Cross-posted from the Socialist Courier blog
Every day in the newspapers and on television we are told of the fabulous incomes of some of the footballers in the Premier League. Some are reported to be earning £140,000 a week.
To most workers this appears a fortune and yet it is chicken-feed compared to the immense wealth of people like the Russian multi-millionaire who at present owns the Chelsea football club. Of course the majority of professional footballers have to struggle by on more ordinary incomes like most workers.
At the other end of the scale from the well-heeled Premier footballers and the millionaire owners we have the poor makers of the footballs. "The city of Sialkot in Pakistan produces as many as 60 million hand-stitched footballs in a World Cup year. The firms here are running out of new workers since child labour was abolished. Western buyers may have a clear conscience, but the children of Sialkot now toil in the local brickworks instead. ...Shaukat is a strong, 20-year-old man. He has been working for this independent stitching factory, Danayal, for eight years. Danayal produces handmade footballs for professional leagues. ...At the entrance to the factory there's a notice board showing the current rates of pay. Depending on the model, his employer pays between 55 and 63 Pakistan rupees per ball ($0.65 to $0.75). "On a good day I manage six balls," says Shaukat. That's eight hours work. "That's not a lot of money," he says as he pushes a needle through the thick synthetic leather and stitches together two patches. His boss is standing close by so he quickly adds: "But it's not little either." He gets paid every Saturday and has to feed a family of six with his wages.". (Spiegel on line, 16 March)
That is how capitalism operates - immense wealth for the millionaire owners and penury for the working class.