Collective Action Paves the Way for Education
One of the biggest reasons that so many companies, governments and individuals use child labor and other negative practices is because they know that they can get away with it. They realize that the majority of their customer base will not worry about what they cannot see.
If companies had to disclose their actions, they would be less likely to commit such egregious labor violations.
However, what these companies do is both geographically and socially far away from what their target customer base experiences. It is hard for many people to believe that Gap would send small children to sew your khakis for only a few cents a day. Most people either do not want to believe it or have no idea that companies still do these things.
Collective action paves the way for greater education not only about a certain company’s practices but about the conditions and laws that allow them do this.
A Boycott Can Lead to Action that Truly Helps Poor Children
In the real world, the results of a boycott rarely lead to happy lives for the children working in factories. Either the company does not respond to the boycott or they are forced to rescind their current policies and remove all of the child workers from their factories.
Essentially, either nothing changes for these children or things get worse. A boycott is only a small part of the solution for ending child labor in the production of Western products. If those who boycott companies really want to help the children working in factories abroad, they must demand more than just an end to using child labor.
Those who are interested in boycotting companies who use child labor could demand more child friendly policies from the companies. They may demand that the children are paid a living wage for the company. They could also demand that the conditions are fair and conducive to a healthy lifestyle. They might even demand a certain level of education to be provided for the workers.
Child labor is not going away. The fact that Western ideals disagree with the practice will not stop it from happening. As long as poverty and hunger is rife in so much of the world, there will be a huge supply of child workers.
However, boycotts can encourage companies to help battle poverty and child labor instead of enabling it. With thoughtful collective action, a boycott can help change the shape of global economics as we know it.