10 Sep 2016

Death of the sweatshop and China's dangerous appetite for seafood

From This Way Up, 12:04 pm on 10 September 2016
Garment factory in Jiaxing

Photo: Matt / Flickr

South-East Asia has become the clothing factory of the world. The image of the sweatshop – underpaid workers labouring away in poor conditions – has become a potent symbol of globalisation, industrialisation and inequality. 

But the sweatshop model of low-cost labour – and with it millions of jobs – could soon be consigned to history as it gives way to automation and technology, according to Adam Minter of Bloomberg View.

Plus China's booming fishing fleet and the country's amazing appetite for seafood – a combination that is having drastic environmental and geopolitical impacts on China and its neighbours.

Aberdeen fishing village, Hong Kong

Aberdeen fishing village, Hong Kong Photo: (Flickr user Sharon Drummond (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0))

"Between 1979 and 2013, China's fleet of motorised fishing vessels grew from 55,225 to 694,905 boats, while the number of people employed in the fishing industry exploded from 2.25 million to more than 14 million"- Adam Minter.