Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sweatshops: Good or Bad?

Probably for most this question would not be very difficult. However, I recently found an article that presents a different side of the story.

My friend Peter pointed out his fascinating bio:

After reading The World is Flat, by Friedman, I've always felt that the globalization debate was more complicated than most make it out to be. I've always heard Walmart and other demonized for enslaving so many in their factories, but reading about how desperate the factories (and those working in the factories) were to land a position on the Walmart supply chain presented quite a different picture.

Kristof is basically arguing that sweatshops are often better than the alternative, the example he gives being a garbage dump. For too many the choice is between a sweatshop and ... nothing. So what should we do about that? He argues that merely shutting down sweatshops without providing an alternative source of income is not helpful. And in many ways I have to agree. Fair trade is such a difficult issue. Something to consider.

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