you divert the blame to the pixi....
    (eyes getting used to bright lights again)
    hey... you moved!!
    dot com.....?? how'd you do that? Impressed :)
    (heads off to find Gnomes shower, walks into wall....) ooops!

  21. Ah, yes, sorry about that. The renovators just left you know and the architect didn't really care about such practicalities as doors. He did have a glorious vision though and, look there, it's the .com jacuzzi.

    But, really, how are you dear Elderly? What were you doing in the dungeons for three years? Is everything okay?

    I'm so glad you are back my friend.

  22. (elderly playing with bubbles.....)

    Life has a funny way of throwing a rubber ducky at you, when your expecting a warm dry towel...

    A very depressing rubber ducky this was... however May of this year the doc said I could just leave the rubber ducky in his clinic.... now why he couldn't have told me that sooner I'll never know..

    (squirts some more washing up liquid in the jacuzzi....)

    I love your new place.... it's sooooooo fresh and tidy.... but your dungeon leaves a lot to be desired.. like lights and signposts

    (elderly reconsiders...)

    Suppose then it wouldn't be very dungeon like...

    (elderly ponders this dilemna as the bubbles flow out of the jacuzzi into Gnomes kitchen...secure in the knowledge he's made it back to Gnome's home again) :)

  23. Well, I do suppose that what really matters is that things are more or less fine again, that you are back and that the jacuzzi is working fine.

    Both I and the good lady of the lair (let alone Father K and quite a few friends that read this blog) were more than disturbed by your absence. Not that the foam currently attacking the fridge is less disturbing, but -well- we are celebrating, aren't we?

    Welcome back Elderly dear!

    Now, let me clean up.

  24. (Waves a suds covered hand at the lady of the lair, and blushes...)

    Indeed I've read the comments on my blog and am shamed, if I could have shaken the burden on my back sooner mr. Gnome I would have.

    I sincerly apologise, nothing could have prepared me for the gloom of the last 3 years, but the clouds have lifted, the sun has got his/her hat on and my life is nearly back to normal.... if you take sitting in a Greek Jacuzzi coverd in suds and speaking to a Gnome, normal?.. but damn, it feels good.

    (elderly notices the wayward foam...and rises from the jacuzzi)

    ... I'll get that, yes it's definitely party timeeeeee!......


    (elderly falls victim to Gnomes Rosa aurora marle floor tiles...)

    ...mph! ..nice tiles....ouch!


  25. Nothing to apologize for dear friend; what matters is that things are getting all better again (well, despite the IMF also invading Ireland, that is) and that you are -as all proper gentlemen do these days- speaking to gnomes again.

    And don't worry about the nurse. We've hired a new one just for you. She'll tend to your every desire...


  26. The IMF....

    (elderly eyes narrow, foam appears round his lips, face turns red......spots nurse)

    jeeeesh.... what happened to the buxom blondes...

    (elderly runs out of Gnomes house...)

  27. It's them cuts... We can only afford functionalist nurses from B-movies these days.

    The IMF has all the good ones caged they tell me.

  28. (sticks head in open widow)
    .....caged nurses? you say..

    And me thinking that losing our national sovereignity without a bullet being fired was a bad thing....! you know things always look brighter at Gnomes Lair...

  29. Of course they do dear, of course they; that hallucinogenic tea was far from cheap you see. Besides, the Lair is in Greece. No bullets have been fired (yet), but the people are growing stronger...

  30. Here we mutter, complain amongst ourselves, while our experts? contradict each other. But riot, take to the streets... no...


    That tea? it isn't addictive is it?

  31. No, no, just hallucinogenic really.

    I'm sure that the Irish will overcome the current numbness/shock very soon. Your revolutionary tradition is very strong indeed and as I've been witnessing those past 18 months such things can't be easily forgotten.

  32. I do hope so dear Gnome, afraid our psyche has been damaged by years in the good life, the puzzling thing is we elected these people, and they reward us for such admiration by punishing us....

    (notices a pink elephant standing beside Gnome.....shakes head....elephant disappears)

    ...wow strong cuppa! mind if I borrow a tea bag or two?

  33. Ah, but the people's psyche is never damaged... We (well, not I of course) have also been electing those bastards, but seem to have come to their senses.

    Hey, where's the elephant?

    And above all where's my tea?