For many in the developed world, work takes place in a comfortable office or workspace. It is guarded against safety hazards, contains basic amenities such as toilets and change rooms, and is likely air controlled for the seasons. It may be furnished or allow access to a purpose built space during lunch breaks, and often decorated with objects of sentimental value – pictures of family members, plants, and any number of ornamentations to help pass the 6 – 9 hours we begrudgingly sacrifice there.
Yet, for an enormous amount of people on the other side of the world, work spaces are completely devoid of these ‘necessities’. Work takes place out in the open or within a semi-pubic space, often in an environment that has likely changed little in the last decade or three. These places certainly have character but usually in the form of faded paint or mouldy walls, and a hole for a squat toilet. Workplace safety means being forever vigilant and watching where you put your fingers and hands while meal breaks are for when the work is finished – 12 hours after it began.
While the labourers of the undeveloped world may seem to be in control of their destiny, working within industries who exploit a lack of government oversight, they are as much at the mercy of global economic machinations for survival as we all are. Their jobs are too easily effected by the will of governments in countries they may never have heard, or of powerful overlords they will never meet. Their livelihoods are as much a consequence of modernisation and the global economy as threatened by it. These people, above all else are relics of previous centuries, artefacts from a time when work was done by hand and ones labour power was essentially a commodity. The world has changed alot in the last 100 years and yet much more change is needed to bring about universal equality.