Sweatshops, Poverty, and Working Conditions

The issue of sweatshops in the developing nations is a complex matter that can be viewed from a positive or negative perspective. Some critics believe that sweatshops should be eliminated from the society by boycotting the consumption of products and services associated with sweatshops. Other critics believe that boycotting sweatshops makes matters worse because it leads to the loss of employment and a subsequent dire situation at the grass root level, where women are forced to submit to subjectivity from their male counterparts. This implies that there is a group of people who believe that sweatshops are sources of financial empowerment for women and the youth in some nations. This paper will focus on the living conditions of women and children involved in sweatshops as primary factors that influence them to endure the inhumane working conditions of low payment and being overworked.

Sweatshops and Poverty

Sweatshops are associated with poor working conditions, harassment of the workers, low wages, and the inability of the workers to access basic needs through the little financial gains from their work. The sweatshop owners, on the other hand, receive high profit margins by lowering the cost of production significantly. Companies such as Wal-Mart have been associated with contracting sweatshops to produce different products in India (Ahmed, 2016). The main goal of the sweatshops is to reduce the cost of labor to facilitate the application of highly competitive prices on commodities in the developed markets. This implies that allowing sweatshops to prosper is condemning the victims of the sweatshops to poverty for the rest of their lives.

Garyfalakis’s essay highlights the sentiment that sweatshops are bound to enhance the chances of the associated nations to increase their economic productivity, which would result in the creation of new jobs (Norton, Green, & Dynes, 2014). Employers would then be forced to enhance the quality of the workplace and increase the compensation and benefits packages. However, this is rarely the case in the practical sense. The lack of policies to protect the employees subjects them to oppression despite the nations reporting growth in economic production. The prevailing poverty compels the people to continue working under poor conditions and low payment to provide food and other basic needs if there is any money left after buying food. Child labor is on the increase in the developing nations in Asia and Africa. The large population in the respective regions results in a high demand for employment; hence, employers can offer extremely low wages and still have an influx of laborers.

Sweatshops and Unsafe Working Conditions

The general working conditions in sweatshop is associated with numerous safety hazards. Employers aim at reducing the cost associated with human assets in the production units; hence, they rarely invest in safety within the facilities. For instance, the employees are sent to work without the relevant protective gear; thus, there is a very high rate of injuries in the sweatshops, as well as a high death rate emanating from poor working conditions. “…the collapse of Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh still killed: 1100 persons this time…” (Rouge, 2016). Employers still continue ignoring their responsibility to make the workplace safe for their employees in the sweatshops because they do not value them as humans.

Sweatshops are typically associated with shifts between 14-16 hours with a limited number of breaks. Based on the fact that most of the employees in the facilities are women and children, it is apparent that they normally get extremely tired, which has a negative effect on their concentration when handling risky tasks in the factories and fields. This might be one of the factors that increase the number of physical injuries leading to disabilities among workers in sweatshops. Sweat shops put employees at great risks of incurring serious physical injuries and developing psychological disorders such as stress and depression because of the emotional torture from the employers (Powell, 2014).

Sweatshops Lack Labor Protection

The existence of sweatshops in the contemporary world is a function of the lack of administrative laws to govern the conduct of employers in regard to the rights of laborers. Employment laws and labor unions that have been universally embraced by the global society are ignored by the authorities in the developing nations; thus, facilitating the oppression of employees of the companies running sweatshops. The inability of the respective governments to implement labor policies is a result of the lack of resources to supervise the companies, and the willingness to support the sweatshops because there are no other ways to create employment for the citizens (Sketch, 2014).

Conclusion

The global society has actively boycotted the consumption of products associated with sweatshops because the prevailing moral guidelines dictate that the society should steer off the relations with entities that uphold unfairness and oppression. It is apparent that sweatshops are harmful to the workers’ health, and they do not compensate them accordingly. Labor policies in the developing nations should be implemented fully by ensuring that there are labor unions and the government should refrain from allowing the prevalence of negligence in the agencies that implement labor laws. Additionally, the authorities should actively look into creating more employment opportunities to help the oppressed citizens in the private sector to earn a better living through jobs that compensate them adequately for their efforts.

References

Ahmed, S. J. (2016). Made in Bangladesh (review). Asian Theatre Journal, 33(2), 499-503.

Norton, S., Green, B., & Dynes, R. (2014). Essay essentials with readings (6th ed.). Scarborough, ON: Nelson Education.

Powell, B. (2014). Out of poverty: Sweatshops in the global economy (1st ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Rouge, J. F. (2016). Sweet Sweatshops-A Reflexion about the Impact of Sweatshops on Countries’ Competitiveness. Economics, 4(1), 7-36.

Sketch, A. M. (2014). Regulation, Enforcement or Negligence: A Look into the Possible Causes of Continued Abuse within the Bangladesh Apparel Sweatshop Industry. Web.