Sweatshop demand

I know a bunch of people complain about clothing companies employing sweatshop labor, but to help out the workers, instead of boycotting them, aren’t you supposed to buy more clothes so that wages go up?

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not clear buying more would have that effect. probably would not

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you can only wear so many clothes.

maybe u should help raise a kid employed by them for life. it might help them faster

but if you boycott, everyone kind of just winds up unemployed, so…

we are helping the workers. without us they won’t have anything nice

we are slowly sharing our wealth. That’s why former factory workers in the US are so pissed

if you wanna help some hillbillies buy more parts for their broken down car, buy american. If you wanna help some poor families scrape themselves out of poverty, buy from the sweatshops

Not MAGA people trying to starve poor families overseas. Doesn’t get more deplorable than that

I think you’re supposed to buy your clothes from places that aren’t “sweatshops”.

Buying more clothes from the sweatshop places may make the firm’s profits go up, I’m not so sure it impacts wages.


This is one of my current goals, to reduce my spending on clothing that is made with cheap/unethical labor sources. It is not easy, not only because of the cost, but it’s really hard to get good information about how a company produces its goods. I might just need to make my own clothes, but then I have to research how the fabrics are produced.

Honestly this is a good question.

A lot of economists would argue that sweatshop jobs are a good alternative to nothing. That they do increase competition, and therefore wages. And that it does lead slowly to more industrialization and less extreme poverty.

Not to get all Libertarian in here, but it’s (arguably) a choice, even if it’s a crappy choice. And the people who make that choice are (arguably) making it because it’s better than what they have going for them. And, yes, people in third-world countries might have plenty going for them, but then some blight kills all your rice some season, and the shitty factory is your way to feed the family.

There might be some more expensive alternative that directly increases their wages, but then, you might also just give to a charity that does the same thing.

SV, just to complicate your life, I’ll point out the downstream bad news regarding fast fashion - which is the driver of many sweat shops.

In America alone, an estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste – equivalent to 85% of all textiles – end up in landfills on a yearly basis. That’s equivalent to approximately 81.5 pounds (37 kilograms) per person per year and around 2,150 pieces per second countrywide .

Should I hold those employed in sweat shops accountable for the carbon footprint? Seems harsh, but it is one of those pesky externalities those economists you referenced do talk about. Tax the workers in an amount sufficient to clean up the mess? Yikes.

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Seems like landfills would be a carbon sink? :upside_down_face:

Anyway, I think you’re raising a valid but not directly related issue.

Garbage occurs no matter where you buy your shit.

I’m not so sure about that. Yes, we will always throw out our clothing at some point, but fast fashion is intentionally produced to be disposable, as it is made of poor materials and not constructed well. This is a relatively new phenomenon, and not a necessary one.

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Maybe… I tend to buy cheap shit, and wear it until it has holes… and then maybe wear it some more anyway. My wife tends to buy nice clothes that are meant to last… and then buys some more.

I’m pretty sure she goes through a lot more clothes in total.

I guess I’m not answering you fully, since neither of us is into “fast fashion”.

But, in short, I doubt that we Americans are actually wearing through 80lbs of clothes per year. If we are throwing away that much clothes, we’re doing it well before it’s worn out.

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So are you claiming to be the proto-typical clothes consumer? Cuz saying “not me” doesn’t really support the “maybe” in your post.

And my point is not incidental or tangential in the least. If your economic viewpoint doesn’t include externalities, then it’s just purposely ignorant. Some one, some where, at some time, has to pay the piper. And yeah, I know, Not you.

and to help assuage your doubt.

Yet, fast fashion has a significant environmental impact. According to the UN Environment Programme, the industry is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.Jun 12, 2022

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I’m all for reducing carbon-footprint, by reducing consumption.
(Ideally through carbon taxes, but realistically, voluntarily and charitably)

I’m just saying that in this case, the consumption isn’t specific to sweat shops.

Bad premise. Citations required.

I mean, if you get your clothes from some other source, that source will probably also make a bunch of carbon.

Best (I assume) would be to shop second-hand.