The sports shoe industry in China

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The sports shoe industry in China

A sweatshop is a workplace where workers are subject to extreme

exploitation, including the absence of a living wage or benefits, poor

working conditions, such as health and safety hazards , and arbitrary

discipline, such as physical and psychological abuse.

Brief History: There have probably been sweatshops since one man first

began working for another. Although sweatshops certainly existed

before, the term "sweatshop" itself did not appear in common usage

until the 1890s. Since the dawning of the Industrial Revolution,

employers began to look for cheap labor in order to fill the needs of

the expanding industries. Sweatshop production came out of hibernation

in the late 1960s from U.S. A combination of forces contributed to

their reappearance: changes in the retail industry, a growing global

economy, increased reliance on contracting, and a large pool of cheap

labor-mostly immigrants in the U.S. Nowadays, with the globalization

of economy, workers around the world-- from New York and Los Angeles

to Bangkok, Spain and San Salvador-- are experiencing the

proliferation of sweatshop conditions. Perhaps the sports shoe

industry in China is one of the most typical examples of sweatshop.

Most of the sports shoe factories, located in the Pearl River Delta in

south China, are set up with Hong Kong and Taiwanese investment. These

factories are contracted by Nike or Reebok and Adidas. Almost all of

workers in these factories are peasant workers (min gong) who come

from rural areas of other provinces, and 90 percent of them are women

age 17 to 23. Workers above 25 are usually regarded as too old. Some

of these factories employ children ages under 16. They have a low

level of education and are unaware of their legal rights as workers.

In general, workers don¡¯t sign any contract with the factory.

Working hour: Long working hours have become standard in the Special

Economic Zone since it was set up at the end of 1970s. Most factories

require workers to work 10-12 hours a day six or seven days a week,

workers get only 2-4 days off every month, not including overtime.

During peak seasons, particularly when there are big orders and more

work has to be done, the workers work longer hours and are given even

fewer days off per month. Workers do not have a choice about doing

overtime. If they refuse th...

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...tting worse due to exploitations mentioned above. However, do not

interpret this the wrong way. I love my country and I do not blame the

government for I believe that the government only wants what is best

for the citizens and for the nation. It would be too idealistic to

think that a single paper can come up with solutions that have eluded

government officials at the national level. However, there are some

suggestions that I came up with, and there is a very good example ¨C

the rise of Japanese economy. I think that while attracting foreign

capitals into the country, the Chinese business sector should also

consider how to generate capital in their own country. Government

emphasis in technology and education is one of the methods that could

be employed to increase productivity of the labour pool and thus avoid

exploitation. Technology advances (with little confidence to relate

this topic to technology, since I am truly aware of that the

technology expressed in different terms in real life somehow have

caused fundamental social problems) also allow the country to produce

their own products which attract foreign buyers, as in the case of

Japanese Automobile industry.

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