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Sweatshops Case

Essay by   •  February 21, 2012  •  Case Study  •  1,246 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,380 Views

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Sweatshops

Child labor is a problem thought the world and the global economy, especially in developing countries. In a study done by the International Labor Organization they showed that over 90% of the total child labor market employed in rural areas of Asia and Africa largely due to lack of enforcement, it is argued that something has to be done. Although the majority of people are ethically appalled by child labor, and against the exploitation of children, is the worldwide eradication of the worst forms of child labor really a feasible alternative? To find the answer to this question you have to take in account a variety of factors involving both the economic and social cost, as well as have a firm understanding of the situations people are faced with in these underdeveloped countries. One of the main problems that arises from child labor is that is devalues adult labor and in turn increases the adult unemployment rate. To fix this problem with child labor we need to encourage education, enforce child labor laws and promote fair trade.

Necessary Steps

While thinking about this issue you have to look back at America when it was first going through industrialization. This is something that almost all people seemed to overlook and this idea is essential to lowering the poverty level in developing countries. In the United Sates when child labor laws were implemented by the Federal government it essentially freed the children from going to work and gave them the opportunity to go to school and get an education. By this education, the middle class of American society was born, allowing the citizens who were stuck below the poverty line to rise above and experience a higher quality of life that had previously been restricted to the upper class. Many people believe that if child labor remains legal in the developing countries then they will be stuck in a never ending cycle of exploitation because there would be a social order that they wouldn't be able to escape. Child labor has to be banned to assure that the children have a chance to get educated.

Banning child labor is a long term solution because parent's wages would rise as labor became scarcer, but such a ban could not lift families out of poverty in the short term. So another idea that would help the process would be to put in place policies that promote their economic growth, including dropping trade barriers such as tariffs. In a study done by the International Labor Organization (ILO) they showed that the number of children in the workforce fell when the families overall wealth increased. If the trade barriers were to be dropped then the event that the ILO presented us with would in turn happen. Another things that goes right along with this last idea is the rise in commercial agreements-which must include norms for guaranteeing basic human rights and respect. Implementing these fair trade norms helps prevent child labor. The new labeling campaigns-like Rugmark or the equitable commerce label-guarantee that the products consumers buy are not manufactured by children and that fair commercial practices have been employed. The label also reminds companies that young consumers should also be aware of commercial practices. Fair trade practices guarantee a fair price to small-scale producers. In 44 developing countries, fair trade helps keep 550 co-operatives in business. These co-operatives consequently provide goods to 5 million people and often reinvest profits in the community, where the money is used to build schools, medical clinics, wells, etc.

Another way to look at this is poverty or a lack of available cash causes child labor. The children however are not poor in the sense that they have decades of potential future income. So this is where the idea of giving children loans to stay and go to school, comes into play. Allowing them to borrow money today, so it would permit them to stay in school, and pay back the loans when they are earning a better income, because they got a higher education. I would also like to make the clear difference between loaning money and giving money to these kids, which was described in the Economist

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