• Séamus Ó Catháin


In popular discourse, the term “exploitation” is often used in a moral sense. We imagine workers in dangerous, unclean conditions with low wages working from morning to night. These instances happen in countries with a history of human rights violations where employment legislation has not guaranteed them the rights that we enjoy here in the more affluent western world. In the most horrific examples, we think of the sweatshops run by Nike and other multinationals in places like Indonesia. These places may even be unscrupulous enough to hire child labourers. Casting our minds back to the past, we may imagine Victorian workhouses or mills. The more socially aware may say that exploitation does indeed happen nearby and they will point to particular aberrations such as companies like Sports Direct paying less than the minimum wage, or migrants being victims of exploitative practices in the construction industry.