52° Good Afternoon
52° Good Afternoon

Letter: Bangladesh tragedy driven by greed

Bangladeshi relatives of garment worker Mohammed Abdullah cry

Bangladeshi relatives of garment worker Mohammed Abdullah cry as they pass others looking for missing relatives while to going to collect his body at a makeshift morgue in a schoolyard near a building that collapsed Wednesday in Savar, Bangladesh. (April 27, 2013) Credit: AP

As a political coordinator for a labor union, I agree with "Look for the humane label" [Editorial, May 19], about the horrific tragedy that took place in Bangladesh, where more than 1,100 workers died when their factory collapsed.

However, unless we look at why this tragedy and so many others like it happen, they will continue to occur. We have to look at the state of mind that is at the very basis of our economic system, where huge profits from the labor of others is the main focus.

As Ellen Reiss writes in the journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, the building collapse "arose from a fidelity to the profit system all the way down the line." Western firms want to pay workers as little as possible, so they produce in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi factory owners don't spend on safety measures. Every penny an owner spends on safety lessens his profits. And the builders use poor construction methods because they're cheaper, meaning more profitable.

The deaths of those Bangladeshi workers should not be in vain. The basis of our economy needs to be one of good will and justice for every man, woman and child.

Matthew D'Amico, Lynbrook