Sweatshops: Economical Vs. Ethical

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Sweatshops: Economical v. Ethical As corporate social responsibility is being widely implemented and scrutinized among society, sweatshops have become a controversial topic. Many view sweatshops as an unethical practice of corporations. However, it may not be perceived the same to others. Globalized companies take advantage of the cheaper labor costs when issuing their factories in countries such as Bangladeshi, Malaysia, and Thailand. Though child labor, low worker pay and poor working conditions are part of these sweatshops, economically, they may be helping the country for the future. So what is the ethical decision for a corporation who maintains factories in other countries? There are two main arguments debated regarding sweatshops:…show more content…
“To this day, it is still considered the most significant piece of anti-sweatshop legislation in the United States” (A Dirty History of Discrimination and Ignorance). However, this did not prevent companies from employing workers in harsh conditions. In the 1990’s, New York and Los Angeles still ran sweatshop factories; though many sweatshops were being relocated to the Caribbean, Latin America, India, and Asia. “The ‘American Sweatshop’ that had supposedly been eradicated in the 1930s was being exported around the globe” (A Dirty History) in response to free trade agreements. Today, sweatshops are seen in large in China, Malaysia, Bangladesh and many other third world countries. The developing country of Bangladesh is a prime example of garment sweatshops. The country has a large number of child laborers and exportation of garments (80% of total exports). According the Central Intelligence Agency, there is almost 4.5 million children employed, however, the “economy has grown six percent per year since 1996”. Even though the economy has grown since 1996, there are still 31.5% of Bangladesh citizens living below the poverty…show more content…
We can see many large corporations that outsource all of their production, for example, Nike. Nike was under a large amount of scrutiny after they were exploited for their poor factory conditions. Although their image was tainted from these practices, Nike has initiated many practices and policies to improve their conditions for their employees overseas. The article, “The Myth of the Ethical Shopper” suggests that these corporations are not aware of the specific factory their products are produced. Large corporations, such as Nike, Disney, and Wal-Mart, purchase their products through mega suppliers. These mega suppliers then subcontract to other factories who in turn subcontract to others. Thus, when a factory caught on fire in the Tazreen factory, logos of these corporations appear in the rubble but these companies were not aware this was where their garments were being produced. Therefore, if a large corporation were to ban their products from being produced in a specific factory or location, they could not directly enforce this as they are not directly involved in the subcontracting of their
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