The World’s Sweatshop Essay

2361 words - 9 pages

Printed on clothing tags or the back of most packaging are the commonly found words: “Made in China”. Large corporations such as Apple or Microsoft continue to outsource more of their production overseas to subcontractors in China. There have been various stories and rumors of Chinese workers being exploited by their wealthy factory owners and supervisors. Working conditions may appear to be improving in China, but most people are not able to view what is happening overseas. There are hazardous conditions as well as death and suicide in sweatshops that produce goods for these large corporations, particularly Apple, Microsoft, Dell, and Nike. These multinational corporations are motivated to obtain large profits by taking advantage of China’s lack of effective enforcement of labor laws.
China’s history of sweatshops and factories has grown because of economic motives and government conditions. Multinational corporations such as Apple or Microsoft are “large corporations that sell goods and services throughout the world” (O’Sullivan 456). In order to maximize profits, these corporations have to find ways to cut corners and reduce input costs. All of this is done to provide the cheaper prices that American consumers enjoy. Asian subcontractors do not provide their workers with the benefits and wages that are found in the U.S. In China, wages are much lower, labor movements are repressed, and labor laws are not enforced effectively (“Working Conditions”). Many Chinese workers do not even know about trade unions or collective bargaining, which is a tool that laborers have been able to take advantage of in America. By outsourcing production overseas, these corporations seek to take advantage of cheaper labor in China, a host nation that wishes to create jobs. Choosing to produce in China offers low taxes, low-cost infrastructures and brutal police-state repression” (Chan). These conditions provide some power and control for these multinational corporations over their workers. The Chinese workers are powerless against the influence of the corporate executives. They are able to “ultimately set the pace of production as well as the wages of the workers” (“Working Conditions”). Sine corporations may deny any connection to these labor abuses in China. However, with these powers, these corporations cannot shy away from the fact that they did have some degree of responsibility for the conditions of Chinese workers.
Microsoft, HP, Dell, and IBM are large corporations that produce various computer electronics and accessories such as desktop computers, laptops, and keyboards. A factory in China’s Dongguan City, Guangdong province helps to produce computer accessories such as keyboards and printer cases for these corporations (Kernaghan). Workers at the Guangdong factory work much more extensive hours than do Americans. They work twelve hours a day for seven days a week to make five hundred keyboards an hour at a $0.76 hourly wage...

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