The Instigator
Royal_Flush
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
Unitomic
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

Closing Sweatshops will do More Harm Than Good

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
Unitomic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,823 times Debate No: 70315
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (7)

 

Royal_Flush

Pro

To elaborate on the title I am referring to the workers in said sweatshops. First round is acceptance only.
Unitomic

Con

I Accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Royal_Flush

Pro

Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, once said "why does the image of an Indonesian sewing sneakers for 60 cents an hour evoke so much more feeling than the image of another Indonesian earning the equivalent of 30 cents an hour trying to feed his family on a tiny plot of land". (1) What Krugman is saying here is that without sweatshops people in countries with low average incomes, such as Indonesia as Krugman stated, would be worse off. For example, in Bangladesh 77% of Bangladeshis earn less than $2.00 a day, yet sweatshops average more than $2.00 a day there. (2) This is the same in other countries with sweatshops. In fact, an article by the New York Times revealed how many people in Cambodia would rather work in sweatshops than in rural jobs. (3) If sweatshops were to be closed people would have to be working worse jobs, or else they wouldn't be working there in the first place. This is one of the main reasons that people in first world countries don't work in sweatshops, there are better alternatives.

Of course, today's first world countries haven't always been free of sweatshops. For example, after the Korean War South Korea was left in ruins. (4) As a result, South Korea began using a lot of sweatshop and now South Korea has a strong economy, international companies such as Hyundai and Samsung, and is often noted for having one of the best education systems in the world. However, if South Korea (along with every first world country whether it's the US back in the 1800s or Singapore in the 1960s) never had sweatshops it wouldn't have reached where it is today. The reason for this, is when wealthy people (nowadays, usually foreigners) invest in sweatshops, capital and new technologies are brought in. (5) This can lead to more people becoming wealthy and educated, so soon better jobs and wages takeover and the people are more successful.

1-http://www.slate.com...
2-http://www.forbes.com...
3-http://www.nytimes.com...
4-http://mainecampus.com...
5-http://www.independent.org...
Unitomic

Con

My responses will not be up to par with the kind of quality I normally aim for. This is due to me being occupied with the weather, and not havig time to deal with this until just now.

Premise: What is a Sweatshop?
A sweatshop isn't only about the wage, it is a workshop that imploys socially unaccaptible working conditions. This includes incredibly long hours and minimal (if any) safety procedures. {1}

Rebuttal: Firstly, Pro uses a false dichotomy {2}, in implying that you either oppose $0.60 sweetshops and accept $0.30 farmers, or you accept $0.60 sweetshops. You should oppose both. And as I pointed out in the definition, it isn't all about the pay. Pro neglects to mention that sweatshops are abusive environments, as my first source shows. Pro then misrepresents what that quote meant... He isn't saying that sweatshops are good. He is saying we need to focus on all of the issues facing the working poor in the region. Pro goes on trying to say that S. Korea somehow justifies immoral treatment of workers because they have a strong economy today. It does not justify such action. Firstly, as economy is incredibly complicated, pro has to prove that sweatshops led to economic prosperity, as opposed to other factors such as international trade and military spending. In particular their success isn't from sweatshops, but rather from government policies that are made to promote economy. {3} Until then, his claim is simply false causation {4}. Other claims are pure false causation anyhow, such as saying that sweatshops led to higher education, when in fact it was government spending and efficiency of the school system.

Case: If we allow ourselves to fall into a mentality where we just say "Hey, it's better then it could be", then we suddenly become trapped. We begin to accept anything, because 30 cents are better then nothing. But in truth, we must always look to better ourselves and the situations of others. Pro seems to assume that by closing sweatships, you hurt these people. In truth, you hurt them more by allowing them to be used like this. By allowing them to work in abusive conditions, we actually decrease the chance of them looking for a better job (especially since abuse tends to lead to lower self-esteem, which hurts chances at improvement). {5} Pro actually points out the First Worlders don't work in sweatshops because there are alternatives, but also, because there are laws against that kind of treatement. Pro believes that there are only two options here. Either we allow abusive sweatshops, or we allow these people to starve (which they already do at 60 cents an hour). Pro ignores the possibility of a third option: Shutting down abusive sweatshops due to inhumane treatment, and supporting the creations of shops that abide by carefully maintained laws on treatment of the workers. But now my strongest argument: If we allow such treatment, then there is no guarentee that they will ever improve. Instead of seeing a future where every worker has the treatment they deserve, we will see a future where many are still abused and underpayed, because we never fought them.

