Tuesday, April 24, 2001

New York decides to screw poor workers The Nation gets it wrong again. The New York City Council has decided to pass a law against sweat shop labor. It requires apparel manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, to certify that it's wages meet a "standard" or the city will not buy from them. These are the effects it will have:

1) Compliance to the "standards" will become the usual shadow-world of graft, avoidance, intimidation, and exploitation, just as all unenforcable compliance reports become.

2) Local sweatshops (of which Manhattan has *far* too many) with illegal workers will have even more clout to exploit their desperate employees, who will find it harder to scrape together the closest they can get to an honest living.

3) Foreign "sweatshops" will either do what they can to seem to comply, or close down, delivering their desperately impoverished workers to even more unpleasant professions. A similar ordinance against child labor sent thousands of young Bangladeshis into child-prostitution. Chalk one up for grass-roots activism!

4) Unionized textile workers in the United States (probably wealthier and whiter than the average textile worker) will become richer.

5) Government agencies administering this new compliance law will grow fat on the graft.

The idiocy of the Nation in not understanding these simple and well documented consequences leaves me retching. The political left is the very worst enemy of the poor. Thanks to CD for the tip.


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