Sunday, June 13, 2010

Other World Cup stuff

As in other than scores or some kind of analysis of yesterday's England-USA match-up, which I have to admit, I did not watch. I harbor some resentment about the lack of excitement the Women's World Cup garners so I don't get too excited about the Men's World Cup.
Anyway, there has always been some controversy over the manufacturing of soccer balls because of pretty blatant exploitation of citizens--including children--of third world nations who stitch the soccer balls. There are campaigns that continue to bring attention to these issues and urge consumers to pressure FIFA and other soccer organizations to use balls produced under with fair labor and under conditions that do not constitute human rights violations.
With the start of the 2010 Men's World Cup such campaigns have been heightened. But the (somewhat infamous) World Cup ball is not being stitched. The manufacturing process is somewhat different.
This You Tube video show the manufacturing process.

It is an interesting video because it doesn't actually tell us much. There is no narration, no talking by the people in the video (you do hear some mumbling). There is a lot of whirring and manufacturing sounds. And it's all very clean. It's kind of like one of those Mr. Rogers videos where you got to see how things were made. (The crayon one was my personal favorite.)
And you never see the faces of the workers, which I find curious and disturbing. This is not a self-made ball. It's not just machines putting this thing together. Humans are involved too and given the history of companies like Adidas, chances are these balls are not being made in the United States. Nothing wrong with that per se, but given the history of abuse of workers in other, less economically developed countries, we should wonder about how "clean" this process really is and how fair it is to the people who are making these balls.
Just something to keep in mind amidst all the World Cup mania.

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