1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
3] https://faculty.washington.edu...
4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
5] http://www.asca.org.au...
Debate Round No. 2
Royal_Flush

Pro

First, I'll address the premise. The definition Con stated is true and I'd like to add (from the same source), "The work may be difficult, dangerous or be paid a wage that is not commensurate" and also that it often ignores factors (usually due to laws not preventing it) child labour laws and/or minimum wage. I'll reference this definition again later.

Now to address Con's rebuttal. Yes, there were many factors that led to South Korea's economic growth, but sweatshops were undoubtedly a large one. In fact, every industrialized country had to rely on sweatshops to some level to grow. Unless an undeveloped country has a lot of natural resources (which countries like South Korea and Singapore don't), then the only thing they have to offer is cheap labour. (1) As already discussed sweatshops do offer more incomes to people in developing countries than the alternatives in these countries. Like Con mentioned, government policies that promote economy often lead to growth. However, in countries with little to offer (like mentioned above) that will always include making it a sweatshop friendly environment. For example, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan began producing things such as toys and shoes in sweatshops. (2) With so many people being employed in these sweatshops these countries saw their personal incomes grow to 10-40% of American incomes. (2) Con also mentions how sweatshops don't lead to better education, but with higher incomes there is more money for the government to put into it. Not to mention, kids are less likely to drop out of school if they aren't as desperate to get jobs. This is why so many economists, such as Paul Krugman of MIT and and Jeffery D. Sachs of Harvard see sweatshops as stepping stones to economic success. (2) Con also mentions how I don't address the bad working conditions. For example, child labour laws are violated in many of these. However, in many countries education isn't even an option. (2) Also, the conditions in these countries are often worse outside the sweatshops. (3) On top of all this, as mentioned numerous times the wages are better in these sweatshops than the local alternatives.

Con begins his case by saying not fighting against sweatshops is merely accepting things just because they're better. However, that is just completely untrue. Like mentioned above, sweatshops were what opened up the opportunities for countries such as Taiwan to see large economic growth, leading to better opportunities for future generations. Con also references how low self esteem could lead to less chance at future employment, but it is worth mentioning that the citation he provided relied on an experiment from Americans. It is a completely different environment in the US than in these developing nations. Therefore, the experiment is more or less unreliable, as future employment is much different to a someone coming out of a sweatshop and one coming out of an American school. The facts are is that sweatshops are still undoubtedly the best options in these in most cases countries for these children and with more wealth in the nation better opportunities open up. (2) Pro suggests as an alternative to sweatshops that we shutdown sweatshops that are inhumane and are better to its workers. That would be hard enough to implement and potentially prevent foreign companies from even wanting to use labour in these countries (as mentioned earlier, this is often all these countries have to offer). As Paul Krugman mentions all these people owners want is to make a profit. (2) Especially if things such as minimum wage are being implemented. Same thing if countries try to implement safer jobs. In order to do that, it will make it harder to run a factory/workshop, so it is still easier for countries to leave. Same thing if work hours are implemented, less time in the factories, less productivity for businesses. Finally, Con mentions that if sweatshops aren't shutdown things may never get better. However, that simply goes against the facts and logic. The facts are is that developing nations are seeing their countries becoming wealthier and healthier, especially the ones with lots of sweatshops. (4) Logically it makes no sense, because more wealth in these countries opens up more opportunities. With more opportunities, more people will become educated and have access to better jobs.

1-http://www.slate.com...
2-http://www.nytimes.com...
3-http://www.nytimes.com...;
4-http://www.gapminder.org...
Unitomic

Con

Counter-Case:

Firstly, Pro makes the case that sweatshops were “undoubtedly” a major large factor in S. Korea's growth. The problem is that he fails to substantiate it with any facts or source, and unfortunately we don’t accept facts simply because one man said it was “undoubtedly”. Pro must either present sources that say S. Korea's growth was largely impacted (in a positive light) by sweatshops, or at the least he must present a reason to assume they were a positive force. Pro says that all these countries have is low wages. I interject to point out that this again ignores that sweatshops aren’t simply low wages, but unethical treatment of the workers as well. Yes sweatshops may provide better wages than some alternatives, but this is a false dilemma, that we must accept one or the other, instead of the third option of providing better alternatives. He also fails to provide proof that policy policies alway (or even have to) provide sweatshop friendly environments.


