Thursday, 2 September 2010

Sweatshops are good?

In a recent posting over at the Aid Watch blog Benjamin Powell writes,
Sweatshop jobs are often far better than the vast majority of jobs in the countries where they are located. David Skarbek and I researched sweatshops that were documented in U.S. news sources (or see here for my shorter, more general defense of sweatshops). We found that sweatshop worker earnings equaled or exceeded the average national income in 9 out of 11 countries we studied. Working in a sweatshop paid more than double the national average in four of the countries.

Sweatshops can also play a crucial role in economic development. Sweatshops bring investment, better technology, and the opportunity for workers to build skills. It was not long ago that sweatshops existed in many now-wealthy Asian countries.
So sweatshops may be bad, but they are better than the alternative.

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