The standards people in Australia have if they are only familiar with living in this country can not necessarily be appropriate to be used when considering the conditions that people in other countries live under.
The basic pay for a teacher in China is 2000 yuan a month to which is then added an extra amount for each lesson that the teacher takes. Workers who labour may be going to receive 1,000 yuan a month. There are about 6 yuan to the dollar so this corresponds to less than $200 a month. However the cost of food is correspondingly low, and if they drink beer they can get a stubby of Tsingtao for 9 yuan or lesser brands for 3 yuan. If they really want a party they can get five litres of 52% alcohol for 58 yuan at the supermarket. This is another big difference with Australia. Asia sells alcohol anywhere. But during two years in China I never came across an intoxicated individual.
The relevance of this is when writers start bewailing the pay of factory workers in clothing factories in other countries and expecting shoppers to stop supporting brands made in those countries by not making purchases of clothes made there. This is going to mean that the worker has no work. Hence the worker has no income. And in these countries the social services that exist in Australia are not replicated there. Hence the worker does not eat.
Recently the pay of seamen was a news item when a shipping line dismissed all the Australian workers and replaced them with those from other countries who would work for a tenth of the Australian crew, or whatever, and with different conditions of employment. Any business is obviously going to pay the least they can if the job is done to the same standard. For the Australian seamen to expect to keep their jobs was completely unrealistic. Another factor is the additional cost of an Australian worker. Thirty years ago I had a choice of starting a tour business in Australia where the pay given to a worker was half the cost of employing the individual, so if they were going to be paid $2,000 a month the cost to the business was double that, so it was $4,000 per worker. By conducting the business in Thailand the cost per worker, doing the same type of work, was a total of $500 a month. These days with superannuation the cost of a worker is going to be even more than double their pay. And the seamen thought they should stay employed.
Another factor when comparing workers is the time spent at work. When I added up the hours a student in China spent at school and compared it to Australia it came to a neat twice as long. If the students are there the teachers are as well.
In Korea when we were there the workers were expected to remain at work until the boss left. This meant they had very long days. They also drank too much. One time while I was waiting in the afternoon for a bus a weaving while walking drunk was between bus stops. He stood in the middle of the road as the bus approached him. The bus driver stopped and let him on. Again a different attitude to here. Soju contains 22% alcohol. So one stubby is equivalent to four beer stubbies. A friend of my wife's husband put away ten stubbies of the stuff before trying to walk home. He fell off a bridge on the way and broke both legs. From what I experienced their drinking damaged themselves though and not others as happens here.
This writing was begun after reading about an organisation which thinks elephants should not be used to carry tourists or put on shows at theme parks. These days what other uses do they have in the countries they come from? You have seen the drawings of elephants being the cavalry of the east in wars. The Greek guy took them over the Alps thousands of years ago. Horses for cavalry have disappeared except for things like the Queen's birthday and so have the horses. Transport used to be horse drawn. Actually I was in Bulgaria a few years ago and horse drawn carts were still common in Kazanlak. Clydesdales for drays used to be the thing. No more. Try telling an elephant the option is as a tourist bus or burgers and he will opt to carry the tourists. It is expensive to feed an elephant. If you have seen what comes out the other end you will realise it is a lot. Being driven through Kao Yai National Park just north of Bangkok at night we encountered mounds of the poop as high as the car window, or they seemed that high. Then the large grey boulders off to the right moved. Ah ha. The culprits. The driver accelerated to get by them. At the time I thought that was being overcautious but since we have all seen the photos of the elephant sitting on the car.