After completing this lesson teachers will be able to:
- Analyze changes in living standards in different regions over time.
- Create and support an argument for or against a sweatshop boycott using primary and secondary sources.
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The issue of labor standards raises questions about the ethical responsibilities of consumers: are we responsible to be knowledgeable about the way the things we buy were produced? Do garment factories provide a minimum basic standard of treatment that all humans deserve? Are those living in rich counties in a position to judge the choices of those living in developing countries? Do future opportunities make up for current poor working conditions? But these factory jobs also increase productivity, living standards, and options for future employment in the developing country. Studying textile factories over time and place teaches us about the tradeoffs of our business and labor practices. It also teaches us about the lives and decisions of the people – usually young women – who work in the factories of developing countries.