On Sweatshops

A very simple thought experiment should demonstrate the absurdity in the belief that so-called “sweatshops” are evil. Imagine for a moment the likely outcome of any given sweatshop, anywhere in the world, being closed down. Every worker in that sweatshop would immediately be unemployed and looking for new work. At some point, no doubt, they will find another job, but will it be as good as the one they just had? Not likely. Had the sweatshop not been meeting their needs as well as alternatives, they would have sooner or later left the sweatshop for greener pastures. That greener pastures were not available is compelling evidence to conclude that sweatshops are not evil, but good. Without wealthier countries willing and able to “exploit” poorer workers by offering jobs in sweatshops, those workers would never have the opportunity to “trade up” their lot in life, and cumulatively grow their economies out of poverty over time and toward First World status. Decrying sweatshops is the true evil. And that’s today’s two cents.

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.

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