We need more sweatshops

Apr 122011

Self-righteous liberals and hip college students love to jump on their high horse and demand an end to sweatshops in the name of social justice. The problem is, they really haven’t thought their sanctimony through.

Tuesday night, social justice speaker Jim Keady spoke to CSU about the evils of sweatshops employed by corporations like Nike. But Keady can’t see the forest through the trees.

Yes, sweatshops are miserable and dangerous. But with no other alternatives, sweatshops provide stepping-stone employment that helps desperate rural poor improve their lives and better their countries’ overall economic situations.

Keady and other opponents of the multinational globalization that, in truth do abuse their sweatshop workers, scream in moral outrage that sweatshop slavery needs to end. But for those trapped by poverty in places like rural Africa or Asia, sweatshops offer hoards bad jobs where previously there were no jobs at all.

Sweatshop jobs, however abusive, have improved the lives of ordinary people wherever they’ve become available (places like Singapore and Hong Kong, once upon a time) and give hope to people who previously had no path to far away, but achievable, prosperity.

So while poverty and mistreatment are worth fighting, abolishing sweatshop jobs will only eliminate one way out of those conditions and could force the back-broken poor to languish in otherwise inescapable misery.

Even renowned liberal economists Jeffery D. Sachs of Harvard and Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman understand their necessity.

In a New York Times piece from the late 1990s, Sachs was quoted saying “My concern is not that there are too many sweatshops but that there are too few.’’

 Posted by at 3:18 pm

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