Yaron Brook Gives an Epic Answer on Chinese "Sweatshops"

At England’s Exeter College, Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute powerfully and compellingly answers a student's question of: “Don’t Western countries hurt poor workers in developing countries by paying them too little?”

Source: Sword of Apollo YouTube channel.


You sit here in Europe, in your cushy middle-class chairs. I'm serious about this. And you wanna judge the African, or let's take the Chinese cause that's... you know an Apple, or an Indonesian so-called "sweatshop" or whatever, and you wanna tell me that two bucks a day is not a dramatic improvement in their life? It is. And there's no way for them to get to the point to be as rich is you are, unless they go through that phase. And if you deny them the ability to make two bucks a day, by insisting the companies pay four, and therefore they withdraw completely from the market, because you know what, I'm not paying 600 bucks for this. I'll pay 300. And if I stop buying this, who suffers? That Chinese kid, who's right now making whatever three bucks a day or whatever. Right? And his alternative is to go back to the farm, and you know what they did on the farms? 40 years ago and the Chinese were all producing agriculture they were dying of starvation. 40 to 60 million Chinese died of starvation under Mao. Suddenly you've given them opportunity to actually attain middle-classhood, to learn a skill, to have a profession, to make money, to make themselves into something.

And by the way, the Chinese never complain about how much they're being paid. You guys complain. We complain in the West. Because yes, to our middle-class comfy lives that seems ridiculous. But that's cause you've never lived in REAL poverty. Nobody in England has lived in REAL poverty, the way the Chinese and the Africans and the Indonesians live. When you go to a place...and it's interesting, because... Take Korea... Korea's an interesting case study, right. You've got North Korea and South Korea. 50, 60, 70 years ago, South Korea was as poor as North Korea. They were both dirt poor. And then South Korea instituted some economic freedom, and it made it possible for people to go and work for a buck a day, for two bucks a day, and they developed skills, and they increased their productivity, and they started building more stuff, and capital came in, and increased their productivity even more. And you go to Seoul today, and they're as rich as you are. But in 70 years they did it, or 60 years, they did what you've done in hundreds of years. How did they do it? Because of the ability to slowly ratchet up. Now if you demand that they skip and get to your standard of living like that, then they will stay poor forever, and that's what you're condemning them to. You're condemning them to eternal poverty. A kid who's getting a buck or two a day, whose alternative is to die in the fields, you're doing him a favor by giving him the two bucks a day. And he's producing something, and he's learning a skill at the same time, and one day he'll run the factory. But if you demand that he gets paid four, he'll never have the job, he'll never have the factory, and he'll stay poor for the rest of his life.

And all you have to do to see this in real action, is go to Asia, and see how they live under poverty, and see how these countries are growing rich. And do you know that over the last 30 years, now this is not my statistic, this is the UN, you can look it up online: Over the last 30 years, a billion - that's with a "B" - billion people have come out of poverty, in Asia. Why? Because of capitalism. Not because of foreign aid; foreign aid doesn't help anybody, except the dictators who put it in their Swiss bank accounts. What helps poor countries is freedom: You give them the rule of law, you give them property rights. If you're interested property rights and how it helps poor people, read 'Capital Ideas' by Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist, a brilliant economist. You give them property, you give them capital, you give them a job. That's how you create wealth. Not by giving them handouts. So a billion people have come out of poverty.

Now, I know some people have said all you guys care about is the rich, somebody said what you care about is the rich deserve it. You know what, I don't care about the rich. They don't need taking care of, right, they're doing great. I care about the poor. I care about the poor, and the only system in human history, the ONLY system in human history, to help the poor, to help ambitious poor people rise out of poverty and become rich, has been capitalism. Free markets are the only, ONLY cure for poverty; the only way in which you become rich, so you don't have to have poor people ... is through capitalism. That's how this country became rich, that's how America became rich, that's how Hong Kong became rich, that's how South Korea became rich. There's no other way to do it. When we tried socialism we get poverty. We get a return, a deterioration, we get a destruction of wealth, not a creation of wealth. So you care about the poor and the middle class? I also care about the rich, because I think that they are villainized, which is unbelievably unjust. But I care about young people, who I want to maximize their opportunities. And I know that the only way to maximize people's opportunities is to give economic freedom to the world. And that should be the goal, and that means not sitting here and judging how much a laborer makes in Indonesia. Now if they're chained, if they're whipped, slavery is evil. Any kind of slavery is evil. But what's happening in the freer countries, that's not slavery, that's choices that people are making to make their lives better. You don't like it, but it's their lives not yours.

Yaron Brook Show: Radical Capitalist & Living Objectivism






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