Sweat shops and cheap labour

Do you think that american cheap labour and sweat shops in foreign countries is a good thing or do you think we should encourage poorer countries to adopt strictor labour laws?

Arey! It’s the technologically more advanced countries that buy cheap labour BECAUSE working conditions are bad and wages are low because that’s what enables them to walk away with big profits, it’s called exploitation of the weak! What do you talk about? Go and blame the capitalism here of the more advanced and not these under previlaged countries. And who the hell are these more advanced nations to decide how some less technologically advanced country should live? They are the ones who don’t know where their boundaries end just to make huge profits!!! Nonsense! :imp:

If the cheap labor and sweatshops were discouraged to exist, then capitalists looking to make cheap product and huge profits would be forced to do business fairly and equitably. Don’t expect government to put limits on capitalism; it won’t happen. Instead, government will try to force change from the “rear end”, encouraging governments to clean up their labor laws through grants, media pressure, and concessions. The problem with that system is that governments in these countries are often corrupt, and the money is never spent on achieving the original objective of the capitalist government.

This is a fatalistic viewpoint, but the richest few will always be propped up on the backs of the massive weak, with occasional revolutions that spark temporary change when conditions warrant (they get so abhorrent that the “weak” won’t tolerate the situation any more). This was decided when the philosopher-king went the way of the dodo bird.

The only thing is if you make the poorer countries impose better labour laws then the capitalists will just move their factories to another country and now instead of having little timmy working in a sweat shop factory making 50 cents an hour to feed his family because he can’t find better work timmy will now be unemployed and him and his family will starve to death. Having lower labour laws and lower labour costs is what gives these countries a competitive advantage when attracting new factories and businesses. If a country simply put in better labour laws then they would lose this advantage and the factories would just go to another country. Now instead of timmy making 50 cents an hour to support his family timmy now makes 0 cents an hour and starves to death.

“If a country simply put in better labour laws then they would lose this advantage and the factories would just go to another country. Now instead of timmy making 50 cents an hour to support his family timmy now makes 0 cents an hour and starves to death.”

This is not exactly true. Take Saipan as an example. Any product made on this island is allowed to bare the “made in U.S.A.” stamp because of reasons that I am not all that familiar with. Becuase of the marketing value that this stamp provides, companies like Tommy Hilfiger, Gap , and Marshall Field’s are very relectant to move elsewhere, and lose this advantage. Dante also brought up a good point about corruption. It is not always the absence of labor laws that is the problem, but instead, the absence of the necessary oversight and regulatory agencies to enact and enforce these laws. When factory managers with thug mentalities are allowed to threaten their workers with termination, and/or physical harm because they are afraid that these people may organise into unions or do something else that would give them fair or at least better treatment then there is something wrong. And that kind of thing happens frequently, routinely even. Corporations need to realize that practices they could not get away with inside America do not suddenly become acceptable once they cross the border into another country. They need to be held responsible for their actions, and learn to treat their employees fairly, especially if these people are alreaddy being expoited. There is only a certain depth that greed can go before it becomes monstrous.

If laws were to solve the problems of poverty wouldn’t the Romans have done it in AD whenever.

People will do exactly as they please, and be glad to do it if you leave them alone with your dang laws.

I don’t like Timmy starving either because some social do gooder screwed up one more time.

Take your laws and jump in a lake. :wink:

I like Issac Asimov’s solution to all this. Eventually, the robot overlords will make everything work out to some perfered piroital optimum. So we have to suffer the current evil and put our efforts towards building the technocracy.

This time it will be the perfect system, honest. :evilfun:

I think that sweap shop labour is of course a bad thing. But i think simply shutting down these factories isnt the right answer. Making 5 cents a day is better then making 0 cents a day. What should be done is putting more pressure on the government in the area to raise the working standarts in the area.

How about the poorer countries from where america buys cheap labour, instead of adopting stricter laws, adopt the law that the item produced can only be sold at this percentage of the cost of production or they stop short selling themselves in the face of profits made in the range of upto 10000% or even more of the cost of production? :wink:

labor laws are about suply and demand, capitalism. These people are working for the rates that they do because they accept the terms. no one is forcing the people to work at gun point. There are alternative ways of feeding your family… such as moving back to to that hut on the rice patie. The only difference is with labor laws they will be forced back to a life of self sufficient agraculture. their jobs will be given to other people in starving nations a chance to feed their family working in a shop wrather than fighting other tribes men for food.

