Ensuring A Decent Global Workplace Essay

2425 words - 10 pages

In an article called “In Praise of Cheap Labor,” Paul Krugman, a professor in economics at MIT, gives praise to globalization. In regards to the ill treatment and terrible work condition of Third World workers, he remains apathetic and offers the excuse that “bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all.” Before I go into further detail about Krugman’s case about sweatshop exploitation, I want to take a moment to explain what a “sweatshop” really is as this presentation will support my counterargument against Krugman and the economists. A sweatshop refers to factories often (but not always) located in developing countries in which these operations depends on the exploitation and abuse of workers to gain profit. Among the many forms of injustice that takes place in these factories include: child labor, worker imprisonment, exposure to poisonous fumes, physical abuse, sexual harassment, rape, mutilation, death, illnesses resulting from harmful work environment and lack of safety procedures. Female workers are forced to take birth control pills and abortion. In fact, all of the mentioned and many others are violation of corporate policies and labor codes. On top of the inhumane treatment of these desperate workers, they are paid so little only to live within the poverty line. Krugman argues that although these workers are paid very little compared to what they are supposed to be paid, they are nonetheless better off then living in garbage dumps. Although it is true that these poor workers do have a way to earn an income now that industries are developing in their countries, they are, however, taken advantage by their corporate capitalists due to their desperate and helpless situation. Despite the new opportunity, it is obvious that the work condition and pay will never allow these workers to break out of their poverty level. For the economist to state that this opportunity is benefiting the workers more than the multinationals is ridiculously absurd and naïve. As an opponent of Krugman and the economists, I will argue that “sweatshop” labor exploitation is not ultimately justified. Examples and stories will be discussed in support of my case. Now that I have briefed about what a “sweatshop” is and presented my position in this matter, let us explore Krugman and the economists’ case in favor of “sweatshop” labor.
Krugman argues that to have bad jobs at bad wages are better than having no jobs at all. He uses a particular example of the Smokey Mountain in Manila, a garbage dump, as a symbol of poverty and is the livelihood of its people. He presents that global poverty exists far before multinational corporations even enters the country’s economy. By introducing globalization to poorer countries, those countries can have a chance in industrial growth as well. In other words, these multinationals are “Good Samaritans” to the desperate poor people of developing countries. As a matter of fact, he suggests that by expanding industries into...

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