Re: Made in China

From: Brian D Williams (
Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 13:00:39 MDT

From: Chuck Kuecker <>

>>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.

These children have little choice, accepted fact.

However we as much better-to-do Americans do have a choice, an
ethical and moral one, and that is whether or not to purchase goods
produced in sweatshops by child labor.

The answer is clearly not.

>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.

I left the actual definition to the dictionary, I'm sure those we
are talking about would choose "abuse".

>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

Heck, even in a country that was supposed to be ethical (us) that
didn't stop companies from hiring thugs like the pinkertons to
prevent this.

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

These people can be paid fair wages for the countries they live in
and a tidy profit can still be had.

>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.

Or a refusal of civilized countries to trade with them under these

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

My original point was that there are people in our own
neighborhoods, many of these people are not going to be trainable
as software writers, who need an honest job. Think globally,
produce locally.

>>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...

Actually they have been killed, although it's often by being
neglected to death.

>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.

So now children must die? Sorry, I don't need a set of Nike's that

>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.

I pointed out a third alternative, we can refuse to trade in these

>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.

I don't like the idea of young children being forced to work to
survive, but even if necessary, they can be treated well, and paid
a decent wage.

This is currently not the case.


Extropy Institute,
Adler Planetarium
Life Extension Foundation,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888
Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W

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