Re: Made in China

From: Chuck Kuecker (
Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 12:23:16 MDT

At 07:11 AM 4/17/01 -0700, you wrote:

>You find exploited child labor acceptable?

If the alternative is no labor, and starvation, yes. These countries run at
a very different level of "comfort" than we do, and what would be privation
to us may well be a comfortable level of life to others.

The definition of "exploit" can be used either to describe "use" or
"abuse". The actual definition must be left to those actually under the
conditions in question.

> >Ditto "sweatshops". If the choice is between a twelve hour work
> >shift six days a week, and starvation, I would gladly work those
> >hours. ( I tend to do this anyway, but then, I am my own
> >"exploiter"!)
>For a pittance of a wage and a great deal of abuse? I doubt your
>case is even remotely applicable.

Sometimes, I wonder about getting a second job - say at 7-11, where I would
get a steady paycheck :)

Again, the workers are free to rise up against the abuse. I see nothing
wrong with concerned citizens of other nations providing help in this. The
rulers of those countries might see it differently...

>The fact that they have little choice doesnt make it right. By
>purchasing these goods you are ethically the same as the sweatshop
>boss who mistreats these children.

Again, if the boycott would drive the businesses out, these people will
then not even have subsistence. Is this a good trade-off?

>That would make me the jingoist Hal's accusing me of being. To buy
>these goods is to make yourself the ethical partner of those who do
>the exploiting.

See previous response.

> >The Western world has enforced a blockade of Iraq for quite a few
> >years now, supposedly to "punish" Saddam Hussein for his invasion
> >of Kuwait and other antisocial acts. He is still comfortably in
> >power, but millions of innocent Iraqis have suffered and died
> >because of the blockade.
>Bad plan, back to the subject.

The point is - actions against the bosses usually trickle down to the
oppressed, with the bosses shedding most, if not all, of the unpleasant
effects. The only actions that could affect these sweatshop owners would be
either enforced legislation in that country, or a successful labor action
by the workers.

>When you buy the output of a sweatshop, you are not "investing" in
>the third world.

I mean INVESTING. Send over more work, and ensure that conditions are right
in the plants. This has been working with US firms in Mexico.

>Good for you, now make the connection, children who are forced to
>work in sweatshops or starve are slaves.

Slavery is slavery, regardless of the fancy name given it. Forced labor is
slavery. What happens in these places if someone refuses to work - are they
fired or shot? If they are fired, this implies that they can quit, also...

>Excuse me? Read the history books, those who've tried to form
>unions have been killed in droves. Children forced to work in
>sweatshops are slaves.

And if they need to shed blood in their own countries to make the change,
this is the price they pay for freedom. Revolutions are not neat and clean.

I do not advocate that we invade these places and "force" them to change -
but how else will the job get done? The people there must rise up and
change their own lives.

>Travas has posted some excellent links.

Still studying them. (Got to enslave myself a bit, or I don't eat)

>Lets draw a distinction here, there is a BIG difference between
>workers producing things in various countries at various wages and
>the output of sweatshops, especially those who use child labor.

Agreed. I still think, though, that "child labor" is another hot button,
and that many jobs can be safely and ethically done by "children" that are
outlawed in this country, jobs that can spell the difference between
adequate nutrition and death.

Chuck Kuecker
Card Carrying Libertarian, also

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:59:46 MDT