Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Poverty and Opportunity

One of the main areas of my research is in child labor.  When I present my work, I often talk about the potential for negative impacts of bans on child labor for families that are so poor they rely on the income from a child's work to survive.  I am often met with skepticism and I wonder if the well meaning people who would like to see bans on child labor understand the nature of poverty in the developing world.  Well, I think New York Times columnist (and Oregonian) Nick Kristof does a good job of illustrating the devil's choice of child labor and poverty.  It is also why I am quick to defend companies like Nike that while we may wish to strive to always do better by its workers we must also realize that they are providing opportunities that are improving peoples' lives.

1 comment:

Barb said...

Without reading Nick's article at this moment, it would still be useful to define some standards (perhaps one that Nike meets) that would provide information to consumers about the type of labor and the local appropriateness of the compensation, etc. Does something like this exist? If not, why not?