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Darwin award, Child labor and Sweatshops November 28, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in economics, history, weird.

Meet Toni Vernelli:

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible “mistake” of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time. He refused, but Toni – who works for an environmental charity – “relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.

And why ?

Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.”

Linked from here. One of the comments on the post implies that she should next be aiming for the Darwin award.


The sweatshop dilemma – this time in the Indian context – manhole covers headed for New York City made in India. Dani discusses discusses the implications of this article as a starting point. But we know that the debate is more general. A related article by Amit Varma on Child Labor is here. Usha has a few very interesting accounts and personal recollections pertaining to the dilemma.

Then there is Nicolas Kristof’s very controversial sweatshops column in the Times.

And Krugman’s article from 2001 where he said :

There is an old European saying: anyone who is not a socialist before he is 30 has no heart; anyone who is still a socialist after he is 30 has no head. Suitably updated, this applies perfectly to the movement against globalization — the movement that made its big splash in Seattle back in 1999 and is doing its best to disrupt the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City this weekend.

The facts of globalization are not always pretty. If you buy a product made in a third-world country, it was produced by workers who are paid incredibly little by Western standards and probably work under awful conditions. Anyone who is not bothered by those facts, at least some of the time, has no heart.

But that doesn’t mean the demonstrators are right. On the contrary: anyone who thinks that the answer to world poverty is simple outrage against global trade has no head — or chooses not to use it. The anti-globalization movement already has a remarkable track record of hurting the very people and causes it claims to champion.

 And thats enough material for a high-school debate on sweatshops. Of course, you will then be below 30 and with much of the above material open to criticism of having no heart.



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