Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cheap Labour Ethics

Many third world countries face fierce competitions in the world market. They try to sell their products at whatever cost even at the expense of the welfare or rights of the workers. They offer cheap labour to international companies. Nike was accused of having parts of its products manufactured by children in Pakistan.
China owes its economic boom thanks to its workers who work much more and are paid much less than workers in some countries where they sell their products like ipods.

Consumers should be aware of under which conditions people who make goods for them work. Paying more for a product manufactured in a country where labour laws are not enforced will make the money go just to the pocket of the employers as the workers stand defenceless because there are others ready to take their jobs with the same or less pay they get. There should be law enforcement first before the consumer becomes convinced to pay more for the welfare of the workers.

It remains problematic to decide upon what to do about goods manufactured by poorly paid and overworked labours. There are countries which have neither laws about minimum wage, nor legal syndicate for labour to protest about their pay or working conditions. If they protest, they can easily be licensed and replaced by the unemployed ready to take any makeshift job for whatever pay.

Boycotting such goods in countries that import them will just worsen the economic situation of the workers who live off manufacturing such goods. The worst thing that can happen to them is perpetual unemployment and its social and political consequences. So the golden mean remains to buy the goods for their quality, leaving the ethics of right and wrong to the people in charge in exporting countries such as law makers, law enforcers and employers .

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