My Political Science Assignment

Nov 14, 2008
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#1
Hello guys,

So my teacher just assigned our class the third assignment. I don't really get it much and I was wondering if any one can give me like an idea about it.

Here it is:

The contemporary period is one defined by “globalization.” According to Stiglitz, globalization is “the closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world” (Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents, 2002, p. 9). Giddens defines globalization as the “intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa” (Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity, 1990, p. 64). Today, you are linked to people around the world and your actions affect them just as their actions affect you, even if you are unaware of the connections.

Select a piece of clothing you own that is not made in Egypt or the United States and research the labor practices (wages, unionization) and working conditions (safety, long hours) in its country of origin/production. For example, if your shirt is made in Bangladesh, research labor practices and working conditions in Bangladesh. Then, answer the following question: what are the political implications of your consumption? In other words, what does your buying your clothing mean for the people who work and live in the country where your clothing is produced?
It is due May 12th, 2009 so I think I have enough time to do a good one. 700 - 1000 words it is.

Thank you very much guys and have a nice day.

Tarek.
 

psylichon

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#2
I think China would be an easy (if not obvious) choice of subjects. What don't you understand about it?
 

Marianne

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#3
Tarek, I know you have had some problems at university so I'm not trying to make things harder for you, but I think asking others for help on your assignment like this is essentially cheating. If you have a question about the assignment itself, you should ask your professor to clarify. Any ideas you get from people here that you use and pass off as your own if you use them is wrong. Many people here could easily give you an entire outline of how to approach this assignment, defeating the entire purpose of you learning to think through these issues yourself. You go to school to learn, not simply complete assignments.

For the record, I think it would be entirely different if you completed the assignment and then asked others for feedback in this manner.

Regardless, I wish you good luck with your assignment. :) If you are up to some reading that would help with it, I'd suggest The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas L. Friedman. It's very good and provides a cohesive view of how much technology has "flattened" the world so that geographical barriers are moot in many situations.
 
Nov 14, 2008
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#4
Thank you Dave for the answer.

@ macgirl, I know asking others for help like that is not a good thing but since most of the people here are Americans and Canadians, it's easier for them to read and understand. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough to comprehend exactly what's written and what the teacher wants, so that's why I only needed an explanation, nothing else. Trust me, the first thing that came on my mind was asking the teacher but he barely replies to me on Email, and I don't really like asking him that in class since almost all of the class goes to him after the session is done and they keep asking him questions and talking to him, trust me I hate the crowd lol. Anyway, thanks for the advice.
 

Marianne

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#5
Thank you Dave for the answer.

@ macgirl, I know asking others for help like that is not a good thing but since most of the people here are Americans and Canadians, it's easier for them to read and understand. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough to comprehend exactly what's written and what the teacher wants, so that's why I only needed an explanation, nothing else. Trust me, the first thing that came on my mind was asking the teacher but he barely replies to me on Email, and I don't really like asking him that in class since almost all of the class goes to him after the session is done and they keep asking him questions and talking to him, trust me I hate the crowd lol. Anyway, thanks for the advice.
I understand. In that case, his assignment is to get you to think of what purchasing products made in other countries does for that country. His example is Bangladesh - if you buy something made in Bangladesh, does this help their economy and workforce, considering their labor practices and working conditions (which you must research)? The answer may seem to be obvious - it should help their economy and workforce, right? But what if a lack of workplace safety regulations cause companies to create sweatshops with poor working conditions to keep up with the demand for their products as a result? This is type of thing it looks like he wants from you...
 
Nov 14, 2008
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#6
Thank you very much and I am going to start working on it tomorrow. I think I'll choose Egypt since Egyptian cotton is really hard to find in other countries, or in Egypt itself lol, but it does help the workforce here.
 

psylichon

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#7
Nov 14, 2008
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#8
CRAP. See? That's the lack of concentration I am talking about. Thanks for clearing that out >_<
 

psylichon

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#9
Hehe, dude I've been there. You have to find something... some motivation... to focus. This is the rest of your life, man!

Not to scare ya, but yeah. Focus.
 

kisstine

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#11
Tarek, go back to the assignment. It begins with looking at your own clothes and where they were made, so start there. Make a list; the countries may surprise you. Pick one you are interested in and begin your research. Keep the list around in case you need to back up and make a second choice because of an obstacle you encounter in your research.

As a teacher, I think this is a great assignment.
 

danipoak

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#14
I definitely disagree with macgirl on this, I do not see how this is cheating, you're simply asking for advice on doing your assignment. I bet you'll find a lot of your clothes are made in China, Taiwan, Korea, and southeast Asia. You'll probably find a lot of the countries who make them use child labor as well. I think the first obvious political implication is that by you purchasing clothing made in these countries you are fueling the market for more child labor. For those that do not use child labor they probably work in some sort of sweat shop environment and are paid incredibly low wages. You would be fueling the market for sweat shop environments. The reason clothing is made in these countries in the first place is their labor laws are nearly non-existent and companies want to make things as cheap as possible to maximize their profit. This is often done in disregard for others well-being. Hope that helps!
 
Nov 14, 2008
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#16
I definitely disagree with macgirl on this, I do not see how this is cheating, you're simply asking for advice on doing your assignment. I bet you'll find a lot of your clothes are made in China, Taiwan, Korea, and southeast Asia. You'll probably find a lot of the countries who make them use child labor as well. I think the first obvious political implication is that by you purchasing clothing made in these countries you are fueling the market for more child labor. For those that do not use child labor they probably work in some sort of sweat shop environment and are paid incredibly low wages. You would be fueling the market for sweat shop environments. The reason clothing is made in these countries in the first place is their labor laws are nearly non-existent and companies want to make things as cheap as possible to maximize their profit. This is often done in disregard for others well-being. Hope that helps!
Thank you dude.
 

kisstine

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#18
On the other hand, to play devil's advocate here AND make you do a little thinking beyond what danipoak posted... If you choose a country where labor laws are either non-existent or subverted, you need to think about what the economy of the country is like currently and what it would be like if people suddenly took a moral high road, stopped buying their products, and killed the industry completely. Would the lives of those families REALLY be improved by having NO income instead of the meager one they are making?

This is a big picture assignment with a lot of discrete pieces of information to consider. The first step is research. Go learn something about someone you are choosing to do businesss with. Then THINK about what that means on a global level and decide what it means to you.

As a teacher, I'd really like to see you do this the right way and not rely on other people's ideas. I tend to be a little idealistic about purposeful learning and I think this could be a very meaningful project. For the most part, we operate in our own little worlds and think very little about the collective impact of our small choices. Take an opportunity to get outside of that and see where it takes you.

/teacher rant.
 

coasts

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#19
yeah, and be cautious to lump Asian countries together without researchimg them each individually. Korea is not China or Taiwan or Hong Kong.
 
Nov 14, 2008
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#20
Now, if you use my exact words, THAT would be cheating ;)
I won't do that for two obvious reasons:

1) I don't write like that, and my teacher knows my writing style,

2) The best thing about writing an essay or doing a research like that is doing it in your OWN words. I just like your idea and that's all about it, thanks again.