Are Sweatshops Good or Bad in General?
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Few people in the United States think about working conditions in underdeveloped countries. Sweatshops are factories where people work in danger for a huge number of hours and get humiliation instead of a decent salary. Although some people may argue that sweatshops give people a chance to earn at least some money, they have more disadvantages than advantages.
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First of all, a sweatshop cannot be good because of poor working conditions. Sometimes these conditions are so poor that they harm an employee’s health. For example, people often produce clothes and shoes in sweatshops. To produce these goods, workers have to work with glue, fur, and even paint. Thus, they breathe in impure air, and it can lead to the problems with lungs, and with a person’s health in general because contaminated air poisons the whole body. However, it appears that health problems are not the most dangerous effect of working in a sweatshop. Sweatshops prepare more surprises for their workers. For example, some of them may burn their hands or even lose fingers because they have to work with dangerously unsafe machinery. According to the research, “Near Hong Kong, factory workers lose or break about 40, 000 fingers on the job every year” (Barboza). It is not only a frightening statistic, but these are injuries of thousands of people. Unfortunately, a burn or a lost finger is not the worst things that may happen to a sweatshop worker. A person may even die there because sweatshops are often situated in cheap old buildings that may just ruin one day.
Working in a sweatshop is also disadvantageous because people never receive fair wages there. Although, some people may argue that those wages seem satisfying for people who work there. Of cours, sweatshops are peculiar to underdeveloped countries. In these countries, unemployment rates are extremely high, and a sweatshop is probably one of the few places that offer a job. Thus, people agree to work in such conditions to earn at least something. Nevertheless, a big number of people who agree to receive little money will never make employers increase wages. If everyone refused to work there, employers would have to change something. Otherwise, their businesses would fail. Sweatshops with their low wages have a negative impact on people’s lives. People who work in sweatshops cannot afford buying enough food and qualitative clothes not to mention hobbies, education, entertainment, and supporting their families. According to the statistics, “In some parts of China, minimum wage is about 55 cents an hour” (Barboza). It is clear that the United States and China have different live standards, and while this wage is miniscule for the life in America, it is not so awful for the life in China. Nevertheless, people who earn so little money are extremely poor even in China.
Sweatshops are not only bad for people who work there, but the bad influence also spreads on their families. People have to spend there about twelve hours a day, so there is almost no time left for their families. For example, a woman works in one of the sweatshops and it takes her about an hour to get there. Thus, she wakes up at 6 a.m. and starts working at 8 a.m. Of course, she gets very tired during the working day. She comes home at about 9 p.m. and has less than three hours of free time. Taking into account that she will cook dinner for her children, she is lucky if she will have enough strength to at least take a shower. Thus, this woman has no personal life; she just works instead. If her children are little, they will probably be already asleep when she comes home. As a result, children do not see their mother for days; they miss her. Moreover, she has no time to teach them something, or to ask about their grades and school attendance. It is possible that lack of attention will have a negative effect on these children’s future. Thus, unreasonable working hours make suffer not only workers, but their families, as well.
Although it is a pity that there are children who do not see their mothers often, some children suffer even more of sweatshops because they work there. One of the journalists met such child, “Meem is 9 years old and works as a sewing helper in a garment factory” (Aulakh). Sweatshops encourage child labor, and it is not right. Children should have a childhood. They should not work, but they should play, go for a walk with their friends, make homework, in other words, they should develop. Children are not ready to do the things that even adults should not do. If sweatshops harm adults’ health so much, then it is scary to imagine what those working conditions will do to a child’s organism. Not only a child’s physical, but also a child’s emotional state is in danger. It is clear that working in a sweatshop is not a variant of a happy childhood. Thus, a child may have psychological problems in the future. A kind of this future is also worth mentioning. A child who gets used to earning money is unlikely to receive an education. Moreover, work requires time, so this child misses the school. As a result, he or she will not even get some basic knowledge. The time will pass, and it will be more and more difficult to return to studying. One day this child will wake up and realize that he or she will be working in a sweatshop for the whole life.
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