We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Puff

Puff Daddy, or P. Diddy, or whatever, has a clothing line that he was shocked, shocked! to discover was being made in a “sweatshop” in the Honduras. Clearly, this was intolerable, so Puff did the only (politically) correct thing, and said he would terminate the contract if conditions at the factory were substandard.

So lemme get this straight. To show his solidarity with the oppressed Honduran workers making 90 cents an hour, he threatens to fire them all. I understand that this makes Puff feel better, but how is it supposed to help the workers?

To make it worse, Puff’s sweatshop was actually paying well above the Honduran average wage. I’m not quite clear on how moving a relatively high-wage job from a poor country to a more developed country with a higher-wage workforce is supposed to advance social justice, but obviously the Puffster’s grasp of ethical ephemera exceeds my own.

35 comments to Puff

  • Obviously HE should reach into his pocket, and PAY THEM MORE.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Heh. Idiot.

    Missing the opportunity to improve the welfare and pay of the workers? Where’s the solidarity?

  • Verity

    He didn’t realise that people in Third World countries get paid Third World wages? Uh … What these anti-globalistas fail to address is, people producing first world goods in Third World factories are paid appropriately, or sometimes more generously than the norm’ for their region and the jobs are eagerly sought.

    The moonbat anti-globalistas can’t (won’t) get their heads around the fact that some of the children who work in these factories are the sole support of their families and consider themselves lucky to have the job. The ignorance of these socialist fruitcakes is mind-boggling. They seem to believe, or pretend to believe, that if 12-year old Jimenez wasn’t working in the factory, he’d be quietly contemplating Plato and learning nuclear physics at school. Actually, where he would be is in the gutter begging. What he would not be doing is going to school.

    Note to Puff Daddy: By being employed in a factory, Jimenez is taking the first step in pulling his family up in the world. If he hangs onto his job, he will be able to afford to keep his own children in school longer instead of sending them out to contribute to the family’s income. His children will be better educated, have better protected rights and more material comforts thanks to this job he is holding right now.

    These people drive me crazy.

  • Alfred E. Neuman

    Uh, R.C., we’re talking about Sean “Puffy” Combs here. Puff Daddy. P Diddy. The dude who diddled Jennifer “plastic surgery” Lopez (J Lo) before he shot up a nightclub and freaked her out.

    These people are idiots from the get-go (other than knowing how to market music). Expectations of understanding of the effects of globalization are about as reasonable as asking them to not sit in the VIP section.

  • A_t

    “These people are idiots from the get-go (other than knowing how to market music).”
    :) love the little exception you stick in… lucky he’s got that really, seeing as he’s managed to make millions. Pretty smart for an ‘idiot’ with a college degree, eh? Maybe Bill Gates is an idiot too (other than knowing how to sell software). Or maybe, just maybe, he’s doing all this “sweatshop? oh no!” stuff for PR’s sake. Take yer pick.

    Oh, & how does ‘diddling’ J-lo make you an idiot? She may not be the the most intellectually endowed of life-companions, but how many males would say no?

  • Angry Black Man

    “These people are idiots from the get-go (other than knowing how to market music). Expectations of understanding of the effects of globalization are about as reasonable as asking them to not sit in the VIP section.”

    These NIGGAS are idiots from the get go …

    Isnt’ that what you meant Mr Neuman? Real subtel racism I must say.

  • Alfred E. Neuman

    Hmm, nice try, Angry Black Man. Because Jennifer Lopez is black, right?

    You are a fucking moron. I pity people like you who live trapped in a world in which they can only see through the collectivist prism of race. Stay angry, buddy.

    A_t, you live up to my expectation of you as a knee-jerk contrarian. As for Puffy, my exception was referring to the fact that the Didster’s rap borrowed heavily from other people’s materials with just a bit of his own original stuff thrown in. His only real skill was in recognizing other people’s skills, and that’s why he stopped rapping and started producing.

