Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sweat Shops, Better than the Alternatives?

Now Grace Kelly has joined the Ethics band wagon with a different spin.  MPP Fatal Flaw of Removed Decision Making  In essence she is saying that Apple and other corporations are knowingly and willingly perpetuating unsafe, toxic, etc factories overseas in the name of making a profit.  And my interpretation is that she thinks we should do something about that.  I wanted to share the following story with her, however we know how well that went...

My MBA Ethics Professor at the University of St Thomas told us a story about his first experiences with overseas factories.  He said that being a modern American he shared many of Grace's idealistic opinions before touring plants in different countries in South East Asia during the late 1970's.  He had a vision that the children should be free to go to school until they were 18.  He believed the workers should have good, clean and safe world class factories.  He believed they should be working ~40 hours per week. And on and on.  He said he was looking at it from his "dumb" American perspective.

Then during his tour he had the opportunity to see just how naive he was being.  These people were in severe poverty and were incredibly happy to have the opportunity to work in these "terrible places".  One particular benefit he said was that previously poor rural families with no work had often been forced to sell their daughters into the sex trade in order to keep the other family members fed.  Whereas now there were jobs where they could make a modest living based on local standards.

He carried that new more realistic perspective with him from then on.  It didn't mean that global companies should close their eyes and ignore problems.  However it did mean that Rome was not built in a day.  These global companies with higher standards could stop buying and influencing change in 3rd world countries, however where would that leave the citizens of those countries?

The reality is that us Americans are so very fortunate, and many others live a much darker existence.  It does not mean we stop trying to improve things, however it would be smart to be face the situation eyes wide open.

Remember that the path to hell is paved with good intentions.  Where would China have been if they hadn't experienced their "industrial boom" and it's problems.  Who's money do you think is funding the improvements they are starting to implement?  Remember that America had to go through the same stages of development...  Thoughts?

BI Apple to Audit Pegatrong
(wonder which China based corps conduct audits?)
G2A The Decent Wage
G2A Chinese Factories, Foxconn and Apple
G2A Business, Government or Citizen Control

For a more "out there" Grace post, check this one out.
MPP Bomb Syria or BP for Chemical Attacks


jerrye92002 said...

The only real shortage in the world, the one keeping people poor, is a shortage of capitalism.

John said...

I also think an excess of corruption is also a problem in the third world countries.

Thomas Friedman expressed some very good concepts in the Lexus and the Olive Tree, and The World is Flat. Here is one gentleman's summary of Lexus.

Lexus Summary

John said...

Notre Dame The Global Market Place and the Common Good

This looks really interesting, I'll have to finish watching it later.