Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 8 of Lent, Thursday, March 13, 2014

It appears Panasonic is going to give hazard pay for its employees working in China because of the air pollution.  This is not the first time a company has paid higher wages for the dangers involved in a job but it may be the first corporation paying more for regular work in a polluted environment.

Xinhui Gangzhou Dadao Crossway.  Don't breathe deeply.

Is this ethical to pay for an employee to work in an environment that would likely cause major health problems later in life?  I mean the World Health Organization said that Beijing exceeded the daily maximum for air pollution by 15 times.

*Cough* *Cough*

Should we pay people for the likelihood of lung cancer later in life?

The NFL is having these kinds of conversations due to the health problems of their retirees.  Of course their injuries are more collision oriented rather than lung damage related.  But the question is similar.  What is an acceptable risk?

As I consider all the cheap stuff made in China that I've already purchased, I realize that I'm complicit in this which is really depressing.  God clearly says in Leviticus 19:16 that you shall not profit against the blood of your neighbor.  I guess we could argue that we aren't profiting as much if they are being paid more but that seems a little weak.

This is a complicated issue - hazard pay seems fair but what would be better for everyone would be for them to clean up their air.  I guess my definition of "Love thy neighbor" includes for them not to die later in life of emphysema.  But I also believe in freedom of choice so it's a tough one.

What would you wish for your children?

Photo by Nanbeidadao [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Rev. Always like a question that makes me think... honestly get past any sort of reflexive response and devote cognitive energy to the conundrum.

    Here’s where I think your question led me – yes, it is dangerous there. If we were to end our financial support, nothing will change; it will remain just as toxic tomorrow. Perhaps by increasing the worker’s pay in those dangerous cities we give them hope for changing their environment. It is a double edged sword, but which is the lesser of two evils?

  2. Yes, I tend to agree with you that the greater pay for the hazardous conditions is better than not supporting them. We are so intertwined economically with the world that we can no longer pretend to wash our hands of worker exploitation. But at the same time, I think we should do what we can to advocate for cleaner conditions. Thanks for the post!