    And I despise Jennifer Lopez (for a variety of reasons), so I may view the diddling of her differently than you.

  • Dale Amon

    Knock the chip off your shoulder. You’re in the middle of a group of Condi for VP fans.

    Idiots is what the globalistas are. It’s equal opportunity idiocy.

  • A_t

    Alfred, I have no great love for the diddy man, or whatever he’s calling himself this week.. but you’re misinformed; he’s always been a producer/on the business end of things. I think he mainly started rapping on some of his productions in order to flex his ego/make himself more visible; a tactic which worked well, arousing the ire of ‘hardcore’ hiphop fans, but raising his public profile. How many other producers are instantly recognisable over much of the world? Even Dre, who is a far more skilled producer (and even rapper, although neither are exactly masters of the art!), can’t equal him.

    His rhymes (in common with Dre) were i suspect, written for him by whichever rapping protege he was indulging at the time. So certainly they were borrowed, but the charge of plagiarism stands much more on his production ‘skills’; he’s blatantly ripped huge chunks of tunes & reworked them in tasteless fashion. On the other hand, ‘stealing’ massive bits of other people’s tunes is a long-standing hiphop tradition, and has yeilded some of the most exciting new music of the last 30 years, so it’s not the activity in itself that’s wrong, just the dubious taste employed. At the end of the day, he’s a successful entrepreneur, who’s probably made a shedload more money than anyone who posts here. Considering most of us are probably up for making millions, doesn’t that say a thing or two?

    As for the J-lo aspect, i understand & respect your reservations (& share some of them, although i’d still be hard-pressed to refuse if i was single), but I don’t believe fancying her is a sign of deficient intellect.

    I strongly believe, considering the business-savvy nature of the guy, & reputed lack of honesty, his being ‘scandalised’ by the sweatshop conditions has a lot more to do with fear of losing fans/business than any personal feelings either way.

  • A_t

    Let me put it another way… you’re a master of PR, and have made your living off cultivating a certain image & being liked. A proportion of your fans are be disturbed by some “scandal”… do you:

    a) try & explain global business practices to them, running the risk of being branded an unrepentant ‘evil exploiter’ in the press, & losing fans/money as a consequence, or

    b) act shocked & move production to somewhere less contentious, probably incurring minimal extra cost (relative to the potential loss of income should your image, which is largely what sells your product, become tarnished)

    If you think a) is the course any business-savvy PR person would take, you’re deluding yourself.

  • Verity

    I think A_t is probably right. He has expressed the required shock and horror. He’ll announce “changes” so people won’t stop buying his clothes. The story will fade and his Honduran workers will keep their livelihoods.

  • Kelli

    Did anyone else notice the “fast and loose” numbers this protest group is bandying about? One article cites workers making 15 cents for a $40 shirt, the other 24 cents for a $50 shirt. It’s hard to nail down a hard and fast rate on piece-work, but this raises questions in my mind.

    Second point: if this woman wanted to improve conditions for fellow workers, shouldn’t she be working with others from INSIDE the factory, INSIDE Honduras? This whole “movement” is aimed at the US media market. No one seems to have asked other factory workers, locals, etc. what they think of wages or the US based “movement” that seeks to liberate them from their oppression. Could the journalists not go ask a few people if this woman is a slacker or a hard worker? That might entail WORK. God forbid.

    Third point: having been to Honduras I can tell you the place is dominated by pineapple and banana plantations, where “hard labor” is helluvalot more real than being given “fecal water” (are they suggesting the bosses pooped in the water? should workers get Evian? inquiring minds want to know). The relevant point is that the president of this massively poor country is actually an honest, pro-business man who has made great strides against corruption, lawlessness and poverty. It’d be a shame if a bunch of American lefty wackos put a brake on all he’s accomplished.

  • Kelli

    egad! Looking back over this thread I find myself aligned with Verity (not a rarity) and A_T (maybe a first). Watch for meteors, folks, the world could end today.

