May 3rd, 2013
12:04 AM ET

The high cost of cheap clothing

Some Western businesses are evaluating where their products are made after more than 500 people died in the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh. Thousands more were rescued from the debris of the crumbled building. Workers are still sorting through the wreckage and uncovering more deceased workers with each layer of concrete in the nine-story building.

Anderson Cooper talked about the incident and the repercussions with Christiane Amanpour, Ari Fleischer, Jeffrey Toobin and Amy Holmes in a special edition of AC360. The bottom line is that cheap clothing sold in the U.S. can mean unsafe conditions with little compensation for laborers abroad.

Amanpour, who interviewed the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on her CNNI show, says corruption is rampant."This factory was basically a land grab by a well-connected guy who then built more floors," she says. "It goes to the heart of the fact there's no organized labor there. All of us in the West, we like really cheap fashion and this is what's happening."

Toobin posed the ultimate question on the issue: Will American consumers care? Bangladesh's $20 billion garment industry accounts for 77% of the country's exports. And it's not the only place shipping off inexpensive good to the West.

Watch the video to hear from the panel, and check out this infographic: "Bangladesh vs. the U.S.: How much does it cost to make a denim shirt?"

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Yuveth

    Shoddy business practice does not end with the garment industry.. these big name companies and cheap labor go hand in hand.

    A big example and one that I forgot about was the Bhopal disaster – Union Carbide .. thousands killed and thousands more maimed and disabled because a company demanded to cut costs..

    If people do nothing and continue on as usual it's the same thing as giving these companies a big thumbs up.

    May 5, 2013 at 11:51 pm |