Sample Analytical Essay

Sample Analytical Essay - In his article In Praise of Cheap...

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In his article, “In Praise of Cheap Labor,” Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman examines the morality of cheap labor in many of the third world countries today. In response to the critics of cheap labor, Krugman argues “while wages and working conditions are appalling, they are a big improvement over the “‘previous, less visible rural poverty’”(Krugman 81). This past summer, while interning at a company in China, I experienced in person the harsh reality for those cheap-labor workers described in Krugman’s article. Workers, some of whom were under the legal age, endured terrible working conditions for an average pay of less than two dollars an hour. I talked to a seventeen year-old girl in a clothing market one day, and she told me that she works from seven in the morning to eleven at night with only one day off every two weeks. In both Steven Pinker’s “The Moral Instinct” and Jonah Lehrer’s “The Moral Mind,” the authors discuss different approaches and theories that can be used to assess morality. Seldom is real life completely black or completely white, and it is certainly true when it comes to examining morality. Philosophers throughout history have long developed different theories to approach the topic of morality. Judging the morality of cheap labor based on different theories from Pinker’s and Lehrer’s articles, such as utilitarianism and veil of ignorance, we reach different conclusions on whether or not it is ethical to employ cheap labor in the third world countries. Many decisions we make in life are solely motivated by emotions. In fact, I believe that almost no decision, significant or trivial, can be one hundred percent cerebral. Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist famed for his studies on the subject of morality, claims “‘people don’t engage in moral reasoning, but moral rationalization. They begin with the conclusion, coughed up by an unconscious emotion, and then work backward to
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a plausible justification’” (Pinker 35). Judging the issue of cheap labor at its surface seems obvious that it is unethical to pay people extremely low compensation to work under excruciating conditions. It is unfair to treat people with “a tenfold or twentyfold disparity in wage rates” and working conditions simply because they were born in a different country. Because of this apparent unfairness, it seems rather easy for many of us to quickly conclude that cheap labor is unethical. In other words, our conclusion in this case is immorality, and our reason is simply unfairness. At first glance, the conclusion seems logical. However, reflecting deeper on our thought process, the reason that we can make such a quick conclusion is because we have subconsciously associated unfairness with immorality. According to Haidt, like all other senses that human beings posses such as smell, taste etc., we have a moral sense. Within that sense, Haidt counts “‘five primary colors of our moral sense – harm, fairness, community, authority and purity’” (Pinker 35). Whenever an event challenges one of these five codes, our moral sense
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