If we want to help these nations we should teach them to be self sufficient and nothing more. After all the world hates use because we get involved. :unamused:

Not if the factory was built on that rice paddy. :smiley:

The world is not stupid my dear, no matter how strongly america will believe it to be, ok? If america wants, “to help these nations” “to be self sufficient and nothing more,” then why the hell is it exploiting them by making use of the cheap labour?

There is no third world nation that would not welcome a meaningful involvement in their affairs as to their benefit, but the fact is that when cheap labour is bought, it is bought ONLY so america can profit. You call that meaningful involvement? You call that help? It’s true that the enterprise helps feed people in say China, it creates employment, but don’t call it help 'cause it’s only there for its own profit. Alright?

There was an e-mail that was circulating 2, 3 yrs back on how america walks away benefitting in billions of dollars because of war. If an Arab ever saw that e-mail, do you know how incensed they’d be? Boy! Don’t give me nonsense when it’s clear that sweatshops in poor countries are USED not to make the country better but for america’s own profit, ok?

Here’s the bottom line, go and do what you like, it’s your life. And if you go and buy cheap labour from me, fine, but then DON’T come and tell me that you care about me and my welfare, 'cause you don’t, you’re just using me! Otherwise, I can also "teach " you who should be taught what, ok?

Beena why do you say it’s America’s fault?

  1. America only means “The United States” in one half of America. In Spanish, America means North and South America (Actually, in Spanish it’s one continent. They say that the Panama Canal is proof of gringo racism. They hated hispanics so much they cut the damn continent in half, or so my Communist buddies at La UNAM tell me). Technically, the United States of America could apply to Mexico or Brazil equally as well as to Gringolandia
  2. Gringolandia is a fractured multiple identity country. Specific corporations contract “sweat-shop” labor, not the entire country of the United States.
  3. I think that the problem Of labor and multinational corporations is problematic. For every company that pays its employees some craxy exploitative wage, there is A company like Ford in Mexico that seems to be paying the going Mexican wage-rate. I guess the question I’m asking is this: is it a company’s fault that the wages in a certain country are low because the overall price level is low? I am not defending shit like Chinese people smuggling or coyotes that bring people from Oaxaca to be domestic slaves in LA or the child sex trade in Thailand. That shit is reprehensible and is different in kind from hiring labor cheaply.


Stick to the point, don’t stray, ok? When I say that about America using the poorer countries via sweatshops, first, I’m not suggesting that America should not do that, it’s none of my business so I’ll keep out of that, all I’m saying is, once you use someone clearly for your own profit then don’t go and tell them or show them that you care about them, 'cause you don’t.

And more than the above, just 'cause America has come out looking bad in this topic, DOES NOT MEAN the other countries are Gods, ok? We all have our weak points here and there. They say, ‘one who is not wise for oneself is not wise.’ In this sense America is better than the rest of the world becaue it cares for its own whereas the countries that allow themselves to be used don’t. And just because these countries are stupid does not mean why America should be blamed. These countries need to learn to be smart and above all learn to respect their own.

And just 'cause some country or countries have been STUPID does NOT give them the right to do something like the Sept. 11 thing. No one can really force anyone to do anything without their permission or consent in an adult environment. So some of these countries need to understand that they need to be smart and caring for their own and just 'cause they haven’t been so does not give them the right to go and drop bombs on others to get even. That is not getting even, that is being violent for no reason when previously they are the ones who have been stupid all along. Why the hell should someone pay for some other’s stupidity? Who is stopping anyone to be smart? No one! So START being smart and STOP being violent :smiley:

h3m and tyler;

the problem isn’t that people get paid little and work in bad circumstances, the problem is that they have no choise but to work in bad circumstances and for low fees…

multinationals push any small competitor off the market and take control, the ones that had an enterprise of their own once are forced then to work for a big company that cares not and won’t pay him but what will keep him alive…

workers organizations don’t exist or are banned, those who work for such a company cannot resist to exploiting for the alternative may well be starvation…

i agree
but the countries put all their money into repaying debt to the rich countries (who get enormous ammounts of money from that) and can’t invest in building an economy

imf is an institution that should solve this problem, but it looks after the rich more than after those who are in desperate need of money, and no quick cash, they need long-lasting kapital, infrastructure and training…


Ok, lets say you are the head of McDonald’s “happy meal toys”. You have to choose between country “A”, who is willing to work for 12 dollars a year and country “B” who is willing to work for 10 dollars per years. Who are you going to chose.

