Wie kann man Arbeiter:innen in ärmeren Ländern am besten helfen?

Der Politikwissenschafter und Ökonom Chris Blattman (Universität Chicago) hat sich intensiv damit befasst, ob und wie Sweatshops die Lebensqualität von Arbeiter:innen in ärmeren Ländern verbessern.

Auf Twitter zitierte jemand seine Arbeit und meinte, wer ein T-Shirt um 5 oder 10 Dollar kaufe, der könne nicht erwarten, dass die Löhne der Arbeiter:innen zum Leben reichen. Die Antwort von Blattman ist ausführlich und hoch interessant, weshalb ich sie hier festhalte.

What drives the worker’s wages in these African factories is, in large part, the wage they can get from their best outside option—that is, the broader set of underlying economic opportunities in the country. Few businesses will pay more than they need to. The best way to raise factory wages is through a combination of policies that promote broader economic growth, lower the cost of living, and provide humanitarian/social assistance to the very poorest. The Ethiopian government was doing a pretty good job of this before they make the worst mistake—launching a civil war. If we want to see factory wages rising then we want to see investments (domestic and foreign aid supported) in cheaper transport and electricity, more efficient agriculture, schooling, and probably mass cash transfer programs to poorest (like Givedirectly).And one would want this to happen everywhere, especially the lowest wage countries with massive impoverished labor supplies (Bangladesh, parts of China, etc). We won’t see African manufacturing boom until real wages rise further throughout Asia. But what is certainly true in many forms (and many Ethiopian forms) is that they would probably be more profitable if they raised worker wages and reduced high employee turnover. We call this an “efficiency wage”. Lack of management expertise and experience is probably the real problem here. Consumers being willing to pay $5 more for pants will be unlikely to affect worker wages in 99% of the industry. Unless certain brands decide to market themselves as paying efficiency wages in a fair trade sense. But while laudable I cannot see this having a meaningful effect on the industry. For the average concerned citizen, I’d suggest the easiest more effective way to make a difference is to give to GiveDirectly. And to support any politician who advocates for preferential trade access for the poorest countries, and for investments in their transport and power infrastructure. Also, frankly, I’d export human resource management training. Helping developing country forms learn how to reduce turnover and run more efficient factory floors (including paying efficiency wages) would actually (I think) be a huge boon to the country. “Consultants Without Borders!”