I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Is it as simple as monopoly vs competition in regards to fruit price (which certainly is a factor) or are there other significant contributing factors aswell, of a less positive nature (for example wages of the workers etc etc etc.)?
Cheap is great... or is it?
What kind of workers are on Australian farms, especially banana farms? I'm real curious. Cause we know the workers on South American banana farms as well as the under-minimum-wage illegal immigrant workers in the USA do not have a nice job at all, especially if they are spraying pesticides, and organic does not mean pesticide-free either.
From the recent book Tomatoland:Of the legal jobs available, picking tomatoes is at the very bottom of the economic ladder. I came into this book chronicling a case of slavery in southwestern Florida that came to light in 2007 and 2008. And it was shocking. I'm not talking about near-slavery or slavery-like conditions. I'm talking about abject slavery. These were people who were bought and sold. These were people who were shackled in chains at night or locked in the back of produce trucks with no sanitary facilities all night.
"These were people who were forced to work whether they wanted to or not and if they didn't, they were beaten severely. If they tried to escape, they were either beaten worse or in some cases, they were killed. And they received little or no pay. It sounds like 1850. ... There have been seven [legal cases] in the last 10 or 15 years ... successfully brought to justice in Florida involving slavery. And 1,200 people have been freed. The U.S. Attorney for the district in Southern Florida claims that that just represents a tiny, tiny tip of an iceberg because it's extraordinarily difficult to prosecute a modern-day slavery case."
On undocumented workers
"I've seen estimates that nationally, 70 percent of the low-ranking farm workers are undocumented people from southern Mexico and Central America. These people arrive in this country — they're often shipped here from their home villages — and they arrive in a land where they certainly don't speak English. Many of them don't speak Spanish because they're indigenous so they're more comfortable in these indigenous languages.
"They're stuck in the middle of the Everglades in some trailer camp. They don't know where they are. They're frightened to go to the police because they're here illegally and also because back home, the police are often thugs and you don't want to go to them anyway. So they're completely vulnerable. They don't want to make any noise — they just want to work, make a bit of money and that leaves them totally vulnerable."
thanks diospyros! interesting
is the situation the same in regards to organic farms vs conventional, do you know?
do you know anything about the australian situation in comparison, is the situation for the workers different there?
In Australia on organic farms we have a lot of volunteer workers that are often low income back packers and have no other immediate option. I see a lot of worker exploitation of back packers on australian fruit farms, even organic ones. My good mate has an organic farm that hosts many woofers and he gets to hear plenty of stories. Ive seen a lot in person myself.
Ive heard of cases where back packers want to get a visa and the only farms offering that sort of assistance are farms where you work excessively for almost nothing.
I got an email from a student that is looking to get into surgery but scared to drink enough water as he has been told he would get fired if he went to the toilet 'too much' lol! So we have worker abuse at every level.
I work for myself now, but am surely getting excessive doses of EMR by being on my laptop. We are all screwed lol!
There's a lot of illegal workers in agriculture.... also hospitality, and I'm sure in other industries as well.
I remember working for restaurants and they all wanted to pay me under the table...
I remember working for restaurants and they all wanted to pay me under the table...
that sounds like a strange way of handing someone their salary
People in the US of A need two or more jobs for several reasons. Due to the bad economy, even educated people with master degree plus may be working for minimal pay ranging anywhere form $7 to 14 an hour. The average work week is 40 hours. Inflation and cost of living are very high right now in part to poor government management, poor economics, and inflation. 10 years ago, if someone found themselves in financial trouble, it might be to their poor choices. Nowadays, many young adults, and I am talking like age 18-35 do not have a choice. They have inherited a mess.
I will copy and paste this from my other response here:
It is a myth that all Americans are spoiled and rich and have a high quality of life. Only the top 4% live in such luxury (and those are the ones that are shown on TV). The bottom 96% make minium wage which is about 7.25$ an hour and the lucky ones might make about 10-14 and hour.
The cost of living is very high and the average young adult here might make about 1,000 to 1500 a month. In a lot of places, rent can start around 1500 a month, so what many young adults are doing is bunking up with parents, or 4-5 couples will share a house or apartment. While their main concern is affording shelter, sometimes, quality food takes a back seat.
Many young people do not own cars anymore either as gas and maintenance are too expensive, but that could be a good thing.
Shelter is a big concern in most places in the United States because of the cold winters we get. Between spring to fall, one could live in a tent if they have too. Winters in many places can be deadly, and many cities have shelters they set up for the homeless so they do not freeze to death.
Most land is privatized so the government can make money on taxes. That means one either has to own the land and pay taxes and or a mortgage, or one pays rent. If one cannot afford to do so, they may be arrested for trespassing on other's land.
It is also becoming difficult for the average American young couple to start a family. There is just not enough money and or privacy to do so.
So having said that, if one only has 100-200 a month to spend on food for themselves, they will be forced to go to the local Walmart instead of wholefood where it might cost them $500 a month.
While previous generations of Americans lived a good life such as our parents and grandparents, they were living on credit and borrowed time. What they did not take into account is that lifestyle both economically and ecologically could not be sustained indefinitely and that they were using their credit cards, they were borrowing from their children and grandchildren's future.
very interesting PK. it's sad to hear conditions are so bad for most people. do really most people earn minimum wage only? why is that?
I've heard Ron Paul arguing about getting rid of minimum wage for...this or that reason. I don't know if this would be even more detrimental to most people. if it could, how would this benefit people?
Like it's such a mess everyone is in a situation where they need to fight each other over nothing and people with economical power can misuse this situation so easily.
I just came across this data yesterday to back up my claims.
Many who do have jobs are frustrated by chasing their tails. Depending on what community they live in, you eat what you make. On the East Coast, people might make 2,000 a month, but the cost of living for one person might be between 2-3,000 a month.
People in Missiouri might be able to find rent for $200 a month, but then they might not have a job, or if they have one, it is part time 20 hours a week at Mcdonalds making $7 an hour. Food prices in Missouri are about the same as the East Coast. It can cost about 200-300 a month to feed someone. Then the cost of vehicles and maintenance and insurance and gas is almost $4 a gallon.
I know many Europeans will jump the gun and say why don't Americans take public transport, but most towns and cities do not have a public transport system.
The older generation, if they managed things properly, may still have some equity in their homes and investments, and although they may feel the budget pinch, they are not facing the devastation the young generation is facing.
This could be referred to as a generation gap in regards to those with or without property and or equity in property.
Why are Americans experiencing these problems?
I think it is a perfect storm of things. Some of it is based in problems we have created over seas, and some of those problems unfortunately, were started before most of us were born on both sides of the oceans, and may have started before World War 1, and with the colonization period of the world. Some of it is mismanagement of the government here at home. Since the 1960's, many jobs have been sent across borders such as to Mexico, China, and India. The second part of this equation is the constant influx of immigrants taking American jobs and seats in the universities. On top of all of this, the government has not done a good job of maintaining infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and utilities such as water lines.
These are just some of my theories. I may be right on some and wrong on others, but this is what I have observed in my lifetime living here.