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Big Business And Sweatshops Essay

1234 words - 5 pages

In order to keep companies check book balance, big businesses like Nike’s, Wal-Mart, Walt Disney Company, and the Gap made unethical business decisions with manufacturing facilities located throughout the world to produce its products. Nearly 800,000 people work in these factories, called sweatshops, located primarily in Asia. However, these big companies dictate the term to the contractors about the design, the materials and the price it will pay to produces the products. Sweatshop is a working environment considered to be unacceptably or dangerous, part curly by industrialized nations with high standards of living. Sweatshops are also sometimes implicated in human trafficking, many ...view middle of the document...

Workplace injuries and exposures to toxic chemicals also pose a daily risk to the sweatshop workers. To prevent worker from stealing the items they are producing, managers sometimes lock the factory plant doors and windows, creating a fire hazard. In many sweatshop factories workers are not given masks to put over their nose and mouths, exposing them to tiny cloth fibers that are flowing in the air. These cloth fibers get into the lungs of the worker which causes serious health issues.   In 1900, workers formed the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) to organize against low wages and unsafe working conditions. In November 1909, ILGWU organized the first garment workers' strike, known as "The Great Revolt". The protest brought 60,000 New York City garment workers to the streets to fight for their rights. Women and children on the picket lines were beaten or targeted with guns. Yet, ILGWU prevailed, winning wage and hour standards and impartial arbitration of disputes
To keep labor costs low, apparel shop owners usually pay workers a "piece rate." That means workers don't get paid by the hour. Rather, their wage is based on the number of items—shirts, shoes, sock—they complete in a shift. If workers hope to earn a decent income, they have to work hard, and they have to work long. Basically, they have to sweat.
Economists view sweatshops from an exchange perspective in which both workers and employers gain when they voluntarily enter into a labor contract—no matter how low the wages may seem to external observes. From William (2004) on the right to Krugman (1997) on the left, economists across the political spectrum have defended Sweatshops in the popular press. 1 one economist critical of sweatshop even observed, that most economists opinion is “as simple as this:” ‘Either you believe labor demand curves are downward sloping, or you don not ‘as a neoclassical colleague said to me of course, not to believe that demand curves are negatively sloped would be tantamount to declaring yourself an economic illiterate” (Miller, 2003: 107).Sweatshop is a working environment considered to be unacceptably or dangerous, part curly by industrialized nations with high standards of living. However sweatshops may exist in any country. Sweatshop workers often work long hour for unusually low pay, regardless of laws mandating overtime pay or minimum wage. Since wages are unusually low and working conditions poor, the incentive for owners to invest in modern, possibly economically low, and nonviable technology is less.
We can also compare apparel industry earnings to the extent of poverty in these countries. The World Bank’s estimate of the percent of the population who lives on less than one dollar and two dollars per day. In most of these countries, like...

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