  • R. C. Dean

    He has expressed the required shock and horror. He’ll announce “changes” so people won’t stop buying his clothes.

    Yeah, probably right. The one thing he won’t do is dig into his own deep pockets to make a difference.

    Still, his stance that he will fire them if and only if he discovers they were really being exploited has got to be the epitome of self-regarding “altruism.”

  • Fed Up Black Woman

    Angry Black Man joins the herds of those who are geared up to see only what they expect and too lazy to read and comprehend what’s actually been said. It’s called critical thinking, darling.

  • Verity

    Kelli, good post, as always! I’ve travelled in the Third World, too, and the alternative to factory work, for which there is tremendous competition, for kids of 12 pulling a handcart through hot city streets and traffic for 10 hours a day, is begging or prostitution. I hope the factory workers in Honduras don’t lose their jobs because of these globalista whack jobs.

    Incidentally, does anyone have any theories about what this globalista movement is all about? Obviously, it makes absolutely no sense, but there’s something driving it on neverthless. The same Marxist interests that are behind NION? Enquiring minds want to know.

  • Verity

    R.C. Dean says: ‘The one thing he won’t do is dig into his own deep pockets to make a difference.’

    Make what difference? What are you talking about? He (or rather, his company) is giving these people steady work that is otherwise unavailable, at wages consonant with the local economy. Why should he be “digging into his own pockets”? They’re doing a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, as they contracted to. They weren’t forced into slavery. He’s not turning up and contemptuously scattering coins in the dirt for them to scramble for. What is this nonsense?

    They took a job they were glad to get, but some people in Seattle have decided they’re not being paid enough because their employer is rich? I am simply not following you. Puff Daddy, or whatever his name is, has a right to be rich. He has a right to employ people. The richer he gets, the more people get employment and can afford to buy things in their local economies, thus spreading it around. Read your P J O’Rourke already! Jeeeeezzze!

  • A_t

    Let the agreeing end!

    “They’re doing a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, as they contracted to. They weren’t forced into slavery. ”

    Weeeeelll… depends whether you count compulsory pregnancy tests etc. as “fair”, & so on… & just because you can get away with treating people like shit because their alternative is prostitution/begging, doesn’t mean onlookers have to go “yeah, that’s fair.. i like that; doesn’t disturb me in the slightest; the market is always right”. To me, restrictions like that are prying into employees personal lives, restricting their freedoms. I don’t think that kind of behaviour is acceptable from a company whether they’re based in Honduras or just down the road from me, & would actively avoid companies which are known to do such things.

    But you have a point; I think much of the outrage here isn’t so much about poor working conditions so much as the striking differential between what the workers are paid & what the shirts sell for. Weird though that difference looks, it’s not inherently wrong in any way; if you can get away with flogging something that costs you 15c to produce for $50, good on you! Well done. And what do they expect the factory to do? Pay well above the average wage for no particular reason, ensuring that production costs go up, business goes elsewhere? That’s the market guys… get used to it. All you people protesting about it are also benefitting from this weird imbalance it in countless ways, & have done since you were born.

    & in case anyone was still in any doubt about my previous point… the last paragraph of the article:

    Combs did not dodge responsibility. “This is very important to me, the way my brand is perceived and the way we treat people.”
    (my italics)

  • R. C. Dean

    Make what difference?

    Don’t get me wrong – I think that by sending the work down there he is doing A Good Thing and making a positive difference by giving them jobs at the local rate. I agree with you, Verity.

    I am just pointing out that, BY HIS STANDARDS, things are bad in his factory and he needs to Make a Difference. The one thing he won’t do is spend his own money to achieve make the difference he claims to want to see. All too typical – others must pay the price of salving his conscience.

    Combs is dodging responsibility right up until he pays the price of making the changes he wants to see. Statements in press conferences do not affect whether someone takes responsibility or not. What determines that is what they do that makes a difference on the ground. If the Puffer wants to see higher wages, great, he should dig down and pay for it himself. If he wants to see shorter work hours, great, he should hire another shift out of his own pocket.

