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Service Economy

Concerning the transition to a service economy, the changing nature of work, the precarious nature of low wage service sector jobs, unions, work-family conflicts, Third World versus First World problems) to critically interrogate the ongoing exploitation of children and women in sweatshops throughout the world. In other words, why do they exist (why are they allowed to exist)? What will it take to put an end to such exploitation? To what extent are we, as members of the First World, implicated?

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To me, this topic naturally lends itself to a problem/solution essay if you are allowed to go that direction.

First of all, as you summarize the problem and why do they exist (as well as why are they allowed to exist), sweatshops seem to be used as vehicles to expedite first world's capitalism and greed. Members of the first world, are definitely implicated, in my opinion, since we purchase these products made by cheap labor from workers who are often operating under oppressive conditions.

One article asserts how we are to blame, especially as consumers:

Meyers, C. (2004). Wrongful Beneficence: Exploitation and Third World Sweatshops. Journal Of Social Philosophy, 35(3), 319-333.

Meyers highly criticizes the sweatshop practices in third world countries. He argues that yes, we are to blame since "Much of the merchandise produced by U.S. companies and sold to U.S. consumers is manufactured by workers in third world countries who earn as little as 12 cents per hour drudging away in harsh and even dangerous work environments. Such workplaces are referred to as sweatshops and are especially common in the apparel and shoe industries and in toy making" (319).

Myers also relates how physical harm is often imposed and at risk for these workers, which strongly violates their basic human rights. The article also articulates how "Moral objections are aimed at certain sweatshop practices such as coercion, unsafe working conditions, deception, paying workers less than promised, etc" (319).

The article further shows that there is a paradigm that instills the exploitation since many cases involve "some kind of deception, or at least manipulation, and typically involve some loss or detriment to the exploited, a harm or a violation of rights" (319).

This article also emphasizes how the issue of sweatshops encompasses the notion of beneficent exploitation or the notion that " it is possible for someone to be wrongly exploited even if that person benefits from the exploitation and even if the person prefers the exploitation over all other options" (320).

Senser also agrees that we are responsible in the modern world from the article:

Senser, R. A. (1997). To end sweatshops. Commonweal, 124(13), 14.

Senser suggest, "Because the goods purchased in one ...

Solution Summary

The transition to a service economy is researched in the context of women in sweatshops throughout the world. References are integrated.