You can't get "informed consent" in a country without real personal freedom. These arguments are pathetic—they're structurally nearly identical to the ones made in the 19th century justifying slavery. The fact that workers take these jobs because they feel they have no economic, social, or political choice, and this is the only path, is not an endorsement of the current system—it's actually a condemnation.
The issue has never been wages. Any talk about wages has always been ignorant at best and intentionally misleading at worst. Pulling out some 15-year old Krugman piece only makes you sound like a horrendous asshole shouting, "Here, look at me! How can I be racist, here's my black friend! Some of my best friends are black!"
Serious talk about labor has always been about the lack of hope, not money. It's been about conditions that are unconscionable and governments that cannot or will not guarantee the basic rights any decent people would demand of the treatment of others.
Conditions and wages are not the same thing. Working conditions and the country you live in aren't the same things either. Not only are employees producing Apple products suffering from poorly enforced working standards, they have no reasonable expectation of changing the situation. In fact, they live in a country that doesn't respect their right to petition the government for better enforcement of existing laws or the enactment of new ones. Nor does said government respect their right to explain their grievances to journalists or directly to the public at large without fear of reprisal.
Factory work can lift people out of wretched situations. No one, NO ONE, who is on the side of equitable labor standards disagrees with that. NO ONE.
That's why this is so disingenuous for Mr. Pogue to print it this way. It's one thing for the writer of the letter, who probably isn't following this situation closely, to be worried that what people are agitating for is the shutting down of factories.
But the fact is that no one has ever been talking about that in this entire debate. In fact, the only time it comes up is as a fear-based talking point, built around the delusion that the very people who want humane working conditions are actually trying to take away jobs.