Pro goes on to mention the benefits of “increased wage”, ignoring that low wage is a centerpiece of what makes a sweatshop a sweatshop. The two are contradictory. The increase in wage that these people saw would have come from social policies that fight against sweatshops, as I shown with the source in the prior round discussing S. Korea’s economic growth coming from Government policies. And in fact, Pro completely fails to provide any proper source for how sweatshops were responsible for the increase in income, instead he provides an opinion piece about the opinions of others, without any actual facts or hard evidence. And relying on an opinion is appeal to authority, and therefore null, despite the source. I can show that other economists are against sweatshops, so that counters his appeal to authority. The difference is that mine includes economic arguments, not just opinion {6} Pro presents a complete red herring. The fact that most of these countries don’t provide proper education has no meaning to whether a sweatshop should be closed. Pro also points out that many sweatshops break child labor laws, the fact that he supports keeping them open suggests that he considers breach of child laws acceptable because he thinks they have some benefit economically that can’t be matched by proper treatment of workers and proper wages. Pro ends this paragraph by trying to say that things are worse outside the sweatshop, which means absolutely nothing. It in no way shows why sweatshops should be kept open. It is a complete red herring. And the fact that other places have lower wages mean absolutely nothing, because again, it is a false dilemma. Instead of just accepting sweatshops, we should say no to all work environments which provide horrible wages {7}.


Con starts his next paragraph by trying to say they opened up opportunities. As I’ve sourced before, it was government policy against sweatshops that build opportunities, not the sweatshops themselves. The sweatshops closed opportunities by giving the workers too little money to properly advance the economy. The source I presented about low self-esteem works just as much anywhere. Low self-esteem is low self-esteem. Unless of course Pro can give a better explanation than “US isn’t them” Again Pro relies on trying to say that we should accept it only because it is the best option, yet again refusing to acknowledge that the true best option is government policies and investments that provide jobs that pay higher. Pro attempts to claim that companies won’t want to use these countries is they shut down unfair treatment. Pro is basically saying that these countries should let their businesses use their citizens like trash just so they get American business. What Pro fails to remember is that the only nations he has mentioned are doing well despite having far better treatment of their workers. Again, due to policies which did not create sweatshop friendly environments, as my source in the last round pointed out. Yes these companies want to make a profit, the problem is they are willing to do make that profit over the corpses of mistreated workers, which Pro is quite happy with.


Most of Pros remaining arguments are built around trying to justify horribly conditions by saying it makes the work cheap, and thus provides profit. However higher minimum wage increases the ability to purchase, which allows inhouse economy. Pro is so concerned about them having an economy built around making things for other nations, he fails to see that true economic success is measured by their people’s situation, now ours. They are not safe building an economy based around making us things. They are safe building an economy based on internal sales and consumerism. This only exists when the workers are paid fair wage. And unfair wage is a central part of what makes a sweatshop a sweatshop. Increased safety is simply a right which we shouldn’t sell for cheap labour, and longer work hours hurt productivity. {8/9} Pro ends his arguments by trying to explain that it’s against logic that sweatshops hurt the economy, however I have shown that it is not against logic. He doesn’t explain how sweatshops help, except for a link which doesn’t even relate. For those who didn’t look at it, it presented a chart showing the correlation between income and life expectancy. Even if it did mention sweatshops, if it is simply a chart without any explanations, then it is cause and correlation (and correlation does not equal causation). {10} His finishing claim that it isn’t logical is based in false causation. Because sweatshops used to exist, and those nations are better today, doesn’t mean that sweatshops caused the better economy. As I have explained, it is because these nations worked against sweatshops that they got better. Essentially to sum up Pro’s entire case, we should allow our companies to walk all over them, because it makes our things cheaper to buy.


==Unitomic==



6] http://www.benjaminwpowell.com...

7] http://www.academia.edu...

8] http://cs.stanford.edu...

9] http://oem.bmj.com...

10] http://rationalwiki.org...

Debate Round No. 3
Royal_Flush

Pro

Royal_Flush forfeited this round.
Unitomic

Con

Pro has forfieted, my arguments are extended. I reiterate my point that accepting sweatshops is selling the welfare and respect of the citizens to corporations. There are other forms of economy besides an export based economy. An internal consumer base is more valuable then an external consumer base.

Vote Con.

