Kaitlin Mahar: Not in our backyard: The U.S.’s ironic stance on sweatshops

bOver the years, corporations such as Gap, Apple, and Nike have come under fire for their use of sweatshops to make their products. However, despite this knowledge about our “must-have” products, you don’t see people without an iPod or iPhone or clothing and shoes with the Gap and Nike logos. It’s amazing how sweatshops in the U.S. are a tragic scar in American history, and that Americans are willing to use and abuse factory workers in third-world countries, as well as our own, without batting an eye.

aAccording to DoSomething.org:

In developing countries, an estimated 168 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work,” but in the case of inhumane conditions for undocumented workers, “many labor violations slip under the radar of the US Department of Labor.

In the U.S. in 1900, 18 percent of workers were under sixteen-years-old. While we’ve passed child labor laws, these laws are applied more to citizens than illegal immigrants, and no one considers the welfare of non-U.S. citizens, either here or in countries like China and Bangladesh. Non-citizens make an unlivable wage to stimulate our economy, with our materialism.

Knox College psychology professor Dr. Tim Kasser said it best in the 2015 documentary The True Cost: “What America [needs is] a revolution of values, they [need] to stop treating people like things.” Americans need to stop worrying about taking care of our own in order to have more possessions to own.

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