Essay Nike: The Sweatshop Debate

Essay Nike: The Sweatshop Debate

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Should Nike be held responsible for working conditions in foreign factories that it does not own but where subcontractors make products for Nike?
In many ways, it seems obvious to me that Nike should be held responsible for working conditions in foreign companies where products for Nike are made. In my opinion a company is not only responsible for itsʼ own employees but also for the employees that produce for them even though theyʼre not in their own company. I think that every part of the supply chain is partially responsible for the entire supply chain. As Nike is the
most visible and wealthiest part of the supply chain, it carries the biggest responsibility. In this way, I oppose Friedmansʼ view that the only social responsibility a company has is to increase itsʼ profits.

The utalitarian approach dictates that a business decision (f.e. to subcontract to a foreign company) should only have more good consequences than bad ones to be executed. I disagree on this view. In my opinion the company should look at the big picture and make sure that every one benefits from the decision. This means I am agreeing with the difference principle which states that inequalites between employees can be justified
if at least the least-advantaged benefits.

Another approach I can relate to is the Kantian approach. People are not machines and should not be treated as such. This means Nike should treat every one who is involved with its products as a human being. Therefore the company should give everybody at least the wage they require to have a normal, good life. They should also give them working condititions work living in. It is however wrong to give them full responsibility. The subcontractor has a big deal of the responsibility as w...


... middle of paper ...


...his criticism is justified, a more independent group should examine it.
If sweatshops are a global problem, what might be a global solution to this problem?
In my opinion a global solution to this problem would exist in developing a universal code of conduct which
should be accepted by all businesses in all countries. In this code they should say that every company must
at least meet with minimum wages that give a good life and that working conditions should have a minimum
standard. Also for child labor they should work out agreements. A second part should be that this must be
reinforced severely. Any business that does not meet up with this, must do something about it or will face
consequences. This may sound hard to do and a little naive but If we want to make the world a better place
for every one on earth, this would be a first step along the way.

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