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I know at least in some situations it goes like this:

A group of people have been living off the land for centuries. At some point a government comes in and takes the land from them to sell to a factory owner so the government can profit. With no land to farm, working at that factory becomes their best option. But the workers get abused. Women get raped. Their pay is stolen. Still they don’t have a better option. They try to unionize. The government police come in and kill the union leaders. The people keep working there because they have no better option. That does not mean the situation isn’t horrible.

It’s not enough to say they chose this job freely. A lot of coercion goes on. How prevalent is this stuff? I’m not sure. But don’t assume most sweatshop workers just decided this was best with no coercion. People like you and me aren’t paying much attention and a lot of bad stuff happens when we’re not looking. It doesn’t help that corporations benefit greatly from reduced labor prices and so the media and advertisers don’t want to talk about these issues.

Here’s a great documentary on some of these issues: https://youtu.be/PxFwA-jw3X4






There's truth to that story, but it doesn't paint the whole picture.

Rural life is dull, you have a limited social circle and limited access to culture. And you have few opportunities. People today still crowd into overpriced cities with poor living conditions, because they dream of 'making it', and they can't bear the thought of toiling away at agriculture (or at a lesser job).

In China, an entire generation has been uplifted out of poverty by voluntarily relocating off of farms and into manufacturing jobs, and it's been so successful that it's cited as a reason for the popularity of current authoritarian leadership.


I don't get the comparison with China. They still have an incredibly significant agricultural workforce (like 30% of workers are in agriculture) compared to 2% in the US. The US already moved people off farms to factories before WWII and we're in a different stage of economic development.

We're not talking about subsistence farming vs driving for Uber here.


In many countries like India and Indonesia, driving for Uber (or Gojek or Grab or Ola) is a viable alternative to subsistence farming.

That's a tragic story but I don't see how it's relevant to Uber. There's absolutely no coercion going on. People are free to join and leave as they wish. I still believe that having the ability to drive for Uber is always better than not having that opportunity.

I largely agree with that, but with a couple of possible exceptions where it is relevant. 1) Some people bought cars or quit other jobs because Uber offered a much larger pay and bonuses two years ago. 2) Uber also killed the taxi industry, which offered better working conditions to drivers.



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