Re “Where Sweatshops Are a Dream” (column, Jan. 15):
Nicholas D. Kristof is absolutely right. Sweatshops are much better than a sharp stick in the eye. But when jobs aren’t a pathway out of poverty, they create an asymmetric, unsustainable global economy of producer countries and consumer countries that can stand on its head only so long.
In fact, the sweatshop workers of China were the canary in the coal mine, the starting point in a vicious circle that has impoverished us all.
A managerial ethos that tolerates the exploitation of workers in sweatshops won’t hesitate to exploit consumers with deceptive mortgages and melamine-tainted milk and, finally, bilk investors with bogus “securities.”
The neoliberal daydream of sweatshops leading inevitably to a prosperous future has brought us to our current global nightmare. It’s time to wake up. An injury to one is truly an injury to all.
15, 2009The writer is the founder and chief executive of No Sweat Apparel, producer of union-made clothing and sneakers in the United States, Canada and the developing world.