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Case Study 1
Nike: The Sweatshop Debate TFSU Zhu Mo
In recent five years, as a global sport empire, Nike’s success has been widely discussed and debated on the level of the world. However, Nike’s affluence has appealed dozens of doubt coming from media and non-profit institutions, which have conducted investigations on its value chain. As an astonishing result, its manufacturing factories in south-east Asia, as reports indicate, are sweatshops where workers slaved away in hazardous conditions for below-subsistence wages.
<1> Should Nike be held responsible for working conditions in foreign factories that it does not own, but where subcontractors make products for Nike?
As for the question one, I reckon, Nike is definitely responsible for working conditions in foreign factories, even Nike does not own. Globalization, the way I see it, has created all the advantages for the terminal “point” or “dot” in the value chain, in which, of this case, the Nike controls and occupies these vital resources. However, its advantage should not be an excuse for lowering the benefit that the manufacturing factories, which are in the end of value chain, deserve to obtain.
My second point is, although Nike does not own those foreign factories, there is a certain kind of interrelationship between them, which in this case, the contract. The profits of those factories are solid because of Nike’s proportion for them. If Nike’s proportion standard made for manufacturing process is low, then those workers in the sweatshop, i.e. whose working conditions, won’t change due to the unequal status between Nike and its subcontractor. We can do some math to see why those workers’ working conditions cannot improve. There are 25,000 labor forces working in a factory of Saigon, one of “Nike towns”, where women workers work 6 days a…...

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