Poll: Are sweatshops good or bad?
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View poll results: Are sweatshops good or bad?
good
21 22%
bad
75 78%
Voters: 96.
Page 1 of 2
#1
Sweatshops, we've all heard how terrible they are. horrible working conditions, relatively low pay, long hours, unsanitary workplaces. But are sweatshops truly that bad? Often times these peoples only other options are dumpster diving, prostitution and crime. But does that justify businesses being able to exploit these people?

So pit, whats your opinion of sweat shops? good or bad? and why?

Incoming poll
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#2
Sweatshops are irrefutably bad. I've never encountered anyone that argued for them.
#3
Cheap shit! Hooray!!
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#6
Quote by Icarus Lives
They aren't good, but the lesser of many evils.


^ This. They aren't good. Everybody knows they aren't good. But as somebody said the people that work there have little alternative. Plus if it wasn't for everybody still buying materials that were made in them then they wouldn't exist.

Also: There is a funny Joan Rivers joke about them but I canne find it
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#7
how are they the lesser of many evils? you could just pay a fair price for clothes
#8
Whether it's good or bad is relatively inconsequential at this point. Its a fact of life. The cost of labor is too high in first-world countries, so massive, multi-national corporations have to move manufacturing to a place where they can pay people less than a dollar a day, so that the president/CEO/whoever will still be able get their $12million bonuses at the end of the year.

TL;DR: Fuck yes, I think its bad, but there isn't shit that we can do to fix it at this point. No company with the capability to do worldwide business and distribution will move manufacturing to a country where they have to pay people $20 an hour, and provide health insurance.

Edit:
Quote by teh_goon
how are they the lesser of many evils? you could just pay a fair price for clothes

A t-shirt at Walmart is currently about $10-20. (depending on what size, what's on it, etc.) If manufacturing of that same shirt was moved to America, it would cost $30+. And prices for stuff really didn't drop that much when manufacturing was taken overseas, the companies still charged essentially the same price and ate the extra profits.
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#9
It reminds me of the industrial revolution. Eventually I'm sure they'll get rights, but for now they're pretty much fucked.
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#10
I wouldn't say they're good but they aren't being forced to work there, so it's obviously better than not working in a sweatshop there.
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#11
It depends. A lot of developing nations still rely on these so-called sweatshops as they generate a massive amount of income for the country. The workers have no problems either making the wage they do seeing as in developing countries a job that pays anything is still worth something. Obviously in a developing nation it's inherently bad. I do know that in the past that there have been Western Campaigners who have defended it for their jobs.
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#12
Quote by due 07
Sweatshops are irrefutably bad. I've never encountered anyone that argued for them.

Corporations have to an extent.
You know, they have the same argument as TS.

Quote by doomded
Whether it's good or bad is relatively inconsequential at this point. Its a fact of life. The cost of labor is too high in first-world countries, so massive, multi-national corporations have to move manufacturing to a place where they can pay people less than a dollar a day, so that the president/CEO/whoever will still be able get their $12million bonuses at the end of the year.

TL;DR: Fuck yes, I think its bad, but there isn't shit that we can do to fix it at this point. No company with the capability to do worldwide business and distribution will move manufacturing to a country where they have to pay people $20 an hour, and provide health insurance.

I'd say it's more the cost of labor is too low in third-world countries.

There is stuff we can do about it. There was massive uproar about brands like nike and as a consequence they have changed. At least a bit. Public pressure does have an affect because bad press can be very damaging for brands.

Saying that, I do agree with you to an extent. It's exploitation. Pure and simple


muledit:
Quote by Harmonius
It depends. A lot of developing nations still rely on these so-called sweatshops as they generate a massive amount of income for the country.

Not really. Hardly any money goes back into the economy of the developing countries. You could argue that it's better than nothing. But I wouldn't say it's massive
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Last edited by mulefish at Sep 9, 2011,
#13
Quote by due 07
Sweatshops are irrefutably bad. I've never encountered anyone that argued for them.

