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The Benefits of Sweatshops - Essay Example

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Sweatshop is a term that has immense emotional, historical and moral connotations. It induces in the reader’s mind an imagery that includes women and children slaving away long hours in the workplace under adverse working conditions and environment …
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The Benefits of Sweatshops
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Download file to see previous pages The reason for this is that, when a customer buys a product that is manufactured in a sweatshop then he/she is providing economic support to them by inducing demand. Thus, if discourse is to be centered strictly on morals, the average consumer is found guilty in entirety.However, the more important question that should be pondered over is what is the average consumer specifically guilty of? To make this clear, we need to define the term “sweatshop”, however like most subjects of economic discourse that are under hot debate, the very definition of this term remains controversial. Sweatshops use a particular method of production but cannot be completely tied to one type of industry. Sweatshops also have a legal connotation. The U.S. General Accounting Office characterize a sweatshop as “an employer that violates more than one federal or state law governing minimum wage and overtime, child labor, industrial homework, occupational safety and health, workers compensation, or industry regulation.” However, this definition is too constricted and not wide enough to be applied to the term as a standard definition. Furthermore, it makes it seem like the attachment of negative moral connotations is inherent to sweatshops.In his article “The Case for Sweatshops”, David R. Henderson talks about why sweatshops are actually economically very beneficial and not inherently bad as implied by the people who study it in an isolated moral context. This article cites an instance where a female sweatshop worker when asked during an interview urges people to be more forthcoming in buying the products people like her spend hours making. Where on one side, people who oppose the existence of sweatshops, their working environment and conditions, they forget that on the other side, sweatshops form an important part of economic activity in third world countries by providing jobs in large numbers to people who would otherwise be unemployed and cause a strain on their economy. The author makes a very substantial point here, in that a job whether it is of a high level or a low one is a consensual exchange. The person applying for the job thinks him/her suitable for the job and if the employer agrees then the person is hired. No one is forcing anyone to work in sweatshops, this is not slave labor. These jobs are often the best alternative option available to people like the one cited in this article in third world countries. There are even instances where people in these countries have left lower paying jobs that had even worse working conditions to start work in sweatshops because in their circumstances a job in a sweatshop was a far better option. Sweatshops also form a vital stepping stone in the economic development of third world countries. The first world is very different from the third world, their demographics are different and their economies have different characteristics and thus the issues they face are also completely different in nature and magnitude. Where in first world countries, child labor is considered inhumane; in third world countries the practice of child labor is vital for the economic sustenance of many households. If these children were forced to quit their jobs because the first world thought child labor was unethical and these children should rather be in schools, those that brought about this change should see how far reality is from the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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