Exam 2: Marx
In this short essay I will apply the concepts of exploitation, alienation and labour theory of value from Karl Marx’s theory to analyze the practice of sweatshops and the actors involved. Marx’s theory about exploitation in application to the practice of sweatshops directs us to think about the downfalls of an capitalist system that oppresses the poor working class. Furthermore, Marx’s theory regarding the alienation of workers from nature and the product directs us to think about the implications of a system in which mass production jobs are specialized, and its directed impact on an individual’s mental state as well as it’s limitation of social mobility. Finally, Marx’s labour theory of value directs us to think about the mass …show more content…
According to Marx’s labour theory of value, the value of the product is equal to the amount of labour it takes to produce it (Longofer & Winchester, 2016, p. 125). However, when the product enters the market, it’s value is hiked, often exceeding the original value. An important distinction to note is that the workers do not receive compensation equivalent to the product’s market value. These individuals are overworked and exceeding the necessary labour, which is basically breaking even with the expenses of producing the product. From an objective standpoint, the workers need to exceed the necessary labour in order to gain a surplus for the sweatshop owner. However, the surplus labour can become an exploitative measure in which the majority of the profits are reaped by the owners. Ideally, the surplus revenue is to be shared among the government through taxation and the owners (Powell 2017: Feb 15). The government would then invest into public funding and social issues that would improve the lives of their constituents, especially the lower working class. However, the lax regulations and lack of intervention by the governments regarding wages and working conditions, reveal the governments priorities or interest do not lie in closing down …show more content…
One of the bigger issues of capitalism is the class conflict it creates, which is demonstrated through the exploitative practices of the poor working class by the Bourgeoisie. The impact of capitalism is having an effects on a global scale. In a capitalist society, wealth is not distributed equally and in the process of aiding the rich to get richer, in both countries that outsource this work as well as in countries that employ sweatshops, the working class are suffering. In the simplest economic terms, the more we consume, the more demand it creates, which only increase the quotas for sweatshops. Another issue within the formulation of sweatshops is the mass consumption of products by individuals in western and developed countries. The products that are sold on the market are often inexpensive to an individual that is protected by minimum wage and social regulations, which allows for leisure time, usually spent purchasing commodities and products. However, the individuals in these sweatshops are not provided the same protection, and often find themselves unable to afford the products they
Sweatshops have been around for centuries, beginning around the late 1880’s. Sweatshops are classified by three main components, long work hours, very low pay and unsafe and unhealthy working environments. Sweatshops are usually found in manufacturing industries and the most highlighted production is clothing corporations, who take full advantage of the low production costs of their products. Many may think sweatshops are a thing of the past but they are still affecting many lives across the nations. There are many ways sweatshops affect lives, but a recent article titled “New study finds ‘more sweatshops than Starbucks’ in Chicago” explains that there are many low wage industry jobs that are violating labor laws in the United States alone. The article also reports how employees who are working in such conditions won’t speak up in fear of the retaliation employers will implement. Analyzing Sweatshops through the lens of the Sociological perspectives will help us better understand the illegal conditions of workplaces that still exist today.
In his opinion essay, “Sweatshop Oppression,” published in the student newspaper, The Lantern, at Ohio State University, writer Rajeev Ravisankar uses his article as a platform to raise awareness about the deplorable conditions in sweatshops. Ravisankar awakens his readers from their slumber and brings to light the fact that they are partly responsible for the problem. His first goal in the essay is to designate college students as conscious consumers who look to purchase goods at the lowest prices. Then he makes the connection between this type of low-cost consumerism and the high human cost that workers are forced to pay in sweatshops. His second goal is to place the real burden of responsibility directly with the companies that perpetuate this system of exploitation. Finally, he proposes what can be done about it. By establishing a relationship that includes himself in the audience, working to assign responsibility to the reader, and keeping them emotionally invested, Ravisankar makes a powerful argument that eventually prompts his student reader to take responsibility for their actions and make a change.
