Whoever owned and built the facilities in Bangladesh is responsible, not capitalism. We have no idea what the building standards are and which were violated, what officials were bribed or what contractors cut corners. This is so typical in the third world but the idea they can be raised to our standards overnight is ludicrous. They cannot afford what I call “affordable righteous indignation” which is the world the Pope lives in. As the people of Bangladesh lift themselves out of poverty, they can then demand and build safer facilities. We cannot ordain them and can only hurt them by refusing to buy what they make. We can’t gift them out of poverty either.
A fair wage is what the market bears and that is better than no wage. A fair wage is the starting point for greater prosperity, no wage is the end point of poverty. No one says they have to die to achieve prosperity. It is up to the people Bangladesh to make those corrections or accept the risks based on their decision about their future.
I completely agree with you, and made no comment on the issue of the wages these workers were paid - I’m sure they were happy to have jobs in the first place. I merely observed that getting your entire workforce killed because (a) your building has (as in this case) had 3 floors added to it illegally and against the architect’s advice, and (b) you’ve ignored warnings from your engineers in the weeks prior to this disaster that the building was unsafe, because you don’t want to lose production for a few days while these issues are fixed, is both morally unaceptable and bad business.
And yes, I agree, the same standards as apply in the U.S. can’t be applied elsewhere overnight, even if they should be eventually (sometimes debatable in itself). My point, which I think is fundamentally similar to yours, is that to tarnish or criticise ‘capitalism’ because of issues such as this one, where cronyism, corruption and blatant immorality are in fact the discerning factors at play, is nonsense. Capitalism and morality are not mutually exclusive, nor should they be governed by the same authorities or sets of rules. They can and do, however, often exist interdependently.