The Upton Sinclair of today's global economy is Charles Kernaghan, the New York based muckraker most famous for his expose of sweatshops producing the Kathie Lee Gifford line of clothing for Wal-Mart.... The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights... has been a leader in exposing sweatshops, mounting corporate campaigns, and fighting for the rights of vulnerable workers.
I loved protesting against sweatshops. Now that they are gone I won't have much to do or talk about with my friends. Maybe we'll start protesting against something else now. I thinking the war in Iraq would be a good starting point, or maybe even world hunger and AIDS, you know stuff like that.
Adolescence was invented in the 19th century to enable middle-class families to keep their children out of sweatshops. But it has degenerated into a process of enforced boredom and age segregation that has produced one of the most destructive social arrangements in human history: consigning 13-year-old males to learning from 15-year-old males.
The new fashions sold in department stores had thrown skilled American seamstresses out of work, you see. They'd been displaced by immigrant girls doing piecework for a pittance in terrible sweatshops. I refused to patronize a garment industry that exploited its desperately poor workers so heartlessly. And if that wasn't enough to keep me out of stores, there was this as well: I was determined to resist that shameless sister of war propaganda- the advertising industry.
Mary Doria Russell
Most people no longer believe that buying sneakers made in Asian sweatshops is a kindness to those child laborers. Farming is similar. In every country on earth, the most human scenario for farmers is likely to be feeding those who live nearby-if international markets would allow them to do it. Food transport has become a bizarre and profitable economic equation that's no longer really about feeding anyone ... If you care about farmers, let the potatoes stay home.
Synthetic Worlds is a surprisingly profound book about the social, political, and economic issues arising from the emergence of vast multiplayer games on the Internet. What Castronova has realized is that these games, where players contribute considerable labor in exchange for things they value, are not merely like real economies, they are real economies, displaying inflation, fraud, Chinese sweatshops, and some surprising in-game innovations.
I have visited sweatshops, factories, and crowded slums. If I could not see it, I could smell it. The foundation of society is laid upon a basis of . . . individualism, conquest and exploitation . . . A social order such as this, built upon such wrong and basic principles, is bound to retard the development of all. The output of a cotton mill or a coal mine is considered of greater importance than the production of healthy, happy-hearted and free human beings. We, the people, are not free. Our democracy is but a name.
Our lack of community is intensely painful. A TV talk show is not community. A couple of hours in a church pew each Sabbath is not community. A multinational corporation is neither a human nor a community, and in the sweatshops, defiled agribusiness fields, genetic mutation labs, ecological dead zones, the inhumanity is showing. Without genuine spiritual community, life becomes a struggle so lonely and grim that even Hillary Clinton has admitted "it takes a village".
David James Duncan
Kids don't have a little brother working in the coal mine, they don't have a little sister coughing her lungs out in the looms of the big mill towns of the Northeast. Why? Because we organized; we broke the back of the sweatshops in this country; we have child labor laws. Those were not benevolent gifts from enlightened management. They were fought for, they were bled for, they were died for by working people, by people like us. Kids ought to know that. That's why I sing these songs. That's why I tell these stories, dammit. No root, no fruit!
The sooner we associate long hours and multitasking with incompetence and carelessness the better. The next time you hear boasts of executives pulling an all-nighter or holding conference calls in their cars, be sure to offer your condolences; it's grim being stuck in sweatshops run by managers too ignorant to understand productivity and risk. Working people like this is as smart as running your factory without maintenance. In manufacturing and engineering businesses, everyone learns that the top priority is asset integrity: protecting the machinery on which the business depends. In knowledge-based economies, that machinery is the mind.
They" hate us because they feel-and "they" are not wrong-that it is within our power to do so much more, and that we practice a kind of passive-aggressive violence on the Third World. We do this by, for example, demonizing tobacco as poison here while promoting cigarettes in Asia; inflating produce prices by paying farmers not to grow food as millions go hungry worldwide; skimping on quality and then imposing tariffs on foreign products made better or cheaper than our own; padding corporate profits through Third World sweatshops; letting drug companies stand by as millions die of AIDS in Africa to keep prices up on lifesaving drugs; and on and on. We do, upon reaching a very high comfort level, mostly choose to go from ten to eleven instead of helping another guy far away go from zero to one. We even do it in our own country. Barbara Ehrenreich's brilliant book Nickel and Dimed describes the impossibility of living with dignity or comfort as one of the millions of minimum-wage workers in fast food, aisle-stocking and table-waiting jobs. Their labor for next to nothing ensures that well-off people can be a little more pampered. So if we do it to our own, what chance do foreigners have?