==Unitomic==
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Unitomic 1 year ago
Unitomic
I should point out that when I say programs to counter sweatshops, that implies a long-term closing of sweatshops, rather then an immediate shutting down of shops. I don't know if that is relevant anymore, but I still felt the need to point it out.
Posted by Ragnar 1 year ago
Ragnar
I was asked to vote on this one, but I've been studying sweat shops in university a little bit too much recently (even had to give a presentation on the history of them); I don't feel that at this time I can wholly separate the arguments and rebuttals, from my educated opinions on the issue.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
""used as a function word to indicate an alternative <coffee or tea> <sink or swim>, the equivalent or substitutive character of two words or phrases <lessen or abate>, or approximation or uncertainty <in five or six days>"

http://i.word.com...
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
Or would mean that pro only has to meet one side of the definition. It would be like if I started a debate that said I ate an apple or an orange this morning. I wouldn't have to prove both, only one. At the beginning of round 3, you can see pro contested the definition, and then in round 4, con dropped that contested remark of "or". Look at the first paragraph of round 3, where it is contested and show me one spot where con responded to that contested point?
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
Wylted. The word OR doesn't mean you can nitpick the half you like from the definition and exclude the other. Both halves are equally valid. Low Wages OR Unacceptable Conditions. Both can be hit upon.

Secondly, the definition says "...a workshop that employs socially unacceptable working conditions...." Or isn't there. So while low wages might be justified, the other half of the definition is also valid and MUST be taken into account. Learn how the word 'or' works. Here, it's an inclusive term, not an exclusive term. It means the other half is valid, not that it removes the "unacceptable conditions" half from the definition as you'd like.

That being said, the meaning of the word "or" here simply implies "and/or"... That both can exist. It'd be entirely stupid to think that the term 'or' here means only one or the other... However, to accept your idea of the definition, a factory that has BOTH poor working conditions and low wages isn't a sweatshop, because it'd have to be one 'or' the other.

Also, Con flat out accepted Pro's definition, which listed only socially unacceptable conditions. This can mean poor wages, conditions, or health risk, or any combination of them. The additional part of the definition given by Con uses 'or' as an 'and/or', as prior said, you're version of 'or" doesn't reasonable fit the context.

That being said, even by your idea of Sweatshops, which assumes "or" means "one or the other," Unit's arguments are directed towards shops with poor working environments, which is a valid part of the definition, and therefore are accepted. He need only prove closing one type of sweatshop isn't bad to win.

============

That all said... Just because the definition said "or" doesn't mean YOU'RE definition can exclude the half at the end of the definition that doesn't help Pro win. Because the way you nitpick at the Definition and misrepresent the type of 'or' in use, it seems you want Pro to win.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
I'm not saying, my vote isn't wrong. I get a lot of stuff wrong. My vote hinges on that definition and I can't see how I'm interpreting it wrong.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
"Sweatshop (or sweat factory) is a pejorative term for a workplace that has socially unacceptable working conditions. The work may be difficult, dangerous or be paid a wage that is not commensurate. Workers in 'sweatshops' may work long hours for low pay, regardless of laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage; child labor laws may also be violated."

That is the definition from the source con used and after and before low wage it uses the word or.

I'll zoom in. "Or be paid a wage that is not commensurate"

Pro actually pointed out that con's definition used the word "or". Had con used a definition you provided, it would be a clear win for him.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
DK, pro copy and pasted the definition that con cited. The definition included. The word low wages and sounded like the word or was attached to the other things the definition mentions. The word or was used between each term.

Check out the first paragraph at the beginning of round 3. It is directly quoted from con's definition. Pro did seem like he was using a slightly abusive definition of sweatshop but he did point to the part in cons definition that used the word "or". It said "low wage or". So it seemed that low wage could be a stand alone definition or anything else mentioned in the list after that could all be considered stand alone definitions as well.

If I'm wrong I'll concede I'm wrong but my mistake has yet to be adequately pointed out.
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
Wylted. You don't determine the definition. Pro and Con do. Con gave a sourced definition, and Pro agreed to it. You should know better then that. You vote based only on what is in the debate. If the definition in the debate is "A sweatshop isn't only about the wage, it is a workshop that employs socially unaccaptible working conditions. This includes incredibly long hours and minimal (if any) safety procedures." then THAT is the definition you must use. Period. Redefining the word like you did is an excuse to vote for who you wanted to and not for who really won based on the criteria set in the debate.

Sweatshop: workplace in which workers are employed at low wages and under unhealthy or oppressive conditions. - Encyclopedia Britainica.

