“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezek. 16:49)

Bangladesh’s Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith downplayed the impact of last week’s factory building collapse on his country’s garment industry, saying Friday he didn’t think it was “really serious” just hours after the 500th body was pulled from the debris. The government has recently suspended the mayor there and arrested an engineer who had called for the building’s evacuation last week, but was also accused of helping the owner add three illegal floors to the eight-story structure. The building owner was arrested earlier. The official death toll from the April 24 collapse reached 512 Friday and was expected to climb, making it likely the deadliest garment-factory accident in world history.

The minimum wage for a garment worker there is only $38.00 a month! And that is only after being nearly doubled this year following violent protests by workers! According to the World Bank, the per capita income in Bangladesh was only about $64.00 a month in 2011!

According to data from Bangladesh’s commerce ministry and industry sources, Bangladesh ships about $15.6 billion of ready-made garments each year – about 80 percent of its total exports. Sixty percent of its garment exports go to Europe, the United States takes 23 percent, and Canada takes 5 percent. About 18 months before this tragedy in Bangladesh a fire killed 112 people in a textile factory in Tazreen in which locked doors prevented workers from fleeing to safety.

Shareholders at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the opportunity to weigh in on the safety question. By a nearly 50-to-1 margin, they rejected a proposal to require suppliers to report annually on safety issues at their factories. In arguing against the proposal, Wal-Mart’s management made its reasoning clear: “Having suppliers compile such reports could ultimately lead to higher costs for Walmart and higher prices for our customers. This would not be in the best interests of Walmart’s shareholders and customers and would place Walmart at a competitive disadvantage.”

Wal-Mart and Sears’ shares have moved higher since the Tazreen fire last November. That disaster did not appear to have any measurable impact on sales at Wal-Mart and Sears after both acknowledged their products were made there.

The larger tragedy I see is that consumers will continue to purchase products from brands like Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory and Loblaw’s Joe Fresh found in the ruins of the factory building this week. Many people justify it by saying, “I go there because it’s cheap.” Or, “I’m on a limited income and I can’t afford to shop anywhere else.”

The unemployment rate is down to 7.5 percent and we gained 16,000 non-farm jobs last month, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the Morgan Stanley report said “the current investment in U.S. manufacturing remains at depressed levels.” With the loss of 5.5 million manufacturing jobs this decade, and the residual impact (for every one manufacturing job there are five others created – truck drivers, accountants, research & development, clerical, etc.), the U.S. has seen a loss of over 30 million jobs.

While many who read this will try to blame this problem on Democrats or Republicans, this is NOT a political problem! This is a spiritual problem!

I am reminded of James 5:4-6 that says, “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.”

We have lost our moral compass and have become like Sodom–arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; refusing to help the poor and needy.

But what can we do?

Repent of our selfishness and arrogance! Then refuse to purchase goods that are sold on the backs of slave labor with the wages covered in the blood of the poor!

This has had a huge impact on not only our economy and national security but also on our very survival! Since government has not provided a solution, it is time for us to take action before it’s too late.

American Made Products Directory:  http://www.americansworking.com/

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