Thoughts : International Development : The Lesser of Two Evils or a Third Humane Alternative

I would like to comment on Nicholas Kristof’s article “Anti-Sweatshop? Think less of feel-good steps” (27th June, 2002).

The sort of thinking in his article is common from people who claim to think more thoroughly and rationally than anti-sweatshop advocates. Their argument goes like this: “What is worse than a person who earns pittance and works in sweatshop conditions?” Answer: “A person who earns less than pittance in worse conditions” or perhaps “A person who can’t find a job at all.”

Such is advocating the lesser of two evils. “Sure,” they say, “It’s bad for anyone to work under those conditions and earning so little. But think of the alternative. It simply could be worse so let’s not complain.”

However, neither of two evils need to be advocated. We only suffer from such myopic tendency (to see only two choices available in such situations) if we choose to. How about a third alternative of paying these people more decent wages or at least upgrading their working conditions?

Oh for the time when big companies place people above profit and when we consider humanity above materialism and greed.

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