Monday 10 May 2004

Charity threatens 70,000 Scottish livelihoods

Oxfam is whining about the "rights" of homeworkers:
The charity claims that people doing manual work at home for high street retailers are being exploited like workers in Asia.

"They get away with it because homeworkers are not entitled to the same labour rights other workers have. Ensuring the minimum wage is paid is also key."

Ah yes. Those poor Asian workers, who are now able to eat a decent meal, clothe their children, buy cars and, increasingly, employ under-educated westerners. Stop "exploiting" them NOW. Send them back to the paddy fields. Why not reincarnate Chairman Mao while we're at it and let him murder another few million of his fellow countrymen.

The truth is that capitalism is rapidly liberating Asia. I read an article the other day about call centres in India. The wage sounded very low by British standards, but because of the lower cost of living it had the equivalent spending power of a £23,000 PA salary over here.

The hourly rates that Oxfam quotes for Scottish homeworkers don't sound all that wonderful, but how typical are they? More to the point, no one is forcing anyone to take these jobs. Implementing Oxfam's "workers' rights" may indeed benefit some of the homeworkers but would put many of them out of work altogether. Get these do-gooders out of the business world. The free market is what makes people better off - both in Asia and in Scotland.

No comments: