Is cheap stuff worth child labor?

From smartphones to chocolates to soccer balls, many of the products you use may be made by child workers or tied to other labor abuses. Here's how 7 companies have faced the heat on these issues.

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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

75Comments
Feb 6, 2013 1:11AM
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americas corporations couldnt get around our labor laws so they bribed congress to remove tariffs and institute free trade.the rich couldnt put our children to work for pennies so theyve done it to other countries.its how you get an america with few jobs and an ever increasing divide between what the rich get and the rest of us.it was the cause of the great depression. Too much wealth held in the hands of too few

Feb 5, 2013 11:22PM
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It's part of the continuing trend back to the good old, bad old days where child labor was used because they could pay them less and also hold down the pay they would pay their parents by increasing the labor pool.  In the 50's most women and children did not work because the country was set up to allow one wage earner to be able to support a family.  Children could be children and wives stayed at home and managed the kids and households.  Since then, women were allowed more freedom to work but became mens' work competitors and soon it required 2 workers to live a middle class lifestyle, whereas it use to take only one.  Now they want older workers to work longer and next they will include children as workers to continue to increase the labor pool while at the same time continue  to pay each worker less and less as they compete for jobs.  We see this done at third world countries to create goods while keeping it's people as a poverty  class worker with subsistant living standards and the capitalists proudly claim that they are helping them by paying them only enough to survive and proclaim fiety to their corporate masters. Capitalism at it's best.
Feb 6, 2013 1:31AM
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Not seen the cheap stuff.....we have been duped into believing that these jobs represented a savings for Us consumers.  I say the only one that truly benefited were the masterminds that slaughtered all of those jobs that got sent out.  I think that the same greed that sent those jobs out is now at work here trying to get us all to believe that our economy is truly ok.  We are in trouble ladies and gentlemen and we have no idea what losing all of those jobs was truly going to cost all of us.  We got played by greed then...and still are. 
Feb 5, 2013 10:41PM
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In China,Apple Computer has a factory which houses employees,which are confined to the premises,and has netting around the building to prevent them from commiting suicide.You help them jump by buying Apple products.Just like buying foreign oil funds terrorism.When Bill Clinton signed the Favoured trade bill with China,he told us it would be a great deal.I have yet to see that "deal" be great, yet.Free trade has screwed us,and we didn't even get a kiss for it.You wonder why America has an unemployment problem.Well,you are now reading about the job you once had being sent away.Figure it out,before you vote again.By the way,petroleum products are NOW america's number one export. You didn't hear that on MSNBC,did you?No,and your Congressman won't tell you that,either.They don't want you to know it.Google it and see where military arms ranks in export rankings,then sit back and cuss your lungs out.We are WAR MONGERS indeed!
Feb 5, 2013 11:36PM
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After a few American workers shot a few company senior managers in the face (Frick and Carnegie Steel immediately comes to mind), U.S. Corporation got their heads out of their a**es and behaved like responsible corporate citizens (a polite way to put it).

 

But always in the backs of the minds of these corporations is the undying need of the thug, for profits above all else, and at any cost, the cost in human beings basically. The company will kill the host country for profits. Now that Capitalism has become a moveable feast, all the old horrors are showing up again, this time in China and India and any foreign country where jobs formerly plentiful in the U.S. are now found.

 

The U.S. Corporations are still in the U.S., but their profits are declared here, taxes paid not at all, and the exploited foreign worker is left just exploited. Americans are not complacent about the sins of U.S. Corporation. It just gets really, really boring fixing the same problems over and over again because governments are just so freaking corrupt.

 

What I really like is how the Peoples Republic of China practically parodies the sins of Capitalism on a huge scale -- the pollution, the child labor, the employee slums, the smog, the meanial labor, the whole thing. The Chinese out Texas Texas. The Chinese governent hates their own people a hundred times worse than the U.S. government hated the American workforce.

Feb 6, 2013 1:39AM
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 I was raised on a farm along with a brother and sister we worked pretty much every day. That was in the 50s times were good. I enjoyed the responsibilities that we shared with my parents and grandparents.. Everyone that I knew had work responsibilities to fulfil We picked peaches baled hay fed & milked cows.we did almost any job that needed doing. By the time I was 10 I could drive a tractor and trucks on the farm. We weren't allowed to drive on the roads, although we were known to sneak a drive in whenever we could.  My uncle had a store / gas station my cousins were capable of running the store as soon as they were able to manage the math.  I got no issues with children working unless they're forced to work under bad conditions. But I'll tell ya farm kids have always had to do whatever it takes regardless of how bad the weather conditions might be..
Feb 5, 2013 9:21PM
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Cultures are different and chances are these chinese children think this is just the way life is.

Does that make it right?

Never    

However, in China it is in the open.  In the United States it is underground.

 

Feb 5, 2013 9:00PM
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There's child labor, and there' child labor. It would depend on the child and the conditions under which he or she worked. I would have loved to have had a job before I was 16, but could not get a Worker's Permit before then, and no one could hire me. Of course, that was in the states years ago. If a young person (child) wanted to work and conditions were humane and fair,  I think it would be okay. I would certainly never condone the type of conditions we hear about in some other countries, though, and I would prefer to purchase items made under the conditions mentioned above. But sometimes we don't know the situation.

 

My dad went to work at 8 years to help support his newly widowed mother. A hard worker all his life, and a finer man never lived. It didn't hurt him at all. He influenced my attitude toward work by his own great outlook.

