Sweatshops & Opportunity Cost

One of the most controversial topics in economics but also one where the economic way of thinking is most clearly revealed. Why might an economist think that sweatshops could have positive benefits?

When we think of sweatshops, we tend to picture individuals working in places with conditions we find hard to imagine and for pay we’d never even consider. Through this lesson plan and the connected activities, learners explore the concept of “opportunity cost,” the next best option that we all give up whenever we make a choice. Through the lesson, videos, readings, and activities, learners see how sweatshop conditions compare to the other options people in developing countries have and be invited to think about how having more “bad” options can be better than having less.

Arkansas Economic Standards In This Curriculum:

EDM.1.E.2 Justify various economic solutions to problems affecting an individual or society using marginal costs and marginal benefit analysis.

GE.7.E.2 Explain ways in which current trends in globalization affect economic growth, labor markets, rights of individuals, the environment, technological advancement, and resource and income distribution in different nations.

GE.7.E.3 Research the impact of international and national economic and political policies on global trade using a variety of sources from multiple perspectives.

Watch the Presentation:

ACRE Scholar and UCA professor Dr. Thomas Snyder presents the “Sweatshops and Opportunity Cost” lesson and activities to a group of Arkansas educators at a Teaching Free Enterprise in Arkansas workshop.

Download Lesson & Activity Guide here!