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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Education can solve sweatshop woes

Logically, the case can be made that sweatshops are vital to third world labor. Morally, however, they are a different story.

Sweatshops force families to choose between the bad and the worse. Making and reconciling to the choice desensitizes them to their conditions and taking the incentive to improve their situation.

Most of the outrage from those against sweatshops develops out of the existing wage arbitrage practices by large corporations brazen enough to run a sweatshop in developing countries.

A big problem in helping developing countries out of their situation is in most cases development aid practices generally turn into self-serving aggrandizement.

In practice, it is hard to give any examples of poor underdeveloped countries that have escaped without going through a phase of more or less savage exploitation of the weak. Britain, Rome, Egypt and the United States have all gone through this period of cutthroat capitalism.

This exploitation is generally borne by the weak for no reason other than it being better than the alternative for them.

Despite the millennia of searching for options, there is no existing template for raising a country out of the depths of poverty.

Despite factual analysis, morally the question still stands. Are sweatshop labor or homelessness and prostitution really the only choices? Can we only ‘help’ people by offering them pennies for their toil? We are capable of more but choose to do otherwise. Obama’s international labor proposal presented last week is not the answer either.

Education is the answer. This is the only place permanent improvements in the formal labor force can be made and upheld.

At the risk of arguing solely on emotion, there is never an excuse for child labor – kids need to be in school, not sewing shirts or turning tricks so some billionaire can pad his bank account.

If these are the only answers,’ it is no wonder economics is called ‘the dismal science.’

Daniel Wheeler is a finance sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

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