Labor Practices Paper
February 21, 2016
A “sweatshop” is defined by the United States Department of Labor as a factory that violates two or more labor laws. The use of questionable labor practices, popularly knows as “sweatshop labor”, is widespread in the production of consumer goods (Paharia, 2013). Major international brands such as Nike and Apple are some of the high-profile companies that have been exposed to such labor abuses.
Most members of society automatically consider sweatshops as an unacceptable source of labor because they are known for subjecting employees to dangerous and unsanitary labor conditions. Research organizations have consistently found that while economists and activists disagree about the costs and benefits of such practices, consumers have a strong preference to purchase products made without sweatshop labor. Mostly because consumers are concerned and often disturbed when labor abuses occur but the demand for products that guarantee favorable working conditions remains low.
Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons that explain why this is an ongoing, conflicting situation. While surveys and research suggest that people do not endorse the use of sweatshop labor, actions speak louder than words. If consumers really cared as they stated, there would be more demand for sweatshop free products and companies to profit from such products. Consumers may not really disapprove of these practices and instead turn to economic justifications. Just like economists, these consumers may feel their participation is necessary, as it will provide economic development in the long run. Also, it is easier to ignore harm that occurs away from us than those occurring in our backyard. It is easier for people to hire a company to manufacture goods using sweatshop labor versus hiring the workers directly, lock them in a basement, and not offer bathroom breaks. When this is done...