So, you think you know all about the poor, explited workers in the China sweat shops? We receive a few reports in the popular media when something spectacular occurrs. But do we really know the situation?

Reporter Leslie T. Chang went to China and lived among the young people working in factories in one of that countries industrial cities. She summarized her story and conclusions in a TED Talk that is worth a few minutes of your time to listen to.

Turns out that the conditions are far from that of the West Virginia coal miners of the early 20th Century. They are not locked into a company town where they have to buy from the company store that pushed them into a perpetual cycle of debt and enslavement. These workers have a better life than they had at home “back on the farm.” They are also dreaming of a better life still. Some are getting additional education, saving money.

It’s always worth treating all parties in a situation as human beings and understanding their stories. The general media gives us only the spectacular (“if it bleeds, it leads”) stories.

I think it’s just worth considering to not just jump to conclusions before you have sufficient information. Works in doing manufacturing, too.

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