We now live in a world that is considered to be much better than at least half a century ago. Everyone can observe the rise of technologies and their implementation in different spheres of human activity.
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Moreover, there are numerous attempts to promote equality and provide people with the same conditions for their personal and professional growth. Unfortunately, very often these efforts fail and the old problems remain topical. For instance, despite all technological advancements and appeals to improve working conditions for people who live in poor areas, they have to reconcile to long 12-hours shifts, low salaries, lack of protection, and the absence of any social guarantees.
It is a well-known fact that the bigger part of all modern goods is manufactured in countries like China, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Bangladesh, etc. (Klein, 2010). These fast-developing states provide companies with outstanding conditions for outsourcing because of the low-cost labor and peculiarities of the work environment. Extreme poverty along with high unemployment rates leaves no choice for people but to accept unfair conditions and work hard to earn the money needed for their survival. However, the problem is not new as its roots could be traced back to the colonial period. Being used as raw material bases and sources of a cheap workforce, these regions stagnated and experienced numerous hardships. Unfortunately, the given pattern is preserved.
The reading by Naomi Klein also touches upon the given problem. The author outlines conditions under which workers in Cavite have to work. Numerous foreign companies allocate their plants here; however, the surprising fact is that people who make IBM, Apple, or Aztek, are deprived of conveniences and do not have an opportunity to enjoy the technologies which they manufacture (Klein, 2010). The situation could be considered ridiculous; however, it is one of the great problems of the modern world that will unlikely be solved in the nearest future. Big corporations like Apple, IBM, etc. are not interested in the significant improvement of working conditions as it will increase spending.
Teens in the Philippines
However, poor working conditions in the Philippines are accompanied by overwork, especially during peak periods. For this reason, all free time is devoted to sleeping as it is the only opportunity to recover. The astonishing fact is that teens also have to work hard. Many young girls live in horrible conditions and sacrifice their health to earn money. Predominantly, they come from rural areas, and working in Cavite is the only chance to survive in the country.
The overall situation is the state remains complex as the level of income is low, and children are forced to find jobs. This fact is not new as there are places like sub-Saharan Africa where juveniles perform difficult tasks. However, regarding the Philippines, the situation is not the same. At the moment, it is the place where global corporations have their plants and factories. It means that globalization affected the state and involved it in the cross-cultural intercourse.
Nevertheless, the Philippines, like many other places in the world, preserve the unique working environment that disregards the essential workers needs and makes them sacrifice their health trying to earn money to survive (Klein, 2010). The sober fact is that it all happens under the passive eye of global corporations who exploit local workers and benefit from the low level of wages peculiar to the region. The given situation seems impossible in western countries; however, numerous cases evidence the absence of any social protection and exploitation of cheap labor. Under these conditions, any attempt to struggle against child labor is doomed to fail as the most powerful actors prefer to disregard the existing problem.
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Another reading that triggers vigorous debates over the issue is the work by Kelsey Timmerman (2008) in which the author describes his experiences about the trip to countries that are known as the worlds manufacturing centers. The central message remains the same. Even though people living in these areas produce a bigger part of modern goods, they remain poor, and there are no tendencies towards the improvement of their living conditions (Timmerman, 2008).
Additionally, children or teenagers are mainly used as a cheap workforce. The reading improves the comprehension of the problem by demonstrating different states characterized by the same issue. It acquires the outstanding topicality regarding the attempts to solve the child labor problem and provide juveniles with social protection. Analyzing the reading, one can understand the scale of the problem and its sophisticated character.
For centuries children have been the primary source of cheap labor in poor regions that manufacture all goods we use in everyday life. The main reason for the preservation of the given pattern is poverty. The majority of households living in Bangladesh or the Philippines are deprived of stable sources of income. As has already been stated, it is one of the factors that make children work under horrible conditions. In general, Kelseys ideas are similar to those suggested by Klein. They emphasize the fact that people who work hard are poor and there are no signs of improvement.
Globalization, Corporations, and Sophisticated Solution
Therefore, considering the issue of child labor, the discussed readings contribute to the improved comprehension of the fact that globalization does not guaranty that ideas of appropriate working conditions and social protection will be accepted in regions characterized by poverty and high unemployment rates. Moreover, these readings evidence the fact that child labor becomes a political issue that is unfortunately ignored by many states and global corporations.
At the same time, the possible solution to the problem seems sophisticated. The fact is that the attempt to improve the existing situation triggers the clash of interests of global corporations and organizations that struggle against child labor. The use of a cheap workforce is profitable for companies that have their plants in countries like the Philippines and Bangladesh. That is why corporations are not interested in radical changes in the sphere as they will trigger radical alterations in the approaches used by employers. Increased wages, insurance, and social protection will cost a lot and require time to complete reorganization and implement a new approach.
The loss of working hours is not the desired outcome for global corporations. For this reason, they preserve their current position regarding the issue. Unfortunately, their participation is crucial to elaborate on the efficient solution to the problem and eliminate the problem of child labor. Otherwise, children who work in plants in horrible conditions and produce the majority of goods used by people in their everyday life will remain poor and suffer from overwork, low salaries, and health problems.
Klein, N. (2010). No logo. New York, NY: Fourth Estate.
Timmerman, K. (2008). Where am I wearing?: A global tour to the countries, factories, and people that make our clothes. New York, NY: Wiley.