Time and time again, there have been opposing views on just about every single possible topic one could fathom. From the most politically controversial topics of gun control and stem cell research to the more mundane transparent ones of brown or white rice and hat or no hat—it continues. Sweatshops and the controversy surrounding them is one that is unable to be put into simplistic terms, for sweatshops themselves are complex. The grand debate of opposing views in regards to sweatshops continues between two writers who both make convincing arguments as to why and how sweatshops should or should not be dealt with. In Sweat, Fire and Ethics, by Bob Jeffcott, he argues that more people ought to worry less about the outer layers of sweatshops and delve deeper into the real reason they exist and the unnecessariness of them. In contrast, Jeffrey D. Sachs writes of the urgent requirement of sweatshops needed during the industrialization time in a developing country, in his article of Bangladesh: On the Ladder of Development. The question is then asked: How do sweatshops positively and negatively affect people here in the United States of America and in other countries around the world?
They often use child labor, lack workers’ benefits, and use intimidation as means of controlling workers (Boal, Mark). Typically, sweatshops are found in developing countries, however, they are also a prevalent problem in many first world countries including the United States. Many manufacturers claim that sweatshops exist in order to keep prices down for consumers, while allowing profit. On the contrary, there is also substantial evidence that goes against these beliefs. For instance, a study showed that while doubling the wage of sweatshop workers would increase consumer price by 1.8%, consumers are willing to pay 15% more with the assurance that the product was made with fair labor (11 Facts About). This, however, is a hard argument seeing as the circumstance was hypothetical and if prices were actually raised, there is no way to assure that consumers would react the same way. Either way, both sides of the argument can agree that the conditions are not good, it is just a matter of analysing the cost vs. the benefit to determine their necessity. This leads to several questions: Are sweatshops a necessary evil, how could they be abolished, and what realistic goals regarding the bettering of worker conditions can be met? Through the answering of these questions, it is easy to see that despite claims of sweatshops bringing opportunities to
Karl Marx witnessed first hand the rise of the industrial revolution and the beginning of capitalism. He also became one of capitalisms biggest critics. Marx believed that society needed a better way of distrusting wealth but also a better way a finding people’s full human potential or what he called “species-essence”. Marx believed that what we do connects to who we are, for example, work is what makes us human. It fulfills our species essence, as he puts it. Work allows us to be creative and flourish. However, in the 19th century Europe work did the quit opposite, it destroyed workers, particularly those who had nothing to sell but their labor. To the mill and factory owners a worker was simply an abstract idea with a stomach that needed to be filled. The workers had no choice but to work for long hours for a pathetic wage. Even worse, their labor alienated them. Alienation is a disorienting sense of exclusion and separation. Factory labor, under capitalism, alienated the workers from the product of their labor. They made stuff they couldn’t afford to buy themselves. The products they made were shipped out to other places far way to make money
There is a very big epidemic of consumerism within the United Sates and it is a result of the contribution of many factors within our society. It is evident that this is not necessary when one views other communities throughout the world but America has yet to make the changes it needs to solve this problem. A big problem with retailers and producers of products is their use of sweatshops, which are located in and out of the U.S. Sweatshops are a huge problem because they are known for having very low safety standards for their employees and mistreat their employees consistently. The reason they are used is because they can give the company better profits off of their goods.
In the essay “Sweatshop Oppression”, the writer, Rajeev Ravisankar begins his essay by building a connection with the audience by establishing common ground when he states, “being the “poor” college students that we all are” (Ravisankar, 2006). The problem he identifies is the significantly poor working conditions and slave labor wages that are often the price for cheaper goods from large renowned companies. Ravisankar assumes his readers are college students, and unaware of the reality of and often destitute conditions of these sweatshops. His goal is to not only bring awareness to the reality of sweatshop oppression, but how others, such as USAS have stepped up to bring change, and what
Ravisankar begins his essay by relating to his audience with a connection of being poor college students, who look for the bargain deals. The problem he identifies is that consumerism and the obsession for low priced goods caused the demand for sweatshop labor. He assumes readers have some familiarity with the term sweatshop, but do not fully understand how horrible the conditions and hours in a sweatshop truly are. His purpose is to convince students at Ohio State University to take action against Sweatshop labor. In order to accomplish this purpose, he mainly appeals to readers sense of ethics.
