Made in India


In figuring out what type of book I wanted to use for my second paper, I decided I needed a bit more background on my major focus: child labor. I plan to write about Gap, Inc and their extensive program against child labor. This idea is interesting to me considering children as young as four were discovered in their India factories. It seems to me that child labor then must be hard to detect and monitor, but I wanted to find out more. So I used our library catalogue to find a book about child labor, particularly in India. I also made sure the book was relatively recent, as I assume and hope that regulation has changed significantly in recent years. 

I found a book titled, Child Labor and the Urban Third World, which develops a third world perspective of child labor focused in Kolkata India. I liked this take on the issue of child labor because it explores how exactly it happens and why, rather than just acknowledging that is it wrong and should be regulated. This book takes a two-sided view of child labor from both the national and international perspective. The author, Subrata Sankar Bagchi also explores a study of the rapid urbanization in India that left many people in industrialized cities left out of expansion and growth, leading to the child labor we hear about in America.

One particular point I found interesting in skimming through the book was that child labor is largely a westernized idea. Many organizations and government regulations are put in place to prevent and eradicate child labor, but most have failed. This is because child labor in the western sense fails to recognize the primary issues that we just do not fully understand child labor. The only way we will be able to stop it is to have a new understanding and knowledge of the problem.

Using these ideas, I want to discuss Gap’s policies and acknowledgement of child labor, comparing their views with the general western views of child labor. I hope to find that perhaps after the discovery of child workers in their factories, they gained a better understanding of the issue and have changed their policies regarding regulation.



5 comments on “Made in India

  1. Was this the only book you found? Just curious… sounds like a treasure trove of ideas.

    My hunch is that ideas of “child” are fluid across societies. At the same time, even if a person who is 12, 13, 14 is working in a factory, are they earning a fair wage?

    The Gap is a publicly-traded company, right? Do you have the sense that their commitment to this is about “avoiding bad press”? Or is it deeper? Do you think it comes from more of a deontological perspective- are they committed to certain ideas of absolute rights?

  2. For example, i “turned off” only searching within Bertrand and found this:

    International., & United States. (2009). In-country research and data collection on forced labor and child labor in the production of goods: India. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking.

    It is a government document…but it looks like our catalog gives you electronic access.

    Here is one that is NOT in our library, but that you could request.

    Weiner, M., Burra, N., & Bajpai, A. (2006). Born unfree: child labour, education, and the state in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

  3. This was the only book I looked at today. They only other ones in the library are from before 2000 so I was weary to use them.

    Gap is publicly traded and I definitely think that public image and PR have a lot to do with their policies. From their human rights page, it seems that they are truly dedicated to human rights but it will take more research on my part to discover if it is truly a PR cover.

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