Slaves: what is your score?

What about the "modern slaves" in third world countries who made your iPhone, for example? Often differently than different moralists think. The West is not the navel of the world, and regulation is to blame.

Indian Children (AP Photo M.Lakshman)
Indian Children (AP Photo M.Lakshman)

An interesting calculator has started to spread on the Internet - you enter where you are from, what jewelry you own (if at all), what electronics you own, what clothes (and so on) and that calculator will show you how many "modern slaves" you are responsible for.

The point is that the things in question are often produced by workers in the countries “3. the world ", who are" bound "by inhuman working conditions, are often abused in various ways.

Yes, I also don't like it when, for example, thirteen-year-old children work in factories, but everything has its "buts"…

You can't be a slave

That calculator has several flaws. The first is that he sews slaves on your shirt, who made goods that subsequently became your property.

The problem, however, is that the goods first had to be made before they could be bought. So what is certain is that these "slaves" had to work hard long before you decided to buy an iPhone, for example.

So you didn't create those slave jobs by buying some electronics that some slaves had made before. They were created by someone in front of you. You are not "responsible" for these slaves. It's something like drowned cargo - those slaves were already working on that iPhone, if you didn't buy it, nothing would change, because "It" ("slave labor") has already happened.

Relevance of alternatives

Another mistake is that people who move around that calculator think that if we stopped buying that electronics or jewelry (because it is made by slaves, yes), then those famous companies like Apple would stop making their products with the help of "slaves." … Which would allegedly improve the lives of those slaves.

Which is not true.

If Apple cancels manufacturing iPhones using slaves, so the "slaves" simply they will lose their jobs. Dot, done twenty. Are you feeling better if you lose your job unplanned? It will increase the quality of your life? I would say no.

This is similar to the initiatives for "import duties on countries using child labor" - yes, we will introduce "customs duties on child labor". work“A we free poor children from the factory through prostitution. Or somewhere, for example, through starvation.

Sure, we all realize that it would be really beautiful if children were in schools and educated instead of in factories, but we cannot judge their fate according to our "Western" criteria. The world there is simply different, it is poorer.

Je so poor that he cannot afford to send a bunch of people out of the "supplier market" and get them educated. He doesn't have it. There is no one who would pay for it, which means in the criteria of the local world: there is no one who could give those children food, for example.

Significantly, fighters against "slave" or "child" labor do not fight, for example, for compulsory schooling in poor countries (where it is not) or for its extension (where it is already). It is clear that for many children, this would mean the death throat.

Children and "slaves" are often so abusively abused relatively wealthy Western interventionist intellectuals to fight "corporations". They are not concerned with the "rights and well-being" of children and "slaves", but only with how to squeeze as much money as possible from large companies and how to "strangle" them the "amoral" zisk.

You know, similar moralizing is often in vogue, so why not ride a similar wave, right? For many, media coverage is total decent profit...

Judging the local life alternatives according to our Western standards is a sign of ignorance and an overabundance of self-importance. If one thinks that "the West can save everything," it means that one thinks that "the West causes everything" —otherwise, one cannot save everything. They think that the West - their world, their lifestyle - it is the navel and the center of the world.

"It simply came to our notice then you buy one shirt less and save the world "logically leads us to the fact that" if you buy a shirt more, you will destroy the world ". But it is not so. There are many people in the world living their lives in their world and according to the alternatives available to them, and "our modern" West is not interested in them. We are not the center of the universe, although the egocentric "slave protectors" think so.

And it is often a choice children in poor countries in style "Work or die". Not "work or study" as in our country, as fighters against large companies mistakenly think.

And so are the regulations

And finally - the regulations and taxes of the Western world can also be partly responsible for slave labor.

Peter Schiff in his speech at the OWS event he mentioned an interesting thing - once the salaries in the USA were the highest in the world, while the cheapest products were made there. What was that? Low taxation and low levels of regulation have made the US accumulated capital, which greatly increased labor productivity.