From the minute Chinese citizens began to work for outside companies, they were exploited and taken advantage of. (Miller 2013) Once sweatshops were outlawed in North America and Europe in the mid 1900s due to their inhumane practices, foreigners were quick to flock to developing countries that did not have the same laws in place. Firms sought out manufacturers in poorer nations that could provide the highest quality product at the cheapest cost and Chinese migrants were easy prey for manufacturers who paid small wages and offered poor working conditions. Meagre social and economic conditions in developing China resulted in a great amount of people willing to accept any wage and management systems that neglected the workers. Multinational textile firms soon grew to rely on foreign subcontractors for their production needs. (Pugatch 1998) The system estranged corporations from the production process, and in turn resulted in the estrangement of the consumers from the production process, which encouraged and continues to encourage the ignorance that fuels the sweatshop system. The relationship between corporation and producer was only further separated as agents arranged subcontracting for companies, allowing these companies to have the goods they were selling produced in factories they had never seen. The subcontractors were met with severe corporate deadlines and targets in order to stay in business, leaving workers as the sacrificial
Sweatshops greatly impact the lives of people all across the world; people are forced into incredibly tough labor along with unbearable working conditions. According to the writer of English Blog, “22 million children die annually due to the hazardous conditions in the sweatshops.” (English Blog RSS) Besides the low pay and awfully long working hours, the
There are many views with the problem of utilizing sweatshops in developing economies. Many insist that utilizing sweatshops in developing economies composes exploitation. In certain circumstances, this may be true, but not all. It is an ongoing controversy of demolishing sweatshops and changing the laws of labor. Many anti-sweatshop activist supports the idea of demolishing sweatshops. Activist commonly focus on work conditions and low wages causing them to be ill – formed of the economy as a whole. Taking a deeper look into these developing countries, it is with out of doubt that these countries benefit from sweatshops. Sweatshops should not be demolished because the employees are benefited with income, their economy receives growth and
In “Where Sweatshops Are a Dream”, Nicholas Kristof states sweatshops may be too harsh in America’s eyes, but a dream for many families in poverty. Phnom Penh, Cambodia is a city where, in some places, the trash pile high and smoke fills the air. For the people who live there, scavenging through the trash, finding plastic and, selling it is just a way of life. Many Americans believe that labor laws should be improved to try to help them. However, what they do not see is that many want to work in sweat shops. To work in a sweatshop and get out of the trash collecting life is a goal for many people living there. Kristof defends his statement by saying sewing machine jobs would be a more preferable job then what people do in Phnom Penh. On the
Abstract: Many countries, industries and people are becoming more affected by sweatshops in different ways because of they’re continuous increase in growth. Sweatshops benefit many developing countries as they provide opportunities of employment to the people living in poverty and benefit the community at large by creating an economic infrastructure that utilizes the country’s resources and increases their tax base. These institutions first came into existence in the early 1800’s and were referred to as dwelling houses, which were local factories that generally had the same idea of the sweatshop that we have in today’s society. There
In these sweatshops, workers are generally offered low wages with little nonwage benefits. In certain factories, workers have been denied of a “living wage” as their take-home pay have been insufficient to satisfy basic standards of living. Typically, in these countries, the minimum wage laws were violated and workers were weakly unionised to bargain for higher wages. For example, a typical Chinese worker earns a wage of Rmb$250-$350 while the minimum wage was supposed to be Rmb$350.
Marx’s theory of alienated labour is structured around a class-based system. It is vital to acknowledge that Marx’s evaluation of the capitalist system is based focused the Industrial Revolution a century and a half ago, and therefore must be kept somewhat in that context. Within Marx’s simplified capitalist society model, one class of people own and control the raw materials and their means of production. They are referred to as capital, bourgeoisie, or the owning class. The capitalist does not just own the means of production, but also all the items produced. By virtue of their ownership of production property they receive an income and earn a living from the operations of their factories and shops. The owning class owns the productive resources, though they do not usually operate the production means themselves.