Feb 6, 2013 12:20AM
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There has never been an even playing field for manufacturing products. This country was built by manufactures that didn't have the restrictions that we have now....very expensive restrictions (including labor). So we go to a place that doesn't have these expenses(China) to do our grunt work for us. As it turns out they are hungry for what we have and will just take it (just ask Caterpillar about their tactics). They are using children because their best young men and women are in the armed forces which they are building at an alarming rate. (ask the Japanese their feelings on this)

We really need come together on this  because we don't have as many friends overseas as our government would have us believe.

Feb 6, 2013 2:14AM
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Get rid of the cheap a$$ Chinese $hit, it's all totally worthless. I am sick to death of the crap breaking or wearing out after only one or two uses. Even the most durable of goods are only worth a damn for a small fraction of the time things used to last when they were still made here and in Japan.
Feb 6, 2013 3:51AM
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I would buy all my items, and pay more, if they were really "Made in America" or by unexploited workers, but they are very hard to find. Many US Corporations are as morally bankrupt, and as bad as the old Guilded Age Robber Barons of the late 1800s.  I cringe to think of children, or even adults, working in sweat shops and paid poverty wages. Shame on all of us !
Feb 6, 2013 12:51AM
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Look at the people who shop at Walmart and you have your answer.
Feb 6, 2013 3:42AM
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   When the CEO of Disney made 600 million in salary and God knows what in bonuses, he had children working in Haiti for 12 cents an hour. This is the ungodly greed that is destroying America. Our big corporations are getting special treaties and tax breaks for robbing foreign labor.

   We will force real change or America will soon be in depression and chaos. Banks, insurance companies, wall street and the commodities all have much in common: They produce nothing and take mountains. Also, these pigs own our government, control our money supply, commodities prices, interest rates and damn near everything. 

Feb 6, 2013 2:15AM
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It is capitalism at its best.  The only way to get rich and stay rich is to take from the poor by paying cheap wages and using children who do not have the ability to fight the system.  The great Robber Barons of America proved that it works. 
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You can thank your cheap goods and child labor all the way to Bill Clinton. He signed NAFTA and AMerican business has gone downhill ever since then.
Feb 6, 2013 11:23AM
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Children should start working as soon as possible, but not slave hours.
The results of letting your young play until they are 25 years old will lead to the results that you have today. Millions of 25 year old teenagers.
When I had my constr. co. I had all white americans working for me and it was a nightmare. If I was lucky I would have a full crew for 2-3 days at a time. And most day's they would come in late, leave for lunch and come back drunk or not at all.
The mexican crews were always at work early, left work late and were there every day. They kicked our a$$es on the job site.
Talking with them they used to tell me that they had been working since they were children.
Personally, I would have hired every one of them if I stayed in that business.
I started work at 13YO, myself. Working on a farm nights and weekends. And I was far more mature at 16 than any of these 20 YO's are today.



Feb 6, 2013 1:54AM
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Whenever I hear stories like this, which try  to strike a moral high tone about child labor in 3rd world countries, I find myself wondering if these self appointed moralists have hidden agendas or if they are just busy body fools.

 

I have been to some countries where child labor occurs and I can tell those who have not been to such places that, in most cases, despite how bad it is to be working in a sweat shop, the child is usually better off than most of the other local children who are often found searching for food at the dump or working the streets for whatever they can get, just to stay alive. 

 

These type stories show work places which seem to resemble small prisons which have barred windows and doors as well as guards. The viewers are given the impression that the workers are being held as "slave prisoners". While this is sometimes true, it is far more often true that the security measures are there to protect the workers from local criminals. The security is there to keep dangerous criminals out, not to keep the workers in.

 

I am not saying that sweat shop work is good for a child, but I am saying that, in my opinion, it is usually better than the available alternatives. As bad as this might sound, long hours, low wages and relative safety in a sweat shop is a better deal for these children than the long hours, no wages and no safety they would otherwise face on the streets.

 

In most cases, bringing (which usually means "bribing") local pressure to close a child employing sweat shop will not result in liberating the child into a better life. More than likely, it will do the opposite.

 

  

Feb 6, 2013 2:50AM
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Three or four hundred years ago the majority of the children in this country worked. It was necessary for the good of their families and although I'm sure some of them didn't like it, it wasn't considered child labor. Why is it that because we crossed the finish line first we have a right to turn around and look down our noses at those behind us. Look at what we've done to the planet with our pollution. Now we're so very concerned that other emerging countries are contributing to our bad habits.

 

Feb 6, 2013 12:20AM
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counselor - You obviously forgot that, along with being appointed the world's policeman, we have also been anointed the world's conscience.  Other cultures mean nothing to us because we are always right.  It is clearly better to starve to death than it is to work for low pay in bad conditions.  For all those that say the pay should be raised, good luck with that.  There is a reason all the textile and shoe manufacturing jobs are in China, Vietnam and Thailand.  If you pay people what we, in this country, consider a living wage, a pair of shoes would cost $500 and no one could afford to buy them.  I am not saying any of this is right or just, I am just saying that is the way it is.
Feb 6, 2013 9:49AM
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Yea, the "liberal do gooders" will jump up and down and say this is wrong....making their sociologist teacher proud of them.  Then spend 18 hours texting and facebooking about what they are having for dinner....if they don't walk into traffic.

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