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Competition in the production of export goods is depressing workers' wages in the countries of the South. Future trade deals must give labor rights their due.
Wall Street financial managers may eye China's economy with pleasure and awe, but the engine of its growth is exploited labor. Since Deng Xiaoping declared getting rich glorious two decades ago, China's embrace of capitalism has made sweatshop socialism a reality for millions of Chinese workers. Although some economists claim the workers' day will come with continued growth, double-digit rises in GDP have not translated into a better life. Exhausting hours, scant pay, draconian work rules, psychological harassment, and physical punishment are the seamy underside of China's economic miracle.