Foreign Labor Practices – How Much of a Concern?

I had an interesting conversation with my mother the other day about if low wages in other countries could actually be a good thing in some ways. She noted that many of the places that used to have cheap labor now have higher standards of living and earn more money than they used to.

I haven’t done any research to see how true this is, but it’s an interesting thought. I know, though, that a lot of places known for cheap labor and poor protections for their labor still have cheap labor and poor protections. So while it’s an interesting theory, I don’t know how true it is.

It’s not a comfortable idea to me. I don’t like when people are barely earning a living even by their country’s standards, and working under essentially abusive situations. I don’t like it even with the thought that it could, in the long run, improve matters. It’s hard to not want improvement NOW!

Then again, you hear about countries like India, where workers are getting into technology jobs and earning very good money for their area. They’re still cheaper labor for many employers, but now they’re earning good money for where they live. Is it due to a progression that started with poor conditions?

Then again, there’s China. Still notorious for poor working conditions. That’s one area I can think of where so far things don’t seem to have changed all that much.

Personally, I think this arguement comes close to saying the ends justifies the means, and that’s what I don’t like about it. It’s good seeing things improve, but I like to think there are better ways. I’d like to hear what others think of this theory. Hooey, or is there something to it?

Oh, and for those who are wondering, no, my mother is not the kind to say these things are good. She’s very much against unreasonable labor practices. It’s just something that caught her attention and got her wondering.

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One reply

  1. boogiemum says:

    I think that working conditions are relative to the country where the labor is taking place. Yes, the workers may not make as much money as a worker would in the US but if they did than the entire economic balance of their country would be whacked out. I do not ever think that abusive behavior is ok, though. Long hours probably could be scaled back little by little over time or whatever, just like how eventually after years, the wage will probably adjust closer to what it would be in the US. Nothing can happen just overnight, but as technology grows and globalization occurs, I believe things will tend to even out eventually.

    Lastly, I believe it our responsiblity to educate ourselves about what we are buying and where it is being made. The more we support good companies and try to avoid ones who have poor labor practices, then the money we give them will trickle down. We can help change the situation as a consumer. Honestly, I can not say that at this time I am not guilty of supporting poor practiced companies, but I am working on making changes myself a little at a time.

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