Are Ballinger’s criticisms of Nike’s international labor practices fair? The main Ballinger's concern was that Nike exploited the low-paid labor pools in emerging economies and not only deliberately ignored the working conditions at the manufacturing plants, but even encouraged their contractors to floute local governments’ labor laws and pay workers below-subsistence wages. We shall distinguish two cases: if Nike subcontractors broke the law and paid the local workers’ wages lower the official minim. And if Nike subcontractors, although complying with labor laws in terms of minimum compensation, just paid low wages. In both cases, such a large company as Nike, who is an obvious market leader, is responsible for what its subcontractors are doing within their business. And it is more the questions of your abilities to influence rather than legal obligation to perform the control over your business partners. It is obvious that Nike with its production volumes can easily influence its subcontractors and insist on some standards of performance and closer control from Nike side. Although in first case it is obvious that Ballinger’s criticisms are fair, in second case it is more complicated since there is no official obligations on a company to provide its employees with working conditions higher than those set up by a government of a country where the company operates. And here again the scale and position of the company is a main condition that matters. Nike had been doing great by the time of the labor scandal, generating almost 40% of the market sales, what probably resulted in great profits. Means that it definitely was able oblige contractors to pay higher wages (not necessarily extremely greater - 10-15% higher than the average/ official minimum would be enough), provide safe working conditions and take the consequences of increased production costs. And taking in account this we shall conclude that in both cases Ballinger’s criticism of Nike was fair. On...
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