Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sweatshops are good?

This is a crazy statement. How can a sweatshop be good? It is an atmosphere which exemplifies the abuse of another human being. People toil long hours for almost no pay. This is nothing more than modern day slavery. Or is it?

There was an article in the NY Times Op-Ed section detailing a much different story. According to this viewpoint, while sweatshops are bad, they are not the worst in the poorest of nations. In fact, they are crucial to the development of a nation. Manufacturing is a vital component of any developing country. Without it, poverty remains the overwhelming state.

Of course, we look at this situation in a different way. The bleeding hearts want to tell everyone else how things need to be. However, by focusing the attention on the sweatshops and, eventually getting them closed, these people inadvertently destroy lives. Their intentions might be good. Yet, their results are not favorable.

It is hard for us to understand what people in the poorest of nations endure. We live in a land where there is a minimum wage which employers are required to pay. At the same time, work conditions are at a level where safety is emphasized. Nevertheless, it was not always this way. There was a period in our nation's development where conditions resembled those in the developing countries. Workers were abused by their employers.

This is not to defend the practice nor should we return to those days. The point is that it was a critical stage for us to pass through. We can say the same for these developing countries. They will pass through this stage like the United States did. A sweatshop beats losing a hand or foot in a garbage dump.

Remember this the next time you want to scream out against an injustice in another country. What you are bitching about might not be the worst circumstance in that area. You could be killing someone with your perspective.

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