    What won’t help these people is either (a) terminating his contract,or (b) a PR-driven “investigation.” That is all he has put on the table so far, and it is worthless in terms of improving the lives of real live Hondurans.

    Plus, you gotta love the way he puts perception of his brand on equal ethical footing with treatment of “his” people. I think that tells you all you need to know about his social conscience.

  • R. C. Dean

    Watch for meteors, folks, the world could end today.

    Not to worry, Kelli – I agreed with Kodiak awhile back, and all that triggered was massive solar eruptions. I think we’re safe for now.

  • Kelli

    If I pay assemblers in Honduras 15-25 cents to sew a shirt, that does not mean the rest goes into my pocket, does it? Let’s count the number of people who get a cut of Puffy’s pie shall we?

    Cotton growers and middlemen (plus the people who make and sell inputs with which the stuff is grown); processers of said material (dyemakers, etc.); designers (of whom Diddy is one); everyone involved in transporting these items all around the globe; retailers and salepeople; finally, advertisers and marketers who put it all together.

    I hate to be a wag, and I’m far from being a business guru, but Mr. Diddy is spreading a lot of work across a pretty fucking large swath of the globe. He doesn’t have to do any of it. He could sit around the clubs, wondering who’s answering JLo’s booty call these days. He’s not. For the record, he’s training for a marathon and the money he raises will go to children’s charities–I hope the guy gets a Nobel!

    Go Puff Daddy!

  • Verity

    R.C. – By Puff Daddy’s “standards things are bad at the factory”? Like the factory doesn’t have a VIP area? They don’t send stretch limousines to pick up the workers in the morning? What on earth are you talking about? The guy is paying the workers the wage they agreed on. Presumably, they can count on getting their wages on time. He delivers on his side of the contract.

    Also, R.C., please don’t say you’re “agreeing” with me that sending work down there is a Good Thing. This is not my point of view at all. Patronisation has nothing to do with it. It was a business decision. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad. It was neutral.

    A_t – I didn’t know about the pregnancy test thing and am baffled about how it concerns you. If taking the test is one of the terms of employment, and these women, as free agents, agree to take the test, where is the problem? Are you suggesting the globalistas know better what is good for this woman’s family than she does herself? You think she’s not capable of having made a rational decision that taking a pregnancy test is a trifling price to pay in return for a regular income? How very condescending!

  • Kelli

    Go Verity!

    For the record, most of the time when women are subjected to pregnancy screenings in an industrial or factory setting, it is because the materials they are working with are potentially harmful to the fetus. I don’t know how tshirts and such fit in here, but the point is journalists on the case here drop the ball by mentioning the test but saying nothing of the rationale behind it (we can assume there IS one because tests cost money and take time). Other possible rationales: they don’t want to pay benefits to growing families (but then, we don’t even know if these workers get benefits–oops, another error on the journos part); they don’t want to lose workers after only a few months (possible, but these are fairly unskilled workers, or so we’re led to believe).

    In other words, this story has more holes in it than swiss cheese. It turns out to be less an indictment of global capitalism than of contemporary journalism.

  • Verity

    Kelli is right. Puff Daddy is spreading wealth around (althought’s a business decision; he’s not Mother Theresa). But she hopes he gets a Nobel! First time I’ve disagreed with her. The Nobel is degraded currency. Would you really want a prize that Jimmy Carter had touched? Why, in any event, should he be in line for any prize? He’s giving to a children’s charity. And? This makes him a saint? He’s rich. Most rich people give to charities and that’s nice and where would many charities be without rich benefactors? But so?

    Also, I don’t even know who this guy is. All I want to do is make a point against the globalistas. The man is paying a wage for which people have freely contracted their labour. His success in business is making a contribution to other economies. He is doing this to further his own interests and the workers are furthering their own interests. Yes, the power rests with the employer, but that doesn’t negate the fact that poor economies are getting an injection of cash and living standards will be raised thereby. There doesn’t have to be an intention of “doing good”.

