“Activists over the world protest against sweatshops. What, if anything, should be done about sweatshop labour and by whom?”

Essay by sarazeUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, April 2013

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Essay title: "Activists over the world protest against sweatshops. What, if anything, should be done about sweatshop labour and by whom?"

Sweatshop labour is an angle of globalization that has landed into a controversial debate amongst international actors. Stained with negative connotation, sweatshops involve unenviable conditions, exhausting hours of work and hazardous practices, all for extremely low wages. Thus, this context of work has driven the incentives of transnational corporations to seek lower costs and transfer their productions to developing countries with more accommodating entry barriers. Yet, this growing trend of outsourcing has brought more than just a rise in profits for companies. It has called for the international community to behold the exploitation of these vulnerable economies. Activists and students alike have taken this issue to new heights within the past decade, campaigning for higher wages, improved conditions, and even eliminating the factories. A response from economists and businessmen has surfaced to defend their ethically acceptable resort to sweatshops.

Bearing in mind the flagrant disregards to labour rights, the scholarly-backed support for sweatshops stems rather from their concern for economic efficiency. They promote mainly that raising wages will inevitably disable the workforce's advantage and haul off foreign investment. This support of sweatshop labour has led to reproachful accusations to the proponents. In the eyes of the average consumer, their implication in this process makes them responsible for the oppression. Without doubt, firms can be reproached for neglecting human concerns, but their aim is strictly entrepreneurial, and not a social incentive.

The purpose of this essay will not to spare firms from their liabilities towards sweatshops or their workers. In fact, my aim is to clarify why the activism behind sweatshop closure is a disservice to workers and their fragile economies.

This essay will provide an overview of the...