Shunxin Yu – Commentary 3.docx

Shunxin YuCommentary 3TPOLS 48010/21/2018 The article In Praise of Cheap Labor: Bad Jobs at Bad Wages are better than no Jobs at all by Paul Krugman mainly criticizes the opponents of globalization because of their lack of understanding that the poor working conditions and the consequent low wage seen in the developing countries could only get worse if there is no trade or outsourcing that these critics are angry about. Krugman believes that the workers in these developing countries are paid a pittance because of lack of opportunities and the fact that the employment is a better alternative. To justify his claim, Krugman introduced the topic by writing about the huge Manila garbage, which has been the center of focus for media. Men, women, and children lived on that dumb site because of lack of better alternatives.Although there are a lot of things to question in the author’s claims, at least he can justify some of his arguments. The author offers convincing evidence concerning the reasons as to why the workers in developing countries are paid peanuts. Basing the argument on the lack of better alternatives, it is understandable that employers took advantage of the situation to pay as they wish. Living in a dump site makes life unpredictable like for the case of people living in Smoky Mountain in Manila. People living in such areas depend on combing the garbage, which at times the efforts are futile. Therefore, industrial work offers a better alternative. The pay could be low, but the workers are assured of a livelihood. As much as the author tried to make his argument plausible by providing sufficient evidence and support, still, the author avoided some important aspects. It is clear that the argument arises from lack of better opportunities, but the authors do not mind about the workers living standards, progress, and health. Low pay promotes poverty, poor health, and lack of societal progress. These are some of the aspects the author should have put into consideration if indeed the article was focused on social and moral justice for humanity. There is no prudent justification for paying workers pittance because the employers understand that the workers have no better alternative. Supporting cheap labor in this era of technological advancement and economic depression is nothing less than supporting modern slavery.Cheap labor has extensive implications, which the author avoided to describe in the article. First, cheap labor means that the living standards of the workers remain low and thus increases dependency on foreign aid. There is no problem with foreign aid in times of calamities and disasters, but it does not make sense for the international community to support developing countries just because employers cannot pay well. Also, cheap labor means the country’s progress is at stake. The workers cannot be able to access better health care, decent education, and better housing. Suffering will increase as time goes by. Indeed, Krugman’s closing remarks that the lives of millions of people are at stake and thinking things through should be a moral duty, makes a lot of sense. Perhaps, putting sanctions or limiting trades with such countries may not be the best remedy. Instead, the international community through trade corporations should find a way of enforcing uniform labor standards across the globe. At least, the workers involved in industries will get better compensation for their labor.

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