Sweatshop Wages and Third-World Workers: Are the Wages Worth the Sweat

Prof. Ben Powell discusses the economics of sweatshops. He begins with a few photos and personal travel stories to demonstrate typical working conditions in third world countries. He then discusses the economic forces that determine working conditions and wages. Looking at empirical data, he finds that sweatshop workers earn higher wages than non-sweatshop workers in their respective third world country. He concludes with recommendations to activists who want to actually help sweatshop workers.

Credits: This lecture was delivered in 2009 at the Metropolitan State College of Denver School of Business, as part of the Exploring Economic Freedom Lecture Series, directed by Prof. Alexandre Padilla. This video was produced and directed by Scott Houck, and edited by Adrienne Christy. Video production provided by the Educational Technology Center at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Video used by Learn Liberty with permission.


  1. GreedyCapitalistPig

    My liberal friend’s response was to stick her fingers in her ears. Neither situation is acceptable to her. She doesn’t want people in to have no job or worse jobs than sweat shops, and she also doesn’t want them to work in sweat shops. She wants them to have good jobs (by her American standards). How do you explain to liberals that they are the spoiled 1%?

  2. Tamina Zaheri

    Fantastic work Mr. Powell! Great statistics and sobering facts!

  3. Matt Wavle

    I like this shorter version http://youtu.be/O2sW2wt3nLU

  4. supersonicsixteen

    You teach gratitude in church, and by example.  That’s just about the only way. 

  5. diypirate

    Saw this at the Independent Institute’s Campaign for Liberty Seminar in 2013. This is a great controversial topic for Colleges. Can be a little divisive or polarizing but an interesting intro. to sweatshops from a free market standard. 

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