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Sweatshops- good or bad?
Transcript of Sweatshops- good or bad?
Sweatshops provide an income that otherwise may not have been available to each individual
Provides Micro and Macroeconomic Growth
Bangladesh has 4,500 garment factories that employ approximately 4 million workers. 77 percent of Bangladeshis live on less than $2 a day. Workers at Bangladeshi “sweatshops” average more than $2 a day.
Poor Working Conditions Pose Health Risks
Sweatshop workers usually work from 60-80 hours per week
Should sweatshops be used by businesses?
A factory or workshop where manual workers are employed at very low wages for long hours and under poor conditions.
Businesses have a Moral Responsibility to their Workers
Because women make up 85-90% of sweatshop workers, employers have been known to force them to take birth control and go through routine pregnancy tests to avoid supporting maternity leave or providing appropriate health benefits.
Nike, H&M, Forever 21, Wal-Mart and JC Penny have all been named as companies who use sweatshop labor
These sweatshops make it possible for products to be sold at lower prices locally and globally
Jobs and infrastructure brought from sweatshops jump starts local economies while supporting the global economy with its products.
Sweatshops improve the standard of living due to the increased incomes of the workers.
Gives opportunities for workers to learn and gain new skills and chances for promotion.
Workers only take a job when it is better than their other alternatives such as scavenging, begging or even prostitution. Something is better than nothing so workers choose to work there.
The lack of sweatshops actually decrease the overall options, opportunities and wages of workers. Taking the sweatshops away actually increases the poverty.
Sweatshops support the process of development. (ex. Great Britain and the US)
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has estimated that 250 million children between the ages of five and fourteen work in developing countries. 61% in Asia, 32% in Africa and 7% in Latin America. Many of these children are forced to work. They are denied an education and a normal childhood.
A study showed that doubling the salary of sweatshop workers would only increase the consumer cost of an item by 1.8%, while consumers would be willing to pay 15% more to know a product did not come from a sweatshop
In 2000, more than 11,000 sweatshops in the U.S. violated the minimum wage and overtime laws, while over 16,000 had broken health and safety laws.
Stefan Spath for The Freeman:
The presence of sweatshops allows a lot of people the ability to feed their family
Some children’s parents cannot work, sweatshop work allows them to eat and provide for their family
Wages are low but better than nothing
Each individual’s income is relatively high compared to other alternatives like agricultural work or begging
Working conditions have been steadily improving
Statistics prove that in some countries education levels have risen while infant mortality has dropped after the addition of sweatshops
Workers are harassed, intimidated, and provided an unhealthy environment to work in
Sexual harassment, corporal punishment, and verbal abuse have been known to be used by superiors to instill fear and keep employees in line
Employees work 10-12 hour shifts a day, overtime is sometimes mandatory
Sometimes workers will only receive pennies a day for their labor
In some cases, employees are only allowed two drinks of water and one bathroom break per shift
(If it weren't for sweatshops) "The poor of these less-developed countries would have fewer opportunities for work and would lose all the other benefits of foreign direct investment, which range from technology transfers to international trade integration. So activists like the Harvard students who believe their protests help the world’s poorest workers actually harm them by pricing them out of the market and denying them the opportunity to develop their skills and economies."
Since the majority of sweatshop workers are women, it can affect the home life of those families and take away from future development in the surrounding homes and communities.
What do you think?
Poor health conditions
Long working hours
Learning new skills
Other possible Alternatives
Ability to provide for family
Working conditions improving
Allows cheap US prices
Opportunity for education
Mental well being