Mai Moua Vang
Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman and Ito. “Santa’s Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it’s Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift – and Under What Conditions.” Print.
This week's reading, “Santa’s Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it’s Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift – and Under What Conditions”, Holstein highlights the labor exploitation behind the stuff we buy. One of the companies the article focuses on is Disney. When I think of Disney, thoughts of happy children, Mickey Mouse, and Disney World come to mind--a very romantic, fantasy-like imagery that Disney loves to sell to consumers. However, when it comes to their workers, Disney pays little attention to them until the press shines light on how they treat their workers. From what I've written so far, I've painted a black-and-white image of Disney--that the company is bad--it is more complicated than that. Although these workers work under terrible conditions, they need the job to get by. We can't boycott the companies to leave the country, the workers would only loose their job and potentially their life because they can't make a living. More and more, consumers are learning about what is having overseas and taking control of their spendings. Holstein cited the U.S. News Poll, that 70% are willing to pay extra dollars to support workers from overseas. The author also provides recommendations to make us more conscious spenders. Here are some that I found very helpful from the article: you can ask the manager what they know about their product and request copies of their sourcing policies; check out the U.S. Department of Labor's website for their list of retailers and manufacturers; and buy from companies who are selling humane products.
Samet, Andrew J. "Soccer Balls." United States Department of Labor. United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.
So I decided to follow the U.S. Department of Labor link that Holstein recommended in his article. It was a bit hard to navigate through it but I stumbled upon a link about child labor and soccer ball industry. Many Pakistani and Chinese children are making American brand soccer balls. In Pakistan, they have 7000 Pakistani children between the age of 5-14 stitching soccer balls part and full time. Many companies, such as Reebok, Walmart, Badin Sports, Nike, and other companies steered away from child labor by endorsing the Partner's Agreement, an agreement to eliminate child labor in the soccer industry. I think that it's great that companies are acknowledging their mistakes and taking responsibilities. At the same time, these companies still have a long way to go as the Partner's Agreement is intended towards one small niche of workers. Looking at Nike, the company still has a reputation of forcing workers to slave away under harsh conditions (Holstein). Again, this is a complex system and in time, things will get better for consumers and workers if we actively educate ourselves and change our habits.
Update on the compact challenge:
I hate that there are so many good sales going on at the moment, such as Macys' Veterans One-Day sale. My sisters told me that sale is better than their Black Friday sale. Grrr! I'm so angry that I missed it! I saw the things and receipts from my sisters' trip to Macys, and the savings were incredible! More of a reason to be angry! They saved almost 70% from the regular price! Sigh, I wished I was there to take advantage of the sale--but that's ok, I can closet shop knowing that my sister's newest inventory has arrived! Not bad, not bad at all.