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…
The main idea behind this standpoint is to act in such a way that maximizes human pleasure, and provides the least suffering to others. The complete removal of sweatshop factories from foreign countries would have a harsh affect on the lives of citizens overseas. These once factory employed people would have to return to other harsher forms of “jobs” such as prostitution. From this angle a utilitarianism would argue that these sweatshops are in fact creating a stipend of human happiness in these countries and preventing them from certain forms of suffering. However, when it comes to the horrible working conditions and low wages of sweatshops, and U.S corporations unwillingness to change these factors in exchange of profit decreases as low as 3% a utilitarianism would not see view this to be ethical. Increasing the wage of these employees by even the slightest amount could greatly increase their standard of living. Perhaps increasing a father’s wage could allow for his kindergarten age children to cut back the hours they are forced to work in the same sweatshops. On the other hand, this increase would result in a slight decrease of profit for the corporation that could easily be made up for by cutting other annual expenses. According to utilitarianism “If one act produces more happiness than other, it is preferable”(Audi, 12).