I have no problem with child labor. I also see nothing wrong with someone getting paid $0.69 an hour to make clothing that will sell for many times that.

This doesn&t make me heartless and it doesn&t mean I don&t care about the welfare of other humans as long as I get my cheap clothes.

People are too quick to impose their values and social norms on other societies. Why should American standards and values be applicable worldwide?

People argue that children should not work in factories or sew soccer balls 8212; that they should be playing or in school.

In America? Yes. But in most countries where sweatshops are found, the standard of living is well below that of the United States. Their parents may not bring in enough money for food.

For some of those children, sewing soccer balls guarantees that they will eat.

To tell them to go home and &play& could mean they starve.

These children should not be forced to do dangerous work. It is respecting their rights as a human without imposing our social standards on other nations.

American standard of wages can not be used to decide whether or not someone is making a living wage. Just because they make that $0.69 an hour does not mean that they are not making a living wage.

That ends up making them $1,400 a year by a conservative estimate. This is considerably higher than the $500 per capita GNP for 1999 of Sub-Saharan Africa or even the $1,000 of East Asia and the Pacific.

To merely raise the salaries these people are paid would only serve to create inflation.

Encouraging good fiscal policy, capital reinvestment and industrial diversification would be a greater favor to these workers.

Amnesty International gives statistics without explanation. That $0.69 sounds bad, but the reality could be different. Their poster also states that &a family of five typically occupies a 2 or 3 room house.& So do many American families.

But, once again, they avoid real discussion by placing this next to a picture of a shack. Many Americans live in these conditions as well and don&t work in sweatshops.

My problem lies in that while I do support workers being informed of the dangers associated with their work, workers not being chained to their machinery, having safe working conditions and being treated with basic human dignity, I can not support forcing our social norms on other countries in the name of good intentions.

Just because children no longer work in factories in the U.S., and our minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, does not mean that the same pay would help people in other countries.

Why not put our energies towards finding real solutions to real problems instead of propaganda which helps no one?



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