Made Abroad

I just put down a phone that was made in Mexico (though the battery was made in Indonesia). There’s a remote control for my PVR nearby–it’s made in China. I’m typing this on a laptop ‘assembled in Taiwan’.

Nearly everything comes from somewhere else, and odds are it was built under unpleasant circustances. This photo (from Grow a Brain via Neatorama) made me think about that:

As someone commented on Neatorama, “wow, that looks like Hell.”

It also made me think about how insanely lucky I am to have been born middle-class and Canadian.


  1. As someone commented on Neatorama, “wow, that looks like Hell.”

    Anyone thinking that this photo of a clean, well lit, and safe-looking worksite looks like hell needs a refresher course in reality. There are far, far worse work environments than that, even here. And I mean by a magnitude.

    Really. I’m astonished. Try working in a garment factory for an hour, or in a shipyard cleaning bilges for an afternoon.

  2. Double: I agree, there are far, far worse places to work. I responded to the comment because of the unformity and scale of the photo. It looks like it goes on forever. Maybe I should have used a lower-case ‘h’?

  3. Hey I agree with you about being middle class and Canadian. The rest of teh world toils so we can buy excessive amounts of cheap consumer goods and cheap food, not to mention the amazing variety to pick and choose from. When we get sick of it we chuck it out and buy more.
    I’ve been sucessful in raising my two children to be aware of their luck in being born into our rich wasteful culture.

  4. oh goodness, don’t even get me started on this one! i’m continually frustrated when looking for almost ANYTHING because pretty much EVERYTHING is made in China or Taiwan. it drives me crazy to support China for so many reasons, but most of all because of their human rights violations and their complete lack of animal rights.

    each time i go to winners or some other big department store, i feel sick inside. throngs of people racing around to buy stuff they don’t need that was made by people who have their basic human rights suppressed and are barely paid for their factory-line jobs.

    i try so hard to make a difference, if not for anything more than my own conscience, but it’s so hard when everything you pick up is made in china, and everything made here at home is unreasonably expensive. (i’m happy enough to buy locally made clothing, but where did the fabric come from? no requirements for labelling that, so the frustration continues…)

    i wish there was an online resource for items manufactured and made in canada, and where you can find them. that would be awesome.

  5. It looks to me like they’re chopping fish, not assembling electronics.

    The red buckets contain a fleshy looking blob which the guys in the second row from the front appear to be cutting with knives.

  6. reminds me of the repeating patterns in Baraka, a movie everyone should see. Having worked oh-so-briefly in industrial-line manual labour (in comparibly luxurious N American companies), I think how just about *every* single product has been touched by some overworked joe barely making a living, working their ass off slicing meat, soldering parts, washing components with chemicals, packing, picking, whatever, so we can get it insanely cheap at WalMart or Safeway. I dont know anything about global economies but I’d pay a little more for a product over another if I knew there were labour watchdogs and safety mechanisms in place doing the right thing, or made locally. I have the same questions Julie has.

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