The latest tragedy involving the death of Sherpas on the everest climb again throws up the question of fair business and economic practices involving adequate compensation to locals. The guides who lost their lives on Friday had climbed up the slope early in the morning to fix ropes for climbers and prepare the route for them. The risk to life and lack of proportionate rewards to the sherpas, especially relative to the returns made by the tourism industry that thrives literally on their back, is a topic that comes up every time such an event comes to pass.
The issue has created some animated activism among the Sherpas, but will it last beyond the immediate aftermath remains to be seen. The incident throws up the much broader issue of the structure of compensation across industries when it involves tribal workers or rural populations. The lack of awareness among the locals leads to terrible trade practices which are belittling the efforts of people like the Sherpas and have allowed a very exploitative and lopsided revenue structure to become the norm.
Some resources on the topic: