Thursday, August 04, 2005

Viva Le Sweatshop

Viva Le Sweatshop

There are clearly cases in which multinational corporations go into developing countries and cause havoc. Nestle's infamous campaign to convince African mothers to use formula instead of breast milk comes to mind. However, it is important to note that sometimes working in a sweatshop beats the alternative, and that just because something makes money doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, usually it's good.


Ben Casnocha said...

"Or, he can go to the local Nike factory, work long hours (but certainly no longer than he worked in the field) for low pay (but certainly more than he was making subsistence farming) and take a shot at changing his life."

How can he change his life? I also don't get why he gripes about the protesters protesting something that they themselves haven't experienced - living on $2/day. That's a silly complaint, you don't have to be living on $2/day to be able to say that it's below a healthy standard.

I agree, generally, that something is better than nothing.

Chris said...

In the context of Coyote's post, "changing his life" refers to changing his way of life from subsistence farming to something else, not to the conventional American notion of "reading Dianetics changed my life!"

I tend to agree that griping about protesters being (in the words of Danny Elfman) "middle-class socialist brats" isn't germane to the key point, which is that you have to judge wages in less developed countries (LDCs) based on the alternatives and on their own terms, rather than on G8 standards.

$2/day may or may not be healthy--none of us can say without knowing the alternatives and the context.

Henry Ford was once viewed as insane for paying the exorbitant wage of $5 per day.