Benefits of Sweatshops

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The Benefit of Sweatshops

Robert Gelber

Integrative Seminar 300
Professor Duclos Alegue
April 28th, 2011

Abstract: Many countries, industries and people are becoming more affected by sweatshops in different ways because of they’re continuous increase in growth. Sweatshops benefit many developing countries as they provide opportunities of employment to the people living in poverty and benefit the community at large by creating an economic infrastructure that utilizes the country’s resources and increases their tax base. These institutions first came into existence in the early 1800’s and were referred to as dwelling houses, which were local factories that generally had the same idea of the sweatshop that we have in today’s society. There are major benefits for corporations and third world countries with sweatshops as they bring in huge profits and provide employment for millions of people without a job, which ultimately drive down the unemployment rate. It’s been interesting researching the benefits and disadvantages of sweatshops, as society may very well be better off with them then without these institutions. Keywords: Sweatshops, developing countries, unemployment, tenement houses, exploitation

Sweatshops benefit many developing countries as they provide opportunities of employment to the people living in poverty and benefit the community at large by creating an economic infrastructure that utilizes the country’s resources and increases their tax base. Although sweatshops have often been viewed as negative entities, they actually benefit more than hurt these communities as they provide its workers with an income enabling them to afford life’s basic necessities increase their standard of living and provide an education their children.  Without the employment opportunities these sweatshops provide, many would remain jobless, living in substandard living conditions unable to provide the basic for their families and perpetuating the endless cycle of poverty rampant in these impoverished countries.       The idea of the Sweatshop first began in the early 1800s although the term sweatshop wasn’t part of the English language until the twentieth century. They first appeared around 1820, and referred to a dwelling or a home where clothing was produced (Hapke, 2001).  Sweatshops have been continuously changing since they first came into existence in the early 1800’s and continue to evolve to this day. Today sweatshops are large sized factories in developing countries around the world where clothing is produced on a massive scale everyday and exported around the globe.   The emergence of sweatshops began in New York’s lower east side around the 1820’s where it was referred to as a workplace in a dwelling or home.  The appearance of dwelling houses spread very quickly through this area and it became commonplace for labor to be done at home during this initial period.  In these dwelling houses, work was done according to a sweating system, which became extremely profitable for the upper management in the garment industry (Hapke, 2001). The sweating system required a “sweater,” a middleman who directed workers to produce garments.  The middleman, or subcontractor as we call it today, assigned the employees to do specific task in producing a certain garment.  “Sweating” was the term used to describe the process of producing garments, which was known to be a very difficult job as they frequently worked late nights and long hours.  This term is based on a quota system of subcontracting in which an employer demanded a certain output of work while operating a centralized piece of production (Hapke, 2001).  Workers were paid in a specific fashion according to their output.  In this early stage of  “sweatshops” employees were paid at a piece rate, which meant that for every garment produced, they were paid a significant low wage.  The employees were paid so poorly that they were barely able to support their families from the...
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