For many of the children the choice is simple, either work and eat or go to school and starve. Some of them don't even have the second option.
^The school part, not the starve part.
^ I know thc in some countries that is the case, but also if we didn't willingly buy maybe that would put some pressure on some governments to improve the working conditions especially children working in factories and people working in these sweat shops
THC makes a good point. The west has a history though of looking the other way on lots of things we find ugly in our own countries. its sort of like plausible denial or something along those lines.
I believe international sanctions would not improve living standards in these countries. An unhealthy and unstable government with a crashing economy created by international sanctions cannot provide a substantial minimum wage. It is the opposite. Rather the rich countries investing in, trading with, helping provide infrastructure, ecomomic growth, employment oppurtunities and so on encourage eventual social and political change in that society.
The fact is, these bad conditions would most-likely continue to exist regardless of the Global North. However, economic engagment has actually helped raised living and working conditions in the Asian Tigers: South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Economic engagement would most likely work with other nations in helping them to raise living standards also.
Economic engagement has its flaws, but right now it still seems to me to be the best chance at helping to create economic conditions in the Global South where political and social progress can take place.
^ I hope you are right about that, I don't know, just seems if we stopped accepting the situations there by not buying products it would cause those governments to stop the practice sooner. It's all about money and if they see the way they are doing business is causing a loss they would change. Didn't that work in South Africa with apartheid?
The reality of the situation is that wishful thinking and bare good intentions may not work to help raise living standards in the Global South.
Realistically, the Global North is capable of providing worker's rights due to stable economies and stable government capable of the rule of law. Realistically, the Global South does not have these (although there is rapid development taking place in East Asia). These circumstances need to be made possible for the Global South, and the best way is through trade, offering jobs, investment and the rest. Offering isolationism will not help development- it would stagnate the countries concerned.
The examples of the Asian Tigers are good examples. The Western governments and the Japanese governments are doing what seems best for development there. It is predicted that East Asia will boom with development for one thing. Vietnam (your example) as one of the highest growth rates in the world.
It's sad that our world can't be a 'blessed community'. How ironic to be pouring billions of dollars, every day, on a futile war when the money could be put to so much better use.
larrynelmira- Certainly there are circumstances where sanctioning should be done. Burma's slave labour and oppression (such as in building railways) for example is completely unacceptable.
Child labor wasn't done away with in the United States until progressive crusaders managed to get it outlawed. If it was up the rightwingers, there would still be child labor in the U.S.
The idea that child slave labor is a necessary first step to economic development is simply a myth promoted by people who are sympathtic to child slave labor as an acceptable practice. In truth, it isn't necessary anywhere.
cranky- It's not about promoting child labour. Child labour would be in those countries even if the Global North suddenly slapped on sanctions. It's about creating conditions where child labour can effectively be stopped.
Child labour is not necessary for national development. However, it seems national development has historically been necessary to effectively outlaw child labour. How can a Global South government outlaw it if they are not even stable? Isn't it easier also to offer better pay in a better economic environment? Would economic progress be better made by these countries through involvement in the international economy or isolation from it?
Too many sanctions would backfire and increase poverty. Also, not all regimes respond to pressure. Maybe some kind of selective carrot and stick approach would work.
Voted : I say this in comment Larry
There is a lot of hypocrisy in this arena -- Corporatists who can't get indentured servants here merely look elsewhere ... and we as a Consumer Group too often turn a blind eye to it.
Also: The assertion that [quote:This is OK -- or preferable -- because it keeps them from starving sets up a false dichotomy that these are the only options available.
Something to think about before you go and drop a hundred dollars for a pair of Nikes.
The sad fact is that nations use child labor until they are wealthy enough to no longer need it. Just like they use people to go out in to the field and pick crops rather than machines.
And yes, putting an end to all child labor everywhere would be a disaster and would force millions living on the edge right now in to outright famine.
Voted : I say this in comment Larry
Humankind is stupid, by and large. I've said this for centuries, it seems.
I forgot to add heartless and cruel.
herzog- I disagree, I don't think that child labour is needed for national development. I see it the other way around- that national development is needed in order to get rid of child labour.
I just want to generally add that corporations do not go to the developing world with the intention of helping to develop them. They go for greedy intentions. They are disgusting, and they have the money to pay workers there more money, but they choose not to. That is wicked, and I condemn them. I point out that their selfishness has somewhat helped spark development, but that doesn't mean that that was their intention, nor does it make them good. In fact, development would be even faster if they just chose to find the compassion and humanity within themselves and chose to pay workers in the developing world more, of which they most certainly can afford to do so. They are disgusting and I condemn them.