Can We Put an End to Sweatshops?

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Beacon Press, 2001 - Law - 98 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

REALIZING LABOR STANDARDS
3
A BETTER MOUSETRAP?
43
SOME UP SOME DOWN
49
WISHFUL THINKING
54
THE VIEW FROM THE TROPICS
59
UNIONS AND THE STATE
65
EDUCATING WORKERS
70
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
72
MONETIZE LABOR PRACTICES
80
REPLY
87
NOTES
94
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
97
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Dara O'Rourke is Associate Professor of Environmental and Labor Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and cofounder and Chairman of GoodGuide, Inc., a database for safe, healthy, green, and ethical products based on scientific ratings. He is author of " Community-Driven Regulation: Balancing Development and the Environment in Vietnam "(MIT Press) and coauthor of "Can We Put an End to Sweatshops?

Sabel is professor of law at Columbia University.

Joshua Cohen is the author of Book of Numbers which has been shortlisted for the 2015 Bad S-x in Fiction Award.

Joel Rogers is Professor of Law and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Director of COWS. His many books include On Democracy, Right Turn, The Forgotten Majority, and What Workers Want. A longtime activist, Rogers was identified by Newsweek as one of the 100 Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century.