Why Voluntary Exchange Trumps “Sweatshop” Criticism

 If sweatshops make poor countries better off, then we should allow them because even when benefits are radically disparate, any mutually beneficial exchange, voluntarily arrived at, is by definition non-exploitative and leads to a trend of increasing standards of living.

The power of voluntary exchange is that it naturally leads to two reinforcing effects.

First, it is most likely to capture maximum knowledge of the rational best interest of those parties involved in the exchange.  Even if someone outside the exchange feels they have pertinent knowledge unavailable to one of the participants, the trade off would not be to get in between the two parties and take from one or both the final decision, it would be to provide the information to the party lacking it.  In this way you are guaranteeing that those most likely to have the most knowledge (those with direct loss or gain at stake) are those also making the final trade decisions.

In the case of a sweatshop that is the employer and employee.

Continue reading

Some Thanksgiving Thoughts…

Today I am thankful for living in the future.

I’m virtually blind. Without my contact lenses I can’t see, can’t drive my car, can’t play sports with my daughter, can’t appreciate our mountains or any of the other wonders that vision grants us.

We take these little pieces of glass and plastic for granted but they are as much a miracle for me as in any biblical story where the blind were made to see and I am thankful whenever I remember that this gift of sight was not always so easily gained.

200 years ago “lenses” (barely qualifying compared to today’s) cost people twice what they do today, and at the lower incomes of the time that would be as much as 1/20 of their annual wages (more than most of us pay today for two months of rent).

But today I can purchases glasses, can purchase my eyesight, for little more than an average American’s wage for 2 day’s work… perfectly fitted, shatterproof, scratch resistant, UV filtering, auto tinting, etc. All because of the advances and economic progress of US over that time. Progress which has put this life changing marvel within my and every American’s reach.

Continue reading