"it creates jobs lol and the pay is marginally better than working on a farm"

edit: lol, called it
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#14
Quote by mulefish

There is stuff we can do about it. There was massive uproar about brands like nike and as a consequence they have changed. At least a bit. Public pressure does have an affect because bad press can be very damaging for brands.

I've always wondered about this.

Big brands like Nike and Adidas get a lot of shit for using sweatshop labour. But then, aren't most reasonably-priced shoes and garments made in sweatshops? The price of generic shoes is a fraction of the branded ones. Surely generic shoes are made in sweatshops as well, in order to keep the prices down.
#15
Sweatshop are one of the few revenue sources developing countries have, they are a valuable part of these nations economies. Additionally, while the pay is significantly lower in these factories, one must take into account that the cost of living in these countries is proportionately lower; while you may not be able to live on a few dollars a day, it is feasible for many of these workers.
#16
Does anybody here even know what goes on in a sweat shop? Rape, forced abortions, abuse of worker, dangerous working conditions but its ok because your shoes are cheap right? So I'm guessing its ok to treat them like shit because they are faceless poor people in a far of land god forbid people get treated with some dignity. Be greatful for the unions so you don't have to work in there for 3 cents a day.
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#17
Quote by due 07
Sweatshops are irrefutably bad. I've never encountered anyone that argued for them.




They give jobs to people who's other options would be a lot more detrimental to their health. On average, the pay of a sweatshop worker is much higher than that of their respective countries average minimum wage. If not for sweatshops the average price of clothing and shoes would probably be more than a third of what it already is.

Irrefutable? no way brah
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#18
Quote by son_of_bodom


They give jobs to people who's other options would be a lot more detrimental to their health. On average, the pay of a sweatshop worker is much higher than that of their respective countries average minimum wage. If not for sweatshops the average price of clothing and shoes would probably be more than a third of what it already is.

Irrefutable? no way brah


What ever helps you sleep at night brah.
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#20
Quote by son_of_bodom


On average, the pay of a sweatshop worker is much higher than that of their respective countries average minimum wage.


I could be wrong, but I don't think that's accurate. Most sweatshops report paying minimum wage to get the government off their backs, but end up paying their employees much much less.
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#21
Quote by son_of_bodom


They give jobs to people who's other options would be a lot more detrimental to their health. On average, the pay of a sweatshop worker is much higher than that of their respective countries average minimum wage. If not for sweatshops the average price of clothing and shoes would probably be more than a third of what it already is.

Irrefutable? no way brah

Women laboring in sweatshops routinely confront beatings, illegally collected fines and confiscated identity papers.

According to a National Labor Committee study, young women, working in Chinese subcontracting factories producing for huge corporations such as Nike and Walmart, are paid just pennies an hour for their seventy-hour weeks. Clear violation of both local and international labor law.

Workers of subcontractors are generally not paid more than the prevailing market wage of the day. Lots of statistics don't include cases where subcontracting is involved and only count men, women and children working directly for multinationals.

Workers may occasionally be payed more than their local minimum wage, but that's not saying much when minimum wage is less than $0.32 per hour. (Not to mention the consistently violated labor laws.)

I agree that sweatshop laborers are sometimes payed more than, say, agricultural workers in their respective localities. But as we can see, the abhorrent conditions of sweatshops are not held to even the most basic of labor standards. Workers are herded into sweatshops under the coercion of economic necessity. These acts of desperation should, at the very least, be protected by basic labor laws.

I'm rambling now, but you get my point. Everything you said is either irrelevant or just plain inaccurate.

EDIT: Besides, virtually all mainstream economists agree that sweatshops aren't "good"; they're simply "less bad than nothing."
Last edited by due 07 at Sep 9, 2011,
#22
If its means things are cheaper for me , why should i care about who makes them and in what conditions? thats not my responsibility.
#23
Kids may work 10 hours a week to make 20 cents, but hey, if they didn't have that job, they would be out 20 cents.
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#24
Quote by due 07
Sweatshops are irrefutably bad. I've never encountered anyone that argued for them.

