News Ticker

Sweatshops save lives, so give Apple a break

Sweatshops are incredibly beneficial and constructive.

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.

[poll id=”633″]



11 Comments on Sweatshops save lives, so give Apple a break

  1. I would think it possible to improve the working conditions of the factory with out putting anyone out of work. The "That's just the way it is" idea in this article seems rather closed minded to possible solutions other than just closing down a factory.

  2. I think that the big picture is lost here. If conditions are so poor in a country that a 'sweatshop' is the best means of survival then that should be the issue at hand. Market dominant minorities and the agenda they pose on these people should be the concern, redistribution of wealth, affirmative action…so on and so forth.

  3. Hey, you know what happened when America utilized sweatshop labor? People died. Factory workers were subject to disease, injuries from dangerous machinery, malnutrition and sheer exhaustion – and their employers didn't care. No one did. How can the author possibly condone these kinds of conditions while dismissing real concerns of people who want to improve the standard of living for people in impoverished nations? This article is extremely shortsighted. Can't the Arbiter go a week without printing something so based in insular, America-centric or bigoted viewpoints that it offends human decency?

  4. Heaviest Cat // Mar 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm //

    this is the most disingenuous shilling for profiting at teh expense of poor people I 've ever read. No I'm not surprised that a buffoon like Kristof is for sweat shops. I can't believe Kelsey Crow has the nerve to sanction this kind of expoitation as an "opportunity " that "saves lives" . Is that why suiceide nets are installed at ground level? I guess, this is just what we should expect from a "wrtier" who employs the trite term "politically correct"

  5. A sweatshop in a free(isch) economy yes…
    In an iron fist Fascist state like China? No…

  6. I am glad this author used reliable sources in this article. I really like some of the work Nicholas Kristof has done. However, I do not like the manner the author chose to express her message. First, she alienated many readers by calling people who oppose sweat shops "ignorant activists." Kristof does not share your view; in fact, he said Obama and Democrats "mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad." Notice he uses the word "oppressive." That means people who believe (as the author said) "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" aren't "ignorant." Kristof continues, "I’m glad that many Americans are repulsed by the idea of importing products made by barely paid, barely legal workers in dangerous factories." You are grossly misrepresenting Kristof's views. He did not paint a rosy view of sweatshops; he simply said it is better for people to work in sweatshops than to scrounge around in garbage piles.

    In conclusion, I would just like to say that I am disappointed in this article. It is incredibly close-minded to insult people just because they have a different viewpoint. There are intelligent, educated people on both sides of this issue. Furthermore, the author misrepresented the views of a Pulitzer prize- winning journalist. I am sorry if this seems like chastisement, but people need to be cautious when they write articles like this.

    P.S. The headline of this article is terrible.

  7. If anyone is interested, this is the link to Kristof's article that the author misrepresented:

  8. "Ignorant Activist" // Mar 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm //

    This is one of the most elitist, white dominance driven, capitalist driven, disgusting things I have seen come from the Arbiter. The nerve this "source of news" has when posting things like this is so high. People from out of town and out of state are getting such a horrible view of Boise State when they read things like this. "So long as we are making money it's ok that non-white people in other countries die for what we get here", is what this story might as well be summed up to say. The author should be ashamed and shouldn't have the right to represent Boise State.

  9. Just wait for the 6 "follow-up" articles the Arbiter is going to publish to relish in the attention they got from this article ("Some dipsh*t thinks the corporations haven't been told No", "Eva Hart Doesn't Understand the Issue", "LttE: 'Some dipsh*t' is a dipsh*t"…

  10. Give me the blue pill please so I can go stand in the line for the latest shiny.

    If the southern slave masters had the "media and perception management" geniuses that are at Apple's disposal these same people would be standing in line to buy their own slaves I suppose.

  11. I’m in place for performing a link network if you would like, you have a awesome blog.

Comments are closed.