This paper discusses three broad categories of economic injustices and they include child labor, sweatshop and misleading advertisements. The paper defines each form of injustice and provides examples of injustices. The paper also highlights efforts that are aimed at eliminating each of the mentioned injustices. The following is a discussion of these injustices.
Child labor refers to the act of engaging underage individuals in economic activities whereby children are forced to undertake activities with little or no pay. This is an injustice given that it involves exploitation of children as labor, also they are forced to work for longer hours, paid low wage rates, poor working conditions that endanger their health and they are denied their rights to education. (Liz Stuart (2005))
There are two factors that lead to child labor and they include the demand factor and supply factor, the demand factor refers to the demand by employers to employ children, firms will employ children given that the children are paid less wages, they are more obedient given that they are not members of any labor union and that these children can be coerced to work more hours. The supply factor refers to the supply of labor, children may want to work in order to support their families or even earn a living.
An Article by Liz Stuart (2005) provides a good example of child labor, the article states that in 1996 it was discovered that some products that were being sold in Mark & Spencer shops were produced using child labor, it was discovered that the shops were importing cloths from a factory in morocco that employed children aged 12 years, when this was made public the girls were dismissed from the factory. (Liz Stuart (2005))
On going efforts to eliminate child labor include product boycotts, consumers refuse to buy products produced using child labor, in the above example of Mark Spencer the company was afraid of the consequences of a boycott and this is why they stopped employing children. Another effort to stop child labor is the implementation of laws by various organizations, example the UN declaration on children rights regarding child labor. (Katharine Johnson (2004))
Sweatshops refers a factory that employs labor for long hours and at the same time offering low wages, it is an economic injustice given that this is a form of exploitation whereby laborers are forced to work for more hours against their will and also are paid low wage rates. The firms earn large profits as a result of this form of exploitation, due to high unemployment in the economy laborer fear that they may be laid off if they complain or join labor unions. (Jonah Peretti (2001))
This occurs not in developed countries but in developing economies, multinational firms locate their production factories in developing countries where they employ workers at low wage rates and force them to work for long hours, the firms them transport these products to developed countries where they sell their products. It is a form of exploitation that benefits these multinational firms and on the other hand oppresses the workers.
A good example is the case where an article by Jonah Peretti (2001) in the nation stated that Nike a company that manufactures shoes had relocated its production process in Asia and South America. Workers in these firms were forced to work for long hours and paid low wages, the main beneficially of this act is the Nike Company whereby they gain from the exploitation of workers in developing countries. (Jonah Peretti (2001))
Efforts to eliminate this form of injustice are boycotts, when such allegations are proved to be true the consumer boycott the consumption of such products. The other solution to this problem is the unionization of workers in both developed and developing countries whereby the labor unions negotiate and sometimes sues such companies on behalf of the workers. (Sherrod Brown (2001))
Misleading advertisement is another forms of economic injustice, it involves provision of information that is incorrect regarding the quality of products. It is an injustice given that companies will mislead consumers regarding the quality of products in the economy. Advertisement persuades consumers to purchase products but in some cases adverts may give incorrect information about these products, a good example is pharmaceutical products whereby if adverts provide incorrect information it may harm the consumers.
David Cobb (2003)article highlights a case where Nike was sued in court for a short statement stating „within hours“, this was centrally to the operations of the company and the court dismissed the appeal, it is also evident that dues to the collaboration between the mass media and the Nike company whereby the public was not allowed to make opinions regarding the company, it was also evident that the mass media supported the company, this was an injustice given that the company was lying to the public regarding its services. (David Cobb (2003))
Efforts to end such misleading information and advertisements by companies and mass media involve the implementation of laws that protect consumers, from the above case it is evident that the Nike Company lost the appeal case, in case of such allegations the company is asked to withdraw such statements or even forced to pay fines. (David Cobb (2003))
The above discussion summarizes the three broad categories of economic injustice, this include child labor, sweatshops and misleading advertisement. An economy should eliminate such injustices in order to eliminate exploitation of labor and consumers. Efforts to end such injustices include implementation of laws that protect the rights of consumers and workers and also consumer boycott of these products.
David Cobb (2003) Defending A Corporate Right to Lie,
Jonah Peretti (2001) My Nike Media Adventure
Katharine Johnson (2004) Confronting Child Labor
Liz Stuart (2005) Child Labor Today, Retrieved On 17th November, From Www.Unicef.Org.Uk/Publications/Pdf/ECECHILD2_A4.Pdf
Sherrod Brown (2001) Pentagon Sweatshop