Sweatshops Essay, Research Paper Do you know what Sweatshops are? Sweatshops are described as a small manufacturing establishment across the world including the U.S. Since the beginning of the 1900 s. Many generations of Americans have labored in sweatshops. Then, as now, their labor has been accompanied by widespread debate over what is a fair wage, reasonable working conditions, and society s responsibility for meeting those standards.
Sweatshops Essay, Research Paper
Do you know what Sweatshops are? Sweatshops are described as a small manufacturing establishment across the world including the U.S. Since the beginning of the 1900 s. Many generations of Americans have labored in sweatshops. Then, as now, their labor has been accompanied by widespread debate over what is a fair wage, reasonable working conditions, and society s responsibility for meeting those standards. In his article, titled Who Makes the Clothes We Wear? Jesse Jackson, uses liberal thinking in effectively arguing that with government help and a well informed public, private corporations will clean up their act by improving the working conditions of the working class.
In summary, Jackson s article discusses the abusive working conditions found in sweatshops throughout the world. According to Jackson, Sweatshops are not only a wide-world problem but they are also a problem faced by the United States. Jackson believes that popular large corporations like Nike are taking away the basic benefits of their workers. He believes that the public is unaware of the sweatshop problem, but if informed many consumers which buy the
products produced inside the sweatshops would act upon the sweatshop problem, and do something to diminish sweatshops. Not only would the public act upon it, but according to Jackson government will aid the public by regulating private corporations.
Jackson s article positions him as a Liberal in the political spectrum. According to Burns at. el. Liberalism refers to a belief in the positive uses of government to bring about justice and equality of opportunity; In the liberal view, all people are equal. Equality of opportunity is essential, and, toward that end, discriminatory practices must be eliminated. First of all, Jackson calls for better working conditions for the working class inside the U.S., and the poor in foreign countries. This example clearly shows that Jackson wants to preserve the rights of the sweatshop workers, by bringing justice and equality of opportunity to them. Second of all, Jackson believes
that government aid will bring new laws and codes that will help regulate big corporations. This will eventually lead to the elimination of not all, but many sweatshops. Jackson is also against private corporations, because he believes that these corporations are spending more money on their advertising, instead of paying a decent salary to their needy workers. For example he states
Nike paid more to give shoes away in promotions than to pay 12,000 women in Indonesia who make them (Behrens Rosen 308). Finally, Jackson is giving credit to unions, consumers groups and human-rights organizations which according to him are expanding inside the US and throughout the world by monitoring the labor conditions in large corporations. Therefore, Jackson is a Liberal which believes in individual rights and perceives the possibility of progress.
Jackson s liberal position can also be seen by comparing his statements with those of another liberal author, Michael Moore. In Moore s article titled, Is the Left Nuts? (Or Is It Me?). He also blames big businesses for the unequal rights of the working class, because he believes that these corporations are destroying middle classes and the working class. In addition,
Moore also calls for public assistance to bring about change in our society. According to Moore the public is never there when is really needed, he believes that if people were more aware of the problems our society faces, then the public will end up getting concerned and will eventually help out society. Finally, Moore also calls for equality for the working class, he is concerned that many working class people are so overwhelmed with work because they got mouths to feed, and bills to pay. These working class people are not getting the equality they deserve to live a good life, because all they are working for is to survive. These examples show a comparison of how both Moore and Jackson blame private corporations, and how both call for equality and for public assistance to help bring a change to our society.
In analysis of Jackson s arguments and opinions I believe his summary is effectively presented with good examples, persuasive arguments, and good use of information. First of all, Jackson presents us with an example of the finding of the El Monte Sweatshop. This incident did happen on August 2, 1995. Where a multi-agency task force led by the California Department
of Industrial Relations raided a fenced seven-unit apartment complex. What they found was one of the most horrendous U.S. sweatshops in modern times. Law enforcement officers arrested eight operators of a Chinese-Thai family owned garment sweatshop and freed seventy-two Thai immigrants. Also, Jackson is very persuasive by repeatedly mentioning that big corporations are corrupted, because they spend millions of dollars in advertising and promoting the products
sweatshop workers are producing. As a result, these companies sell their products for a very high price, when in fact the price in manufacturing these products is six or more times less than what they are selling it for. Not only that, but the workers are not even getting close to half of the
profit these corporations are making. As an example, Jackson states In 1993, the labor cost to Nike for a pair of $80 sneakers was 12 cents; in 1994, the company had more than $4.3 billion in sales. Nike paid more to give shoes away in promotions than to pay 12,000 women in Indonesia
who make them (Behrens Rosen 308). Lastly, Jackson uses good use of information when he mentions the prices of the products produced inside sweatshops. For example at the beginning of
his summary he asks the reader Would you spend $20 for a stylish Gap T-shirt if you knew it was make by teen-age girls in El Salvador forced to work 18 hours a day in a sweatshop for abut 16 cents a shirt? (Behrens Rosen 307). This prices are reality. I work in a mall in which there is
a Gap store and most of their shirts go from $20 to $40. Not only is the price paid for the shirts reality, but also the wage the worker is obtaining for it, the reason for this is because I have a aunt which is a native of El Salvador, and she knows of people who worked in Sweatshops and
their salary was of 20 cents or less.
Although Jackson s summary is logical with many strengths, it also has some weaknesses. First of all, Jackson uses the fallacy of oversimplification when he gives an easy solution to a very complicated problem the U.S. faces. This fallacy is clearly seen when Jackson states If consumers spurn just one popular brand name, then other companies will rush to clean up their act, so he believes that if one popular brand name cleans up their act, then all other
brand names will also clean up their act. Second of all, Jackson is always attacking his opponent which is the republicans. He continuously tries to blame republicans for not caring for the well being of the working class. As an example Jackson states Republicans are out of step with this growing concern. They are busy gutting what few government protections exist for working
people (Behrens Rosen 308). Finally, Jackson uses the fallacy of Non Sequitur because he believes that if Americans got informed of sweatshops, then, they will get concerned and will stop purchasing the products produced inside sweatshops. In reality how many people care about
sweatshops? How many people will actually give up their favorite shoes or clothes to help out the working class? Not many, so Jackson s argument does not follow because most consumers do not care who, what, where, and how their products come about, all they care about is of satisfying their wants.
In conclusion, Jackson greatly emphasizes that the major problem with sweatshops is public, and government unawareness and the power of big corporations. But in reality the major problem with sweatshops is not big corporations, or public and government unawareness as Jackson argues. The real problem is the poverty that surrounds our society and the societies
around the world. Poverty is the main contributor to the making of sweatshops. There is so many people which are living below the poverty line which have really no choice on how to survive, so they turn to whatever is available, in this case sweatshops. This is how large corporations take advantage of the working class and the poor, because they know that this people are in need of
food, and shelter and that they will do anything to obtain it.
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