Kant and Utiliarianism on Sweatshops Essay

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By definition a sweatshop is a “negatively connoted term for any working environment considered to be unacceptably difficult or dangerous. Sweatshop workers often work long hours for very low pay in horrible conditions, regardless of laws mandating overtime pay and or minimum wage”. Many corporations in the United States use sweatshop labor in countries over seas such as China to produce their products at a lower cost. As entailed in the letter from a man born in China, many citizens on these countries resort to factory labor to support themselves to escape other sources on income such as prostitution. Without these corporations usage of oversea sweatshops these employees would be forced to return to self-demeaning jobs such as these.…show more content…
Kant provides a more specific explanation of this imperative and states; “Act so that you use humanity, as much as in your own person as in the person of every other, always at the same time and never merely as a means” (Audi, 17). Kantian ethics argues that each person should be treated as valuable and should never be used simply to satisfy the needs of others. Kant would not believe that the ability for sweatshop workers to avoid other “jobs” to receive income is a morally justifiably excuse for oversea factories to exploit workers. Forcing sweatshop employees to work long, exhausting, dangerous shifts for low wages is not treating them as valuable. “Treating people as ends clearly requires caring about their good. They matter as persons and we must at times and to some extent act for their sake, whether or not we benefit from it” (Audi, 17). If a company could raise sweatshop wages, therefore increasing the standard of living for these workers and only experience a 3% profit decrease, they should do it. U.S corporations that use sweatshops across seas are providing employment for poor citizens, however Kant would argue that these people are being used and “We are never to use people- including low-level, readily replaceable employees” (Audi, 17). Kant would see the positive implications sweatshops provide, but he would argue that these corporations need to demonstrate they
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