Causes and Consequences of Sweat Shop Labor in Post Mao Era

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Causes and Consequences of Sweat Shop Labor in Post Mao China Hyun Jung Kim and Khalil Campbell

The film China Blue presented to us several key perspectives in post-Mao China. These perspectives shined a light on the Chinese people as they transitioned from farm-life to an oriented urban manufacturing lifestyle. First, the policies and developmental strategies in China’s economic reform that led to the poor sweat-shop conditions encountered by the migrant workers in coastal China? Lastly, the implications of cheap sweat-shop labor in China for the rest of the world, particularly the U.S. Deng Xiaoping persevered many goals during his rise in the post-Mao period; 3 of these goals in particular set the stage for sweatshops. “The structural reform period began on a high note with Deng Xiaoping’s visit to the U.S in January, 1979, immediately after diplomatic relations were established on the first of the year.” His goals involved reducing the trade barriers by creating an “open door policy” to allow for foreign investments. “Deng Xiaoping set economic targets measured by income per person. One way to get there was fewer persons. So, on Sept. 25, 1980, the one-child policy ceased to be voluntary. Parents who didn’t comply could lose their jobs; they faced hefty fines and penalties.” Lastly, decollectivization in the rural areas of China had detrimental impacts both social and economically. The rural collectives, or communes were disbanded. The households could not sustain there living expenses due to a decrease in agricultural production and an increase in expenditures, both household and production. The three aforementioned policies could be viewed as the catalysts to the birth of sweat-shops across China. Along with the loose labor laws and an increase in privatized companies, sweat-shops grew at a rapid rate as more and more foreign investors traded with factory owners in China. A great example of the impact of these policies is Orchid. She was left...
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