Thursday, January 22, 2009

On the Kristof post

When we discussed in class the post 'Where Sweatshops are a Dream' some, most notably Achileas V., voiced objections to what NK was suggesting. My main argument in support of NK was that it is perhaps the only realistic perspective within the actual constraints these countries face.

That same evening I tumbled upon a much more critical comment to the post: 'Recycling Free Market Myths' from
Kristof, in a time when the rich are richer than ever and the U.S. government can find trillions of dollars to bail out the big banks, wants us to believe that the best the world's poor can expect is a chance for a sweatshop to open up in the neighborhood. In his sick version of reality, the labor movement, those who seek better wages, benefits and working conditions for the people who produce this wealth, is portrayed not as a champion of the poor but as an obstacle in their way.
I don't think the solution proposed in this article has any merit whatsoever (try to think why) and in my opinion NK does not want us to believe anything - he just exposes a (sad) reality. Also, the labor movement the critic is referring to is that in the US and one could easily find instances where the true -unstated- goal is only to prevent imports from developing countries to protect the interests (jobs) of US workers, something NK explicitly mentions in his post. Even if we disagree it's still interesting to read!

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