Term Paper: Exploitation at Work Sweatshops

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Exploitation at Work

Sweatshops more often than not conjure images of slavery albeit in the context of our modern, industrialized world. The existence of sweatshops particularly in Third World countries has been brought to the world's attention because of the debauched working conditions characterized by long work hours, low wages, physically and psychologically hazardous work areas, and, in some cases, repressive employer-employee relations. Anti-sweatshop campaigns have especially brought to the fore the plight of women and children who are employed in factory work for the cheap labor they offer. While sweatshops have found defenders among the ranks of scholars in the likes of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences awardee Paul Krugman and noted pro-globalization writer Johan Norberg, social movements have continually launched campaigns against these exploitative working conditions particularly in developing and least-developed countries, which have spawned interesting debates that continue to brew on extreme sides of the political fence. And as these discourses fight for supremacy in the public consciousness, this paper attempts to provide explanation as to why such conditions of modern slavery exists even in this time and so-called age of technological progress. Attempt will also be made to explore various means to put an end to the exploitation of women and children in the workplace, particularly the role of those from the First World in improving the lives of those in the Third World without resorting to accepting the "no-alternative-to-sweatshops" perspective that some of its proponents would have the consuming public believe.

Slavery has turned up into our modern world in ways that has evolved along with the economic and technological revolution the world has undergone. The shift of economies from the primary and secondary sectors into the tertiary sector of services reveals the persistence of exploitation in the workplace, which exists particularly in factories of First World multinational companies in Third World countries that particularly employ among their ranks women and children. As the world's economies become more integrated and flattened, as noted author Thomas Friedman put it, more and more poor countries found their competitiveness in the cheap labor that their low-skilled population can offer. As multinational companies find the means to maximize their profits, developing and least-developed countries offer fertile ground for relocating their manufacturing operations where costs can be cut to the very least while allowing them more room to maximize profit. This has brought the emergence of new forms of exploitation in the labor sector, particularly of women and children. These changes in the socioeconomic and technological landscape more commonly known as globalization is the primary reason why exploitation of women and children in the workplace persist all over the world, even in industrialized countries such as the United States. According to Green America, a U.S.-based, not-for-profit organization working towards social justice and environmentally sustainable economies, sweatshops exist primarily because of this profit-maximization objective of multinational companies (Green America). As companies demand the lowest prices for the goods their suppliers from abroad supply to offer the lowest possible price to the consumers, employment of low-skilled women and children are the best option. While women and children are commonly part of the labor force, a practice which is not altogether uncommon in developing and least-developed economies, what is deplorable is the conditions and contexts wherein these women and children are subjected to. Apart from low wages, working conditions are poor compared even to the minimum standards set by the International Labour Organization, to which most countries of the world are members and are bound by its labor conventions. This combination of low wages and poor working conditions make up the exploitative relations in the workplace. In two words, the exploitation of children and women are a manifestation of the corruption of the human mind and soul that is driven by greed and competition that characterize the companies of the global world (Green America).

Defenders of sweatshops justify its existence with such arrangements as better employment alternatives to the more back-breaking work under the heat… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Exploitation at Work Sweatshops.  (2009, January 31).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/exploitation-work-sweatshops-often/58196

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"Exploitation at Work Sweatshops."  Essaytown.com.  January 31, 2009.  Accessed August 20, 2019.