  • R. C. Dean

    Geez, Verity, can’t a guy agree with you? When I said “by Puff Daddy’s standards”, I meant according to the words coming out of his mouth. He is saying that merely providing jobs at the top of the local market is not enough. He is saying that if things are as they appear to be at this factory, something must be done (namely, terminating the contract).

    His standards, not mine, appear to be that giving jobs to poor people is not enough, that a simple business arrangement is insufficient, that delivering his side of the deal is not enough, and that something more must be done (preferably paid for by someone else, apparently).

    As far as I can tell, you and I are in agreement about this, and P. is the odd man out. I am DESCRIBING P.s approach in order to make fun of it and criticize it, get it? That doesn’t mean I AGREE with it.

    please don’t say you’re “agreeing” with me that sending work down there is a Good Thing. This is not my point of view at all. Patronisation has nothing to do with it. It was a business decision. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad. It was neutral.

    But see, I regard the workings of the market as a Good Thing. Voluntary exchange, rising standards of living, all that stuff. So-called “neutral” business decisions are the engine that drives most of the Good Things happening on this planet. The fact that the motive is or isn’t altruistic has nothing to do with whether the results are good or bad.

    Goddam, you people are hard to agree with.

  • Kelli

    Quick, bring back A_T so we can all pile on him and get back to basically finishing each others’ sentences!

    RC, I feel for you man.

    Verity, one word, hyperbole.

    This blog is great, but it always comes down to two people, separated by a common language, don’t it?

    Love, peace.

  • Verity

    My point is, this isn’t a Socialism 101 project. This guy has made, through his own efforts, money that he wants to invest to build a base to make even more money in the future. This, to my mind, is good thinking. People being paid wages, and probably having a nurse or a doctor visiting the factory once or twice a week, in an economy where actual paying jobs are scarce, is enriching everyone. I have absolutely no interest in whether these workers get “benefits”. Puff Daddy took his work to the Honduras to escape the hefty costs employing in the West now entail. It was a business decision taken by, presumably, his board of directors and not by Puff Daddy alone gazing moodily out the window one day, and it is a business decision for the Hondurans who choose to apply for employment in his factory. Why the Kumbaya?

  • Verity

    Kelli – Hyperbole? Could you expand a little on that, please?

  • R. C. Dean

    Why the Kumbaya?

    Ask the Puffster, not me. He is the only source of Kumbaya that I can see around here.

    My point is the enormous gap between his professed views, his actions, and the likely results of those action.

  • Kelli

    Verity,
    Re. the “Nobel Prize” for Diddy suggestion. Really, it was just a joke (I swear!).

    Now that, in the wake of 9/11, my old standby irony has been discredited, I have taken up with hyperbole.

    And I have to admit, I’m a bit embarrassed to be SO up on P. Diddy’s goings on. Y’see, I sometimes forget to bring something to read to the gym, and that stairmaster is so damn boring. So I have been known to peer over “People” or even “US” in a moment of desperation. Oh yeah, I’m up on P.Diddy, JLo, Brittany, and all the gang.

    If only we had broadband hookups on the treadmill! Now there’s an idea.

    Cheers!

  • Good grief… who cares about any of this crap? So some otherwise-starving Third Worlders are being given a job at a pay scale higher than most of Honduras, and lower than Seattle.

    It’s just clothing.

    And spare me the wails about exploited Third World peoples. Perhaps if Third Worlders stopped procreating at alarming rates and tried to educate themselves, then things would be better and they couldn’t be exploited as easily.

    As for P. Diddly or whatever he calls himself, his entrpreneurial woes are worth less to me than a pimple on J-Lo’s backside (whoever she is).

    In short, I have no sympathy for any of these people. I find them all wretched.

