Sweatshops today are far worse than those that functioned several hundred years ago. With the advent of the assembly line during the industrial revolution, the ability to make people work more hours has skyrocketed, particularly in the east.
While people did die more often in sweatshops from the 19th and 20th centuries, today sweatshops demand more product, in shorter amounts of time, often at the expense of the worker.
The reason these sweatshops are worse now is because it costs much more to live in today's economy and the value of today's currency isn't the equivalent of those in 19th and 20th century America and Europe. You could do a lot more with less back then. Today, not much of anything.
I believe the sweatshops today are worse than those that functioned during the 19th and 20th centuries in America and Europe. The sweatshops of today have easy access to the wrongs realized in these earlier sweatshops and the dangers associated with them and they still continue to operate unsafe environments. Secondly the pay between these sweatshops is actually very close even with the large difference in time.
There is this fantasy that people who work in sweatshops would otherwise
somehow be in higher paying jobs, or education. This is not the reality
in some 3rd world countries. People either work or starve on the
streets. For people who are uneducated and unable to find a better job, a
sweatshop at least gives them enough money to survive.
No, the sweatshops of today are not worse than those that functioned during the 19th and 20th centuries in America and Europe, because to a person that is suffering unspeakable conditions, it does not matter that a person might have suffered a little bit more or less years ago. All suffering is inhumane.