July 25, 2009

In Defense of Sweatshops

Back in 2001, I made a satirical site for Nike Sweatshops, arguing that poverty is a great thing for capitalism.

Poverty is a great thing for capitalism, but Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist—which I recently picked up from Dog Eared Books and finished this morning—offers an excellent explanation for why sweatshops and similar forms of foreign investment are ultimately a good thing for the world.

What impresses me most about The Undercover Economist is Harford’s underlying humanitarianism. This is someone who thinks that free markets are beautiful, yet who also believes that anyone who loses their job for reasons beyond their control deserves help and support. For anyone who’s grown weary of the demonization of the modern corporation—yet who nonetheless is skeptical of the benefits of a free-market economy—this book offers a refreshing perspective on the world and human behavior.

© Atul Varma 2020