However, taxes and the level of regulation have increased over time, which made the price of labor more expensive - and it was often cheaper for Western firms to hire slave inexperienced and unskilled cheap labor somewhere in Africa or Asia than to hire experienced, skilled, and capital (machines) to control Western workers. All just because of the state, which simply it made production more expensive in the West, helping to push it into the Third World.

On the one hand, it's nice - the third world gets rich, it gets there - but slowly but surely - some capital, some investment, some knowledge.

On the other hand, regulation and taxation are a form of incentive (subsidy) for those offered by cheap slaves in third world countries to work. Demand for cheap working strength in poor countries is an inflated bubble, which can often be so high that it will bring to the labor market even those we would not like to see there.


  1. Your article is undoubtedly interesting and the thoughts in it have a head and a heel, there is no choice but to agree with them, while your Czech is quite terrible. I have already read several of your texts that were factually interesting, but the low culture of the language in them is in conflict with the content. Please do not take this as poisonous saliva, it is only a warning to this negative aspect of your writing, to which you attach little importance to your detriment. Have a nice day!

  2. I'm not talking about real slavery. But child labor is not automatically slavery, so it makes no sense at all to find out whether it exists for our sake or not.

  3. @ 6 - waffles

    Yes, you want an iPhone. A lot of people want an iPhone, but they don't want slave labor. The demand for the product and the demand for slave labor are two completely different things.

    And if we're talking about real slavery, which really still exists somewhere, I doubt we should brag that "thanks to us" is here… Despite the fact that this is not the case. Demand for a product does not imply demand for labor in its production.

  4. @ 4 - Lukáš Kubec

    ad 1) It's a little different - I don't want the public lighting / roads / etc. at all, but if I don't want to die, I have no other option than to use public services. I want an iPhone, no one forced me into it.

    In my opinion, it is we in the West who are to blame for the fact that children work somewhere in Asia. But in the sense that anyone who asks for something is to blame for someone else supplying it. So as a defense, I would imagine something like "yes, they work - thanks to us, because we want an iPhone," not as "we can't blame."

  5. Let us also not forget that the demand for a product does not mean the demand for work on that product. These are two completely different things. So if @gofry enrolls in an Austrian school, he should study it again. 🙂

  6. @ 1 - ad 1) of course, but in the calculator we talk about slaves who made your electronics. You are counted here and you just can't blame you.

    ad 2) of course, but I'm also talking about that.

    @ 3 - ad 2) see Kuba Hájek, slavery in the classical form still occurs.

    ad 1) argument at the level of "you anarcho-capitalist, you also benefit from public lighting / state roads / etc., you are a hypocrite!" or "you can be responsible for the existence of the state because of that!"

  7. "You cannot be a slave" - ​​this paragraph was not very successful 🙁

    1. Of course, only the customer - the trader - only mediates that the children work there.
    2. It gives the impression that it could actually be slavery, but this is not true, as the rest of the article shows.

  8. That conclusion best describes it all. The article is a bit rough and slightly confusing, but you are right about this. Subsidies and regulation are the greatest evils of this time.

  9. That calculator is bullshit and I basically agree, but it had three reservations / remarks 🙂
    1) If I don't buy an iPhone, I won't change the past and therefore I will not avert the "slave work" done, but I can influence the future. Information about the decline in demand for iPhones will spread through the market to the manufacturer - "slavers" and purely theoretically, with my attitude, I can cause the abolition of one "slave factory" 🙂

    2) We are talking here about voluntary "slave" work, which gives people the opportunity to improve their bad life situation. But it's not at all unlikely that part of the iPhone was made by real slaves - people working against their will, which in some parts of rebel-controlled Africa, for example, is not unusual, such as the Congo region.

    3) America used to be so good not only due to low taxation and low levels of regulation, but also due to the fact that at that time China, India and the like had not yet competed with it.

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