Moral Dilemma – The Foreign Sweatshops



I think this issue presents a moral dilemma for all of us. Why? Because if we are honest with ourselves, we all use products on a daily basis which are mass-produced in foreign countries, in factories which are often described as being “sweatshops”. From many brands of clothes, to a plethora of plastic products, to a wide range of electronic equipment, and so much more, our lives are virtually surrounded by so-called “sweatshop” products, where living and working conditions are often said to be very poor, and where labor is extremely cheap.

One good example is Taiwan’s Foxconn, which has a huge factory in China which employs hundreds of thousands of people. People have been known to commit suicide in this place, due to the great amount of pressure that is on them to meet production deadlines. Of course, as deplorable as the sweatshop situation is, it serves to increase the profit margin of the powerful companies which set up shop in these foreign lands, which is why they go to those nations in the first place. From Apple, to Microsoft, to Amazon, to Hewlett Packard, to IBM, to Nike and so many more, they’ve all got their hands in the foreign pot. They are getting super rich at the expense of the poor.

So what are we regular folks supposed to do? Should we feel guilty every day because we use these products? Should we simply go naked? Should we stop using all plastic products? Should we trash all of our expensive electronic equipment? Let’s be honest. None of us are prepared to do any of those things in order to demonstrate our moral superiority, and to rid ourselves of the guilt. Let’s face it. We are all way too comfortable with our modern lifestyle to give up any of it, even if it means foreign laborers working under dismal conditions for a pittance of a wage.

Honestly speaking, I don’t think that there is a solution to this modern dilemma. At least not in this present world. Yes, we can make more of an effort to purchase more expensive domestic products; but even that won’t be enough to shut down all of the foreign sweatshops. The simple truth of the matter is that money is the god of this world; and large international corporations will do whatever is needed to earn more of it, including relying upon cheap labor in the foreign sweatshops. “To hell with morals” seems to be their code.

Of course, this problem with the rich oppressing the poor is nothing new. It has been going on for millennia. In fact, in the Gospels, Jesus said that we will always have the poor with us. Furthermore, King Solomon mentions the oppression of the poor by the rich in the Proverbs. There are a number of other Scriptures which expose this millennia-old problem as well. Consider the following verses:

“For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.”
Matthew 26:11, KJV

“For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.”
Mark 14:7, KJV

“For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.”
John 12:8, KJV

“‭The rich‭ ruleth‭‭ over the poor‭‭, and the borrower‭‭ ‭is‭ servant‭ to the lender‭‭‭.”
Proverbs 22:7, KJV

“Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.”
Job 6:27, KJV

“Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.”
Job 22:9, KJV

“Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days? Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof. They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge. They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together. Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children. They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked. They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold. They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter. They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor. They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry; Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst. Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them. They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof. The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief. The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face. In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light. For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death. He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards. Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned. The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree. He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow. He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life. Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways. They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?”
Job 24:1-25, KJV

“Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble. Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless. Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none. The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.”
Psalm 10:12-18, KJV

“LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.”
Psalm 94:3-7, KJV

“How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.”
Isaiah 1:21-23, KJV

“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?”
Isaiah 10:1-3, KJV

“For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?”
Jeremiah 5:26-29, KJV

“Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood. In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow . . . In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.”
Ezekiel 22:6-7, 12-13, KJV

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.”
Ezekiel 34:2-10, KJV

“And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Malachi 3:5, KJV

“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers . . . Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for YE DEVOUR WIDOWS’ HOUSES, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”
Matthew 23:1-4, 14, KJV

“And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: WHICH DEVOUR WIDOWS’ HOUSES, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.”
Mark 12:38-40, KJV

“And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”
Luke 11:46, KJV

“Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; WHICH DEVOUR WIDOWS’ HOUSES, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.”
Luke 20:46-21:4, KJV

“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:”
James 2:5-8, KJV

You may also be interested in reading the following articles which are found on the Bill’s Bible Basics website:

Article: “What About the Poor?”:

http://www.billkochman.com/Articles/What-About-the-Poor-1.html

Article: “Have You Sold Your Soul for a Pound of Flesh?”:

http://www.billkochman.com/Articles/soldsoul.html

Article: “Going Down the Highway of Life”:

http://www.billkochman.com/Articles/highway1.html

Article: “Abundant Life Doctrine: Scripturally Exposed!”:

http://www.billkochman.com/Articles/AbundantLifeDoctrineExpos1.html

Article: “Money-Making Bible Hucksters and Mammon”:

http://www.billkochman.com/Articles/huckstr1.html

About Bill Kochman

Bill Kochman is a Christian writer, poet, graphic artist, online evangelist and founder and webmaster of the Bill's Bible Basics website and blog, as well as the founder and administrator of the Christian Social Network. His interests include tropical fish, Macintosh computers, web design, writing poetry, God's natural creation and his cats, Obsidian, Mischief and their progeny, such as Polo and Eljio.
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