Friday

Sweatshops

Are sweatshops helpful to the economy of poor countries? The sweatshop worker brings home the bacon--well, the mealie-meal. Is that not enough to warrant their presence in poorer countries? I have already said what I feel about sweatshops in Lesotho. Here is another opinion (Look under "Economy"). Don and Donna say
There is scant manufacturing in Lesotho. There are two major areas in Lesotho where there are expatriate factories that would be called 'sweat shops' in the United States. These factories provide employment in Lesotho and this employment is considered choice by the people. You will always see a number of people outside the factories waiting just in case someone quits, is fired or dies so they they would have a shot at getting the job. These factories are creating manufacturing infrastructure in the country and should be encouraged. The workers have already formed a union and they will someday share in the wealth that they are creating.
Who's creating wealth? Will the workers share in it? Are the workers happy working in those factories, under appalling conditions that are allegedly the order of the day? Is the government of Lesotho doing enough to protect the factory--sweatshop--employees? Or is the reduction in the number of unemployed, street-roaming Basotho good enough? I've traded a few emails with Don and Donna, because I was thrilled at their project for Lesotho schools (Please visit their site!), and I believe that they are genuinely happy for those Basotho that can take mealie-meal home at night. And hell, so am I. But where does that leave us? What about human rights, and neo-slavery?

More information:
. Escalavage textile au Lesotho (in French)
. Who Makes it?
. Abolish Sweatshops