reading # 19

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Databases selected: Multiple databases. .. Full Text (790 words) Where Sweatshops Are a Dream; [Op-Ed] Nicholas D. Kristof . New York Times . (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Jan 15, 2009. pg. A.35 Abstract (Summary) At a time of tremendous economic distress and protectionist pressures, there's a special danger that tighter labor standards will be used as an excuse to curb trade. Labor standards can improve wages and working conditions, without greatly affecting the eventual retail cost of goods. Copyright New York Times Company Jan 15, 2009 Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about "labor standards," I'd like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh. This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It's a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires. The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn. Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage. 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. Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty, the
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