According to Quartz’ recent article, about 60% of the world’s new Christmas decorations come from the city of Yiwu in China. Reporters state that conditions are bad by western standards and that many workers are likely inhaling toxic chemicals on a daily basis. On the spectrum of possible working conditions, however, it’s not so bad.
What surprised me most about the video is that production looks more like a craft project than a factory operation. I think a lot of us assume that our goods are churned through a high tech, fully automated machine, but, in industries that rely on the cheapest manufacturing cost possible, it’s not a priority to update equipment. It’s much easier to employ people to do it all by hand. This is true even in U.S. factories. This is why fair labor is expensive.