Originally Posted by crgildart
Make yourself feel better by rationalizing the child labor. If the kids didn't have a factory to work in (or cut their fingers off in) they might have to resort to prostitution. What's the lessor of two evils?
Alright, have to jump in here, even though I have not been following this and other similar threads recently.
Without knowing the native culture, the work attitude, the upbring tradition, etc. of the country, statements like this just make us Americans so arragant and yet so ignorance of other peoples. With all taboo aside (government corruption, etc.), please don't draw general conclusions unless you have already done some study or have experienced it for yourself, from outside and from within.
So, why do Chinese children work for next to nothing? Although some do it out of desparation, most work free/cheap because traditionally the people value work. So, parents start them young. Many even work without pay because that is a part of the upbringing. Much of the time, it has nothing to do with their economical/financial status.
Until most recently, most of the chinese people have not been well off, before and after communism. But, regardless of what they have in their possession, they value work (and value study just to throw it into the mix) and opportunities. Just as an example, I grew up in NYC started working when I was well below legal working age -- not because we were poor (though not rich).
Kids of Chinese decents rarely end up in prostitution or any kind of chemical dependencies (gamling OTOH is a diff story). In fact, more often than not, the more unfortunate youths are effects of mixing in with the wrong crowd and/or having exposure to the wrong side of the society/law. In fact, it's not uncommon that kids in private schools would turn gangsters or whatnot doing their mischiefs still dressed in their school uniforms.
So, you may still ask, "but, why are products so crappy coming out of China? Is it because of the cheap labor?" The answer is no. It is a misconception and the observation is invalid. Chinese products have found its way in the US for many many decades, even before the Nixon era. Quality has always ranged from poor to outstanding. One good example was all the top quality designer textiles/clothings sold in the US in the 70s through the late 90s. Almost without exception, every piece of top US brand clothing (no matter how high of quality) was made in China.
Chinese workers are hard working as you may have already known. They do whatever it takes to get work. But, they are also opportunists. Their work ethics amounts to that they will produce as good a product as the customers and their quality control would demand or as crappy a product as the market will bear.