Monday, November 26, 2007

In Praise of Sweatshops

New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India

Rodrik asks the right questions;
An embarrassed Con Edison says that it is now rewriting its international contracts to include safety requirements.

Fine, but what if these requirements now raise the cost sufficiently for the utility to want to switch its supplies to another source? And what if these West Bengali workers now find themselves out of a job, or earning less in even worse working environments? Would we have we done them any favors by becoming outraged at their condition?

This is one of the trickiest issues in international trade, and one for which there is no straightforward answer that I can think of.

Labor Group Says St. Patrick’s Sells Sweatshop Goods
A workers’ rights group yesterday accused St. Patrick’s Cathedral of selling religious items made under terrible conditions in sweatshop factories in China.

The capitalist communist
How a poetic Marxist has transformed business prospects in West Bengal

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