Triangle Fire



In April 2013, a building collapse killed more than 1,100 workers – most of them garment workers – in Dhaka, Bangladesh. American economics journalist Matthew Yglesias wrote the following in response to suggestions that there should be world-wide industrial safety standards:

“The reason is that while having a safe job is good, money is also good. Jobs that are unusually dangerous—in the contemporary United States that’s primarily fishing, logging, and trucking—pay a premium over other working-class occupations precisely because people are reluctant to risk death or maiming at work. And in a free society it’s good that different people are able to make different choices on the risk–reward spectrum. … Bangladesh is a lot poorer than the United States, and there are very good reasons for Bangladeshi people to make different choices in this regard than Americans. That’s true whether you’re talking about an individual calculus or a collective calculus. Safety rules that are appropriate for the United States would be unnecessarily immiserating in much poorer Bangladesh.

Based on the documents in The Triangle Fire, how would the people of 1911 New York respond to Yglesias’ assertions?


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