Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Kurosawa: A solution to workers' problems

Update : 26 Apr 2013, 07:30 PM

It happened again. Due to the negligence of factory owners, more than 100 people died. And we are asking, how many more times! Didn’t we say last time that it will happen again and again until the government protects the workers? Yes, that is how we think, probably all the people, who are neither the ruthless owners nor their government patrons. We think that the solution is simple.

Then why is it that things are not getting fixed? It is because we are looking at the wrong solution. We think that it is the government who can protect the workers. They should make regulations and enact them, and everyone will start to live happily ever after. But, regulations already exist. Now, how do you make government officials really enact them? There is no magic which will make that happen.

The government is actually stopping us from arriving at a solution, and consequently it is making the problem worse. Look at every case of such factory incidents. It was both the involvement and the negligence of the government that helped owners to continue killing workers, despite the presence of an immense amount of regulations. It does not matter which party is in power. There is no “good” or “honest” party on earth. That is a myth.

Now the burning question is, whether you would seek the help of a group that actually perpetuates the problem. Is it going to work?

Let us instead try to see how this problem would have been solved in a free society, devoid of government. There would be no guarantee that mishaps would never happen in a free society, that is how life is. But, in such a society, no one could stop the workers from forming their own police force. Yes, I am talking about the coexistence of multiple police forces.

It would be like Kurosawa’s film “Seven Samurai,” where poor village people hire samurais to protect them from bandits. The difference is, we have millions of workers. So even a small premium from each should be enough to make a powerful police force. The cost would be much less than what the workers currently pay for their rent.

The police force hired by workers would try to ensure the safety of the workers through persuasion and other peaceful means. But when mishaps happen due to the negligence of the owner, this force would also try to bring them to justice. They would try to incarcerate the owner and collect a large amount in fines. This would soon make the owners realise that the workers are not helpless. The protector of the workers are not the owner’s friend either, as is always the case in a government system. The problem will not sustain for long, or at least would not get worse, as is happening now.

And yes, there can be multiple police forces working for the workers. This would create competition and would further lower the premium for workers. The workers will have a choice to move to another security provider, if their current provider’s service is considered unsatisfactory.

Why is this solution not possible now? It is because the government assumes a monopoly on the business of security and stops anyone else who would try to build a police force for their own protection. If only one police force exists, it would inevitably and exclusively serve the purpose of the rich owners and their political collaborators. If there are many, it is difficult, or maybe even inpossible, to buy them all.

Unfortunately, we are believers, who believe that the perpetuator of the problem, the government, can solve the problem, probably through a massive change of “consciousness toward goodwill.” So, we will go to the monkey again for solutions, and the monkey will eat a little bit more of our cake. That summarises the history of governments.

A version of this article was posted on alalodulal.org.  

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