104 degree factories. Seventeen cents an hour. Thirteen-year-old kids slaving away in a sweatshop somewhere in Bangladesh or China. All for companies like Nike, Wal-Mart, or Disney (which ironically has the slogan “The Happiest Place on Earth.”). The shocking reality of the harsh child and women labor for these massive corporations was something I have overheard in conversation once or twice, but I never knew how widespread or devastating it has become.
In particular, the damage these high-grossing companies have had on the American economy is most striking. Kernaghan explains that in the past two years, China has created thirty million manufacturing jobs and the United States has lost two million. If this country wants to continue to be one of the most competitive economic markets on the globe, and consequently one of the most powerful countries, this issue must be dealt with promptly or the American trade system will deteriorate all the more.
The whole story begs the question, Well, what are we doing about it?–About the terrible wages the women and children receive for hours upon hours of grueling work, about the disaster of an economy these huge corporations are creating for the United States, and about the ways to give the American people the products they need while still keeping the low prices we have come to know. Is it through legislature or through tireless activism to let the world know the injustices of these corporations? Only time will tell as we watch these mega-companies grow all the more and our economy continue to drift away from us, just like a Wal-Mart receipt blowing away in the wind.