Sweatshop: a shop employing workers at low wages, for long hours, and under poor conditions. -Dictionary.com

Sweatshop: A factory or workshop, especially in the clothing industry, where manual workers are employed at very low wages for long hours and under poor conditions. - Oxford Dictionary

Sweatshop: Business establishment that makes its employees work under harsh and often hazardous conditions, and pays only minimal or survival wages. - Business Dictionary

Sweatshop: a small factory where workers are paid very little and work many hours under bad conditions - Cambridge Dictionary

So there. Even your definition is crap. If we could just make up our own definitions to use, regardless of what the debaters agreed on, voting and debating would be pointless.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
The definition of sweatshop at bare minimum is cheap labor, you have to work with that definition. Even the definition con cited shows that cheap labor is sufficient to call it a sweat shop, and I think pro showed that cheap labor is better than no factory jobs at all.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Robert_Weiler 1 year ago
Robert_Weiler
Royal_FlushUnitomicTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Although I disagreed with Pro's sources' conclusions, that doesn't make them unreliable per se, and he used them to validate many, but not all of his points. Con did a better job using the sources, but it is reliability, not relation to the argument we have to judge on. Conduct to Con because Pro ff'd the final round. Arguments to Con, as he pointed out the faulty logic of Pro on the alternatives to sweatshops.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Royal_FlushUnitomicTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Generally, I think Pro put too many of his eggs in one basket without giving them the necessary support. Pro needed to show that a) external investment is necessary for the growth of a country, and b) that investment only arrives in the form of sweat shops in order to reach his conclusions. He never gets there, instead assuming both of these things. I actually found the idea that external investment is necessary for a country to succeed rather insulting, not to mention imperialistic in a way, but that wasn't really mentioned. Con effectively shows that sweatshops cause quite a few harms, which at the very least balance out available benefits, and then opts to just move beyond the sweatshop phase into the becoming a better country phase. It sounds a bit overly ideal to me, but Pro doesn't challenge it effectively. So I vote on that. Conduct to Con because of the forfeit, sources to Con because he does a lot of work to discredit Pro's sources without response.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 1 year ago
Zarroette
Royal_FlushUnitomicTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 1 year ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro, as the resolution is not "on balance", has to prove that 100% of the time closing sweatshops = bad. Pro's evidence--and even the way he presents it--is not what a sweatshop is. Cheap labor =/= a sweatshop, as con noted other conditions must be met. Con argues these shops can cause perpetual poverty. Con also proves that at least *some* sweatshops (abusive) should be closed, meaning the resolution is negated. Con also notes how in the first world, we have laws preventing this type of labor. This indicates prosperity can be maintained while a sweatshop system is prohibited. Conduct for FF. Con also shows how Pro argues for increased wages, but sweatshops = low wages, thus conceding that they are bad.
Vote Placed by YYW 1 year ago
YYW
Royal_FlushUnitomicTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The issue is whether closing sweatshops would do more harm than good. PRO must show that closing sweatshops will do more harm than good. CON must show that the costs and benefits are at least equal, or that the benefits outweigh the costs. PRO cites an article from Krugman, but conflates "cheap labor" and "sweatshop." Krugman was talking about the former; this debate is about the latter. PRO's second point is more or less that people want to work in sweat shops as opposed to doing other things; the benefit is people's desire to work in a specific place - but CON's conclusion that sweatshops cause people to become wealthy and educated is without evidence, it's also vague and speculative. CON articulates a third way option w/re: sweatshops v. farm labor. I think CON rightly points out the weaknesses in PRO's argument w/re: increased wealth and overall economic impact. I think CON's plan showed that the presence of other options prevents PRO from sustaining his burden. CON wins.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 1 year ago
RoyLatham
Royal_FlushUnitomicTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The resolution is solely whether closing sweatshops would do more harm than good. Con seems to me have agreed to that, but claimed that closing sweatshops in conjunction with mostly-unspecified government policy changes would be better. The debate topic is really just the choice between having sweatshops versus the traditional universal alternative of subsistence farming; the dichotomy is a premise of the debate, not a talking point. Pro got a quote from Krugman --who's an inch to the right of Trotsky-- saying that sweatshops are better than the alternative, and Pro had good evidence of the progression of countries out of sweatshop conditions. Con had no good examples of perpetual poverty caused by sweatshops. Pro loses conduct for the forfeit.
Vote Placed by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
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Reasons for voting decision: Let's get the definition of sweatshop out of the way first. The term sweatshop can just mean low wage, it doesn't have to also mean bad work environment. Pro pointed this out by copy and pasting the definition from con's source. Pro shows that making even just that tiny bit does help workers. Con points out that even that isn't good enough but without offering us a counter plan pointing out that sweatshops aren't the ideal solution to poverty is an empty statement. Pro loses conduct for the forfeit, but wind based on the fact that he shows, these countries are better off with sweatshops even if they aren't the perfect solution to poverty as con suggests