Letter To the Editor:
Having read opinion writer’s Michael Lauck’s screeds for the past few months, it is my view that he seems to not be fazed by the fact that the world is not just an ongoing battle between free market advocates and uninformed “others.” He seems in fact to also forget the principle of reality: that there are consequences for one’s actions.
In that vein, I beg to differ with him that sweatshops are merely unfortunate products of a sometimes cruel free market; they are in fact abusive and dangerous environments that threaten the health and safety of workers.
The book “Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor,” for example, discusses numerous cases where workers in various developing countries were exposed to dangerous chemicals that eventually resulted in cancer and leukemia. Reports about sweatshops, like Olivia Given’s and Mary Rose Fernandez’s, reveal that workers are regularly threatened, bullied, have their wages withheld, have sexual favors asked of them and occasionally even murdered.
To conclude, sweatshops are without doubt modern day slavery. Their reprehensible conditions should not be allowed, much less defended, anywhere at any time even if in the name of the free market.
James M. Russell