One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
Saskia Sassen on monarchism; me on good books

Sirota on sociopaths and neocolonialists

It was only a matter of time. Anyone who did antisweatshop work in the 1990s knows that there is a mighty resevoir of pro-sweatshop sentiment lurking just beneath the edifice of the anti-Bush Democratic Party. Back when we could all make fun of Bush's word slop, it was pretty easy to forget that these sociopaths exist, and that they walk amongst us. David Sirota dishes the dirt:

Nicholas Kristof's latest New York Times column makes the case that corporate colonialism and human exploitation aren't just not bad, but actually a great virtue that will save the developing world - and that those working to stop such colonialism and exploitation are the root cause of global poverty. I kid you not:

Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don't exploit enough...

I'm glad that many Americans are repulsed by the idea of importing products made by barely paid, barely legal workers in dangerous factories. Yet sweatshops are only a symptom of poverty, not a cause, and banning them closes off one route out of poverty...

When I defend sweatshops, people always ask me: But would you want to work in a sweatshop? No, of course not. But I would want even less to pull a rickshaw. In the hierarchy of jobs in poor countries, sweltering at a sewing machine isn't the bottom.

This is quite literally the argument of a sociopath - and the problem is that sociopathy is so prevalent in discussions about trade and globalization that we barely even notice it anymore.

Print Friendly and PDF

Comments

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)