Here in the United States, Americans live to work, but the same cannot be said for many other parts of the world. In less privileged countries, people must work to live. Citizens in these countries, such as china, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan often work in factory jobs as their source of income. In some of these factories, there have been disputes of whether or not the working conditions are healthy and/or legal. Activists believe the conditions are extremely poor and workers receive unfair salaries. However, corporations argue that these factories provide both economical benefits and employment to countries that desperately need it.
The sweatshop dilemma dates back to as early as 1817 when impoverished seamstresses filled the needs of an expanding garment industry. These women worked at home as they stitched pre-cut fabrics into clothing worn by Southern slaves, Western miners, and New England gentlemen. From 1880-1940, the fierce competition among contractors for work and immigrants" desperate need for employment kept wages down and hours up. Between the 1870's and 1900, the men's and women's garment industries rapidly grew into mature and important sectors of the economy. The demand by consumers for cheaper clothes rose dramatically. In the United States alone, the work force grew from about 120,000 to 206,000. In the early 20th century, most industries relied on a mix of modern factories, contract shops, home workers, and sweatshops. From 1940-1997, public, government, and media concern regarding factory conditions began to become more abundant. Unions, businesses, reformers, government agencies, and consumers began to fight for improvement of factory conditions (Smithsonian).