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Accusations of impropriety, ill will and oppressive practices have stuck on sweatshops like grimy dirt on a piece of Chinese silk, often clouding the positive contributions of these organizations From the textile factories of China to the grinding mills of India, sweatshops feed and cloth billions of people all over the world, with significant cost savings running into billions of dollars. They provide livelihoods to millions more, giving hope to the impoverished folks who would otherwise find it impossible to find employment.
It cannot be denied however that sweatshops present some negative aspects of employee-employer relationships. Critics aver that sweatshops debase the people working for them, provide low wages and benefits, have poor working conditions, and expose their workers to noxious pollutants (Gini, Alexei & Marcoux, . 2005). True, much needs to be done in order to provide a safe working environment and improve working conditions. However, it must be borne in mind that the relationship between sweatshops and multinational enterprises (MNEs) and sweatshops and workers are mutually forged.
If we must rap MNEs for this situation, then we must smack the suppliers and workers because they are willing parties. The willing buyer-willing seller principle must not be ditched for some non-figurative Kantian tenet (Kant, 1991). After all, morality is subjective. Ultimately, sweatshops are the best exemplification of Porter’s cost advantage model. They cut costs and improve process efficiencies. They cut back on delivery and supply lead times. Critics like to say that sweatshops only benefit the MNE’s for whom they work for.
They conveniently forget that the cheaper products find their way into the homes of billions of people who would be hard pressed to afford substitute products. If MNEs are driven purely by profit motives, it is only because they have a sacrosanct duty to the consumer to provide quality goods at low prices. It would be foolhardy to ignore present day economic realities in favor of some conceptual centuries-old anachronism in the name of ‘Kantian philosophy’ The world must be run as the world is.