    And rap “music” (illiterate doggerel recited over stolen “samples” of other people’s music) is a perfect illustration of the whole scenario: the unpleasant making money from the poor and ignorant.

    Clearly, P. Doody and irony are not close companions.

  • Angry Black Man

    “And rap “music” (illiterate doggerel recited over stolen “samples” of other people’s music) is a perfect illustration of the whole scenario: the unpleasant making money from the poor and ignorant.”

    illiterate dogerell = NIGGA SHIT!

    poor and ignorant = DIRTY STUPID NIGGAS!

    THIS IS A SITE THAT HATES NIGGAS!

    JUST CALL US NIGGAS IF YOU THINK WE ARE NIGGAS YOU HIPOCRYTES!!

  • Kelli

    And then the looneys invade…

    Kim, ABM,

    Do another line and go back to screaming at the telly. We don’t really want to hear it.

    Bye all, Happy Halloween!

  • Bad Boy. Come on. Sean Combs (I will leave nicknames up to the imagination of the reader) has been trying to leave his mark on the world in his entrepreneurial ways for most of his adult life. Associated with pop-flavored mainstream rap hits, he has been trying to make his own name in the fashion industry independent of his hip-hop persona.

    Rap artists have been developing their own clothes since the days of Naughty by Nature’s O.P.P. days, and to this day it remains the en vogue power-move to make once you hit it big and cross over. Don’t believe me? The following artists depend on newly-franchised self-moniker clothing sales for about a quarter to half of their total revenue: Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Outkast, Eve, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Fat Joe and Master P. To his credit, Fat Joe is the only one who beat the crowd to the craze, and was one of the originators of the “eggs in many basket” approaches to the industry.
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    However, Combs has put a lot of effort and clout into making a name-brand line of clothing to last the trying times of trendiness. Building an empire off of urban culture, his clothing line has hip-hop flavor, but he also has styles that compete with the big boys. Trying to become the Tommy Hilfiger of his generation, his clothes get as much wear from rich white celebrities and fashion aficionados as they do from gangsta rappers and the ghetto fabulous (the new term is “hood rich”, mind you). Combs has invitations to every major fashion show in the world, and his runway shows get praise from even the most caustic critics.

    Design
    The point is that you can wear stylish, comfortable clothes that impress the ladies without feeling like you’re Bubba Sparxxx when you sport Sean John. There’s no need to feel awkward if rapper-wear isn’t your forte. On the flip-side though, it still has credibility and gets respect in the streets. Rappers and hood personalities alike may tease “Puff” for his soft ways, but they flaunt his recognizable signature every chance they get. It’s the best of both worlds. Completely unlike his awful collaboration with Jimmy Page a few years back.

    Cozy and comfortable as well as stylish, the knit sweaters are more conservative and sure to warm like eggnog at holiday parties. These come off more like Polo than Phat Farm. These lifesavers during freezing hours in the office are the perfect blend of Abercrombie & Fitch and Triple 5 Soul. The subtle Sean John logo quietly shows people you’re not afraid to take risks with your wardrobe.

    Several leather jackets come in various colors and styles, and the butterscotch jackets bring home the flavor of the “I need a girl” video. A pair of aviator shades make the aviator jackets look like you’re a superstar yourself. Perfect for winter driving, when you want to keep warm and stay cool all at once.

    Also crossing cultural barriers are the classy yet sporty long-sleeve signature tees. Coming in current “in” hues of your favorite colors, these shirts are perfect for throwing on when you want to hang out with the buddies and play video games, or when you’re mixing with the girlfriend’s social circle for the first time. Be warned though; they may be hip on everybody, but remember they come a little oversized. They are meant to be worn with t-shirts over top of them, or underneath jackets and sweatshirts. Having said that, they are also fairly thin, so that they layer well. Believe me, Diddy wants you to be wearing as many layers of SJ clothes as possible. Even down to your boxers.

  • owo

    lets keep issues cool and live the life as God has destiny it to be.