The MIT scholar who broke the news about Nike's sweatshops argues, with two colleagues, that consumer choices can improve workers' lives globally Seventy-five percent of Americans say they would avoid retailers whom they knew sold goods produced in sweatshops. And almost 90 percent said they would pay at least an extra dollar on a twenty-dollar item if they could be sure it had not been produced by exploited workers.
Knowing that information about the conditions of workers around the world can influence what we buy, Dara O'Rourke, Archon Fung, and Charles Sabel argue that making that information widely available is the best way to improve conditions. Although watchdog agencies have tried to monitor working conditions and pressure corporations to adhere to international standards, the authors show how these organizations alone cannot do enough; only consumer action and the threat of falling profits will force corporate owners to care about the conditions of their workers.
Respondents include activists, scholars, and officials of the International Labor Organization and World Bank.
NEW DEMOCRACY FORUM: A series of short paperback originals exploring creative solutions to our most urgent national concerns. The series editors (for Boston Review), Joshua Cohen and Joel Rogers, aim to foster politically engaged, intellectually honest, and morally serious debate about fundamental issues-both on and off the agenda of conventional politics.