The tiny little child fingers can really get good quality, intricate detail into the goods being producted.
#25
Quote by due 07

EDIT: Besides, virtually all mainstream economists agree that sweatshops aren't "good"; they're simply "less bad than nothing."

Which is simply a deliberate way to reword the statement "better than nothing", both statements hold the same value. There is an element of good to it, is there not? As you are, in a way, bettering a situation to a certain extent.
#26
Quote by burghUK
If its means things are cheaper for me , why should i care about who makes them and in what conditions? thats not my responsibility.


Hey ****, **** off.
#27
Quote by Thrashtastic15
Which is simply a deliberate way to reword the statement "better than nothing", both statements hold the same value. There is an element of good to it, is there not? As you are, in a way, bettering a situation to a certain extent.

Not necessarily.

Consider the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911. The factory is, by many standards, similar to a typical Third World sweatshop of today. Was one of the worst industrial fires in history "bettering the situation" for those immigrant workers that died? Subjecting workers to such dangerous conditions has an uncomfortably high potential for fatality.

I'm not saying we should do away with these sweatshops and throw the people working there into their graves. I simply want the workers to be allowed to organize through independent unions without being brutally suppressed. I want the workers (and others, like you and me and he and she) to organize and campaign against sweatshop labor. I want subcontractors to be held to, at the very least, basic international labor standards. Should that not be possible for whatever reason, why not at least local labor laws?

EDIT: So yeah, there's an element of good in it. But the good is so vastly overshadowed by what can easily be improved that it's hardly an argument.
Last edited by due 07 at Sep 9, 2011,
#28
Good for you. That won't happen. You know that just as well as I do. Realistically, if local labour laws are improved in an area, the company will move somewhere else. The international community is weak and powerless, not to mention the fact that the large, important countries which could make a difference follow the interests of the corporations which stand to profit off sweatshops. The fact is, these people are bettered by this, and if they didn't have it (which can easily happen), they'd be worse off. So, yes, there is an element of good, and there really isn't a better solution for the people in these situations. You can want those things all you'd like, but they aren't realistic situations. Ideally I'm pretty sure everyone but nossy are opposed to sweatshops. Shame there is more to it.
#29
that's cynical, if you started fining corporations that used cheap labour like this there wages and conditions would increase in seconds. so what if clothes are more expensive?

if we enforce even the bare bones of our local labour laws, eg the right to a break, reasonable wage etc. on international companies, the world would be a much better place
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Last edited by teh_goon at Sep 9, 2011,
#30
I really shouldn't post in this thread, I don't have any evidence for what I'm about to say. I hate them. While I understand that they are the lesser of many evils, there needs to be more being done to get rid of them. But transnationals benefit from them, why would powerful people want them gone? I think it was primusfan who originally said this on UG, and after some thinking, I agree. Corporations need to be required by law to pay foreign workers the same amount that they pay workers domestically. This would solve a large number of problems. It could be argued that it won't help everybody because they would be isolated (but less globalised with less Western influence, a good thing IMO), I'm still figuring this part out.
#31
Quote by Thrashtastic15
Good for you. That won't happen. You know that just as well as I do. Realistically, if local labour laws are improved in an area, the company will move somewhere else. The international community is weak and powerless, not to mention the fact that the large, important countries which could make a difference follow the interests of the corporations which stand to profit off sweatshops. The fact is, these people are bettered by this, and if they didn't have it (which can easily happen), they'd be worse off. So, yes, there is an element of good, and there really isn't a better solution for the people in these situations. You can want those things all you'd like, but they aren't realistic situations. Ideally I'm pretty sure everyone but nossy are opposed to sweatshops. Shame there is more to it.

