Last Train Home

Published: 2021-10-07 17:45:10
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Category: Life

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Last Train Home The documentary Last Train Home filmed by Lixin Fan shows us what Chinese’s families’ faces when they migrate from farms to work in factories in the larger cities. With the life of Mr. Zhan as an example, we can understand the conflict and suffering that these families have. They lose theirs so called “Hokou” which is “a household registration system that is designed to aid the distribution of welfare and resources, and keep watch on criminal activity”, and also they leave their children in the farms to be taken care of the grandmother which leads to broken homes.
However they leave all theirs precious thing behind only because they are seeking to give a better chance of life to their loved ones. To better understand this analysis of the documentary some terms like capitalism, outsourcing, globalization, inequality and poverty need to be explained. Capitalism is an economic system that the means of its production is private owned to create goods and services for profit, competitive markets and wage labor. Outsourcing is when a business is contracting out some business function, previously performed in-house, to an external provider.
Globalization is a phenomenon generated by the dynamics of capitalism needs to forma a global village that allows the largest markets for the developed countries whose domestic markets are already saturated. Inequality is the unequal distribution of income of a country, but there are also other factors such as poor education background inefficient investments in a country in social areas. Poverty is the material deprivation, typically involving the needs of everyday life such as food, clothing, and housing and health care, it can be understood as the lack of essential goods and services.
China’s government is trying to take the country out of poverty by taking advantage of the globalization by outsourcing their services, especially cheap labor. The government is using some Utilitarian way of thinking when trying to make the most number of people happy by providing jobs for the population. However the working conditions are poor, we can even say that they are unethical, as we see in the documentary when Mr. Zhan fell of sick the factory did not provide him any medical attention. We see that China’s factories have long shifts including nights, do not have sick days and the pay is really low.
The factories even charge for the food and shelter that they provide. China’s government should realize that not only proving a job that will make the most amount of population happy, but improve the workings conditions would be really helpful. Globalization helped China turn into a superpower country because of factories cheap labor. Almost every country now wants to import goods and services from China because of that. Adam Smith’s Theory says that “a man has a natural inclination towards self-interesting”, so competition for the cheapest price makes the factories in China explore more and more the workers.
Competition has a good and bad side. The good side is that when competing for labors prices more factories are open which provide more jobs for the population. However on the other hand the bad side of competition is that factories tent to explore their workers to get even more cheap prices to the goods outsourced. With this awful competition, everyone’s self-interesting is being promoted but the workers. The consumers play a big role in this cruel reality that explores cheap labor, by buying products made in these factories. This anger for cheap products forces the labor to get cheaper and it promotes an unjust society.
Indirectly Western Companies and consumers do have some responsibility for the poverty that Chinese’s workers find themselves in, the companies by outsourcing their services, and the consumer by keeping buying these cheap goods. But the employers are the ones that should provide these workers some economic safety net. We all know that a wall-paid worker produces more, and if their need are taken care of, the workers don’t have to keep their minds on problems outside the job, instead they would concentrate and make even less mistakes.
The government is the one that should benefit the workers the most, by forcing the factories to build their building in various regions of the country, so the workers did not have to travel so far to see their families. As we saw in the documentary it took days for Mr. And Mrs. Zhan to get home from the factories. The government should also pass laws to improve the working conditions and to benefit the work force in the country. Some long-term consequences that the rural community village suffers are broken homes and lack of people to work. The documentary showed that Qin repeated her parent’s cycle of poverty by dropping out of school.
Some factors that led her to repeat the cycle were that she wanted to have her own independent life, she felt abandoned by her parents and she felt very pressure by them in relation to school. In the documentary we can see the pressure that the parents put on their children when Mr. and Mrs. Zhan came to celebrate New Year’s, most of their conversation was about their kids school, and how good Qin and her brother Yang were doing on it. In this case when parents leave their children in care of others, most of the kids have no respect for them because they cannot connect the families ties with the parents.
Confucian Values has had a lot of cultural influence in China. Confucianism is known as “filial piety” it is considered one of the essentials virtues in preparing children for a respectful conduct of everyday life. As Qin repeats the cycle of poverty of her parents she disrespects this virtue taught by her culture that they consider so valuable. All these kids that drop out of school cannot measure the consequences that the lack of education will make them disadvantage for their professional life.
Since most of the adults left the villages to go to work in factories, the elderly and the children are the ones who have to do all the work in the farms. In closing, this analysis of the documentary Last Train Home which is about the migrant workers in China and the role that Western Companies and consumers play in these workers poverty, we can conclude that the poverty problem in China is far from being solved. It depends on various factors, especially the government, is the one that should start doing some policies changes in favor of the working labor, along with the factories owners.
As Gandhi once said that one of the things that will destroys us is “business without morality”, we all should take in consideration this immoral exploration that is happening in China and start doing the part that is up to us to help those people. Works Cited Last Train Home. Dir Lixin Fan. Perf. Changhua Zhan, Suqin Chen, Qin Zhang, Yang Zhang, and Tingsui Tang. Zeitgest Video, 2010. Documentary. Boatright, John Raymond. Ethics and the conduct of business. 6th ed. New Jersey: Pearson, 2009.

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