My point is this. We are not forcing these countries to work in the “sweat shops” but they do, because they choose to. They have 2 choices they can continue fighting each other for food, or they can work in a factory. Most choose to work in the factory. is this not bettering their position. Yes, their conditions are considerably worse than ours, but they chose those conditions because they are better than what they had before.

And don’t act like it is the fat, greedy Americans who has imposed this new life on these people. I don’t see you living in a hut mailing all your pay checks to the children of Yemen. Canada has happy meal toys too! And americans do give a shit about 3rd world countries why do you think we have the peace corps. and countless other charities set out on bettering the world… it will take time.

what ever happened to revolutions. sure worked for the US. Has the population of the world become Pacifists… maybe we can blame the UN?

Again, its more complicated than all that.

To begin with, cheap labour exists becuase: 1)the countries are run by the rich people who have shares in those corporations 2) the cost of living is way way lower - such that people who earn 5 cents a day in honduras are actually earning the equivalent of 2 dollars a day here 3) the competition for jobs is very high, thus corporations don’t have to pay much to keep employment 4) employees aren’t as educated or as trained so that don’t have the same qualifications 5) ruthless US backed dictators destroy unions by force in the name of anti-communism 6) there are no laws in place like the minimum wage laws here

You can say that its all the other countries’ faults for not caring about their citizens or whatever those posts above stated. However, the following is a pretty common scenario:
Popular leader X is running for presidency of a struggling country and wins. This popular leader is all for the people and their rights. Then, in the name of anti-communism (our favorite) the CIA supports, arms, and trains rebel groups to overthrow said leader and replace him with a U.S. interests-backing dictator that will continue the situation above. This has happened in countries such as Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Trinidad, Tobago, Chile… and continues to happen.

What’s a country to do?

Further, I do not agree with the claim that they are better off now than before. Life is getting worse for them in that those jobs are terrible jobs (manufacturing with lots of risk of injury, lots of pollution, etc) where as they used to be working on farm lands, they are at the mercy of companies who extort tax subsidies from their governments by threatening to take jobs elsewhere. Over all, over the grand picture (last 500 years) they are better off. Since the last fifty? They might be worse off, maybe not, but things are going to get worse if allowed to continue down the path they’re on.

Corporations are by nature greedy, their being rests on paying profits to it’s shareholders.

People running corporations are motivated by that greed to push for every last cent of profit.

It is not surprising that the little guy gets stepped on.

I’d suggest buying from mom and pops, but walmart has run them out of business with their lower prices.

I must support the use of cheaper labor, if for no other reason than that using them will drive wages and the standard of living up, as a poorly paid job is better than no job at all.

Only through allowing capitalism to work can their plight be improved.

Socialism/ Communism/ Central Planning is not gonna help.

This leads me to a question… it seems obvious to me, but I’d really like other people’s opinion.

Businesses, by definition, must have as their main objective to increase profits. That is what a business does - makes money. Even if you had a highly ethical and wonderful human being running a business, this person (when the business hat comes on) needs to focus on making money.

Now, if we privatize social services - such as the medical industry - then these corporations must think in terms of profit. I understand the whole thing about competition creating better technologies, but if the implementation of those technologies on a wide scale is not profitable, then it won’t be implemented. A whole host of social concerns becomes second priority to profit. The objective of, say, the healthcare system is no longer “to meet the needs to our citizens”; it is “to make a good profit”.

Now I know socialism is a bad word. And believe me, I grew up in a family of Cuban exiles and being a democrat is too close for comfort to them, so please don’t respond with the whole “you’re a commie!” bs. I’m not a communist and I don’t believe in communism. (Cuba si! Castro no! ← shout out to my Miami peeps and homies)

But I need to ask: in a capitalist system, where business runs on profit, then the government is the only (formal) entity that is (should be) designed for the needs of the people. If we reduce the role of the government and increase the privatization of social services, what is really FOR THE PEOPLE?

And this gets right down to democracy… whatever is in the realm of government, the citizens have a say in. We can vote, we can lobby, we can have a voice, we can reform. If our social needs are privatized, we no longer have a voice. Only the shareholders have a vote on the decisions that affect our lives. The less the government controls, the less voice the people have. Government sounds like this big brother bad thing, but remember, WE are the government. WE are not the shareholders and CEOs.

Now, I’m not saying that certain services like waste management or the postal services are social services that we need to have a say in, and if privatization can increase efficiency and lower costs, then great. I’m talking about healthcare, affordable housing, education, protection, basic needs such as food and medicine…