The West can quit forcing third world countries into conforming with our grand visions of globalization and neoliberal markets. The UN can encourage developing countries to adopt protectionist policies and nationalized markets, which have been the source of the vast majority of industrial countries' greatest economic growth periods (including the US!). We can encourage mass anti-sweatshop movements abroad and the respect of labor laws in third world countries. We can pass legislation that requires MNCs to comply with reasonable labor standards, including not doing business with subcontractors responsible for the repugnant working conditions.

Or we can just sit by idly and accept that if subjugating people to subhuman conditions is what the economic elite wants, it's what we should settle for.
#32
Quote by due 07
The West can quit forcing third world countries into conforming with our grand visions of globalization and neoliberal markets. The UN can encourage developing countries to adopt protectionist policies and nationalized markets, which have been the source of the vast majority of industrial countries' greatest economic growth periods (including the US!). We can encourage mass anti-sweatshop movements abroad and the respect of labor laws in third world countries. We can pass legislation that requires MNCs to comply with reasonable labor standards, including not doing business with subcontractors responsible for the repugnant working conditions.

Or we can just sit by idly and accept that if subjugating people to subhuman conditions is what the economic elite wants, it's what we should settle for.

The economic elite dictates the policy of every mechanism you have mentioned.
#33
Perhaps we can all agree that, although the conditions certainly should be greatly improved, it's better than nothing?
#34
so what, just because the economic elite dictates something we should follow it? should martin luther king have stayed quiet cos the economic elite of the south dictated racism?
slightly extreme example but when you consider the suffering in sweatshops it seems pretty similer to me in some ways
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#35
Quote by teh_goon
so what, just because the economic elite dictates something we should follow it? should martin luther king have stayed quiet cos the economic elite of the south dictated racism?
slightly extreme example but when you consider the suffering in sweatshops it seems pretty similer to me in some ways

How are you going to change it?
#36
well boycotting them's a pretty good way of doing it, altough i barely ever buy clothes anyway
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#37
Quote by Thrashtastic15
The economic elite dictates the policy of every mechanism you have mentioned.

I'm aware of that; doesn't mean I support it. You sound like you're debating me for the fact that I want something that is incompatible with the interests of the ruling class.

Think about that for a second.
#38
Quote by due 07
I'm aware of that; doesn't mean I support it. You sound like you're debating me for the fact that I want something that is incompatible with the interests of the ruling class.

Think about that for a second.

You're saying that they do no good. I've listed your options. Are the working class better, realistically, with them or without them?
#39
Quote by Thrashtastic15
How are you going to change it?


I'm going to be the greediest, most evil capitalist so that I can be influential and change the world.

/unrealistic

You're right though, there's nothing we can really do. Boycotting/protesting rarely works with things like this. It would require huge social change world wide for sweatshops to go away. I think it's safe to say the world is getting more educated as time goes by, and people will become more aware and care more. I'm hoping that they will go away naturally. This won't be for a very long time.

/lives in a bubble
#40
Quote by Thrashtastic15
You're saying that they do no good.

That's just untrue.
Quote by Thrashtastic15
I've listed your options. Are the working class better, realistically, with them or without them?

Difficult, vague question.

They are better off economically, but worse off in nearly every other facet -- especially if they, and everyone else, are willing to complacently accept their harrowing working conditions. The potential for fatality due to exhaustion, suicide, attempting to organize (wtf), or on-the-job accidents is certainly against their class interest. They're worse off if they don't like forced labor which, generally speaking, they don't. They're worse off on the social level, leading their society to be m ore unequal and "less happy."

They're worse off in the objective sense that sweatshops don't necessarily increase economic growth. In fact, decent labor standards generally can increase growth and efficiency.

But yeah, they are better off in terms of wages. I'll give you that.

However there is no reason to not demand higher wages, as the current ones are still pathetically low. There's no statistically significant evidence that suggests raising wages would effect employment levels. So even the wages argument hardly stacks up, as the entire premise becomes "Well some money is better than no money." No durr, but in that case, go ahead and throw out every fight for better working conditions and wages in history.
Last edited by due 07 at Sep 9, 2011,
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