Courtesy MCT C

A common message screamed by ignorant activists is Apple products are made by malnourished Chinese women in sweatshops with deplorable working conditions and slave-like wages, and America must do something to stop it.

Nicholas Kristof  of the New York Times disagrees: “The central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t
exploit enough.”

This obviously contradicts anti-sweatshop messages promoted by boycotters of Apple products.

“I’ve heard that (sweatshops) have terrible health and safety conditions,”  said Jose Lopez, a freshman civil engineering major. “And that the employees get paid hardly anything at all so that it’s almost slavery.”

In reality, workers choose jobs in sweatshops because they are the best options available, according to David Henderson, a researcher for Hoover Institute Stanford University.

“Many workers in third-world sweatshops have left even harder, lower-paying jobs in agriculture to move to garment factories,” Henderson said.

Kristof reported a 19-year-old woman who scavenges for plastic in a garbage dump to re-sell said, “I’d love to get a job in a factory. At least that work is in the shade.”

It’s much easier for Americans to denounce sweatshop conditions while sitting in their plush office chairs with air conditioning, carpets and water coolers than it is for those living in extreme

Many times, the wages and conditions in sweatshops are better than other alternatives. The average wage in a sweatshop is more than twice the average income in Cambodia, Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras, according to Benjamin Powell’s article from the Library of Economics and Liberty website.

Activists would be wise to stop protesting Apple’s sweatshops and not seek to make sweatshops obsolete altogether. Their ignorant and politically correct views proclaimed with smug satisfaction could not only drive up the price of their precious Apple products, but could actually be ruining the lives of the very people they seek to “help.”

“When factory owners in Bangladesh were pressured to fire child laborers,” thousands of children starved or became prostitutes, Henderson reported from Oxfam International, a nongovernmental organization.

Investing in sweatshops is also better than sending mindless foreign aid overseas, which gives ridiculous amounts of control to potentially corrupt governments, according to  Thomas DiLorenzo, an economics professor at Loyola College.

Money equals power and giving governments more power than they should rightfully have or might responsibly use is counterproductive.

Whether Americans like it or not, sweatshops are “part of the process of development that ultimately raises living standards,” according to Powell.  America itself, the nation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, used sweatshops in its early days on the path to the working conditions millions of citizens enjoy today.

When well-meaning activists rabidly denounce Apple’s sweatshops, they fail to realize the vast gulf of difference between American job opportunities and those of developing countries. Don’t terrorize Apple for using sweatshops. Thank them, because they are utilizing something that’s beneficial and constructive for all parties involved.

Do you think sweatshops should exist?

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