Module 4 (Melchior)

 

In Defense of Sweatshops

The author of the article “In Defense of International Sweatshops’  asserts that sweatshops in developing countries especially in southeast Asia and South and Central America are beneficial to the workers. This is in contrast with a majority viewpoint that sweatshops are bad to both the factory workers and the U.S economy. The author, Benjamin Powell justifies sweatshops by arguing that essentially a bad job is better than no job especially when no better available alternatives exist in their country.

Another valid argument for overseas sweatshops is the wages provided are actually better in contrast with the national average in 9 of the 11 countries in their survey.  The example used in the article was of Kathy Lee Gifford’s Honduran sweatshop. Although one of her factory workers was averaging $3.10 a day, she was still earning a dollar more a day than 50% of the country. The article summarizes this concept with “…the U.S. media compared $3.10 per day to U.S. alternatives, not Honduran alternatives. But U.S. alternatives are irrelevant. No one is offering these workers green cards.’

 

Arguments Against Sweatshops

There are many arguments against sweatshops both from an economic and social perspective. Critics of sweatshops argue that outsourcing jobs overseas hurts American workers by taking jobs away from them. Also, overseas factory conditions are abusive and dangerous. Sweatshop factory employees are known to work long hours deprived of meal and restroom breaks, denied legal protections for minimum wage and sexual harassment, and endure unregulated safety standards and bodily injury.

The overall argument is that basic human rights are being violated. The foundation of the issue for some sweatshop critics is people before profit and that’s not what’s happening.

 

Conclusion

After doing more research, the data supports the  defense of international sweatshops. Another article co-authored by Powell states “In most countries the protested wages are more than 60 percent of the average’.  Also, taking into consideration the arguments against sweatshops, they still are better than the alternative. According to Powell’s article “In Defense of Sweatshops’, the alternative for laid off overseas factory workers is sex work. Another article on the opposing views of sweatshops tells of the alternative to child labor for some Indian families is selling their children to traffickers who often mutilate them for more profits. I think the most convincing part of the argument for me personally is looking at the situation to scale. Comparing worker wages to wages inside of that country not the U.S is important. The data collected on worker wages compared to national averages provides solid support in defense of sweatshops.

Wrongful Beneficence: Exploitation and Third World Sweatshops-  https://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.library.uaf.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=46320223-4512-43e9-953e-5fbba9478cc3%40sessionmgr4007&vid=4&hid=4104

Sweatshops and Third World Living Standards: Are the Jobs Worth the Sweat?-  https://www.independent.org/pdf/working_papers/53_sweatshop.pdf

Overview- Sweatshops: Opposing Views-  https://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ReferenceDetailsPage/ReferenceDetailsWindow?zid=19404905dc531f1b8af14f1bbd4490f1&action=2&catId=GALE%7C00000000LVZ8&documentId=GALE%7CPC3021900163&userGroupName=p1841&jsid=f8d20a8f5e8c472f6ec251356fd9ca23

 

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