Ethical Dilemma – Global Child Labor
The pressure to produce goods inexpensively has driven companies to seek low-cost areas for producing those goods. In the quest to compete with low-cost discounters such as Wal-Mart, companies have been increasingly driven to overseas markets to produce their goods. Within the textile arena, especially, this phenomenon is occurring with regularity. One look at the label of the clothing in one's closet reveals clothing that was produced in Bangalore, Honduras, China, Bombay, and other far-flung regions throughout the world. As the world becomes smaller and the global marketplace increases, companies have been establishing plants in nations in which the labor costs are cheap. While many deride this practice as a loss of jobs in the home market of the company, others argue that consumers are demanding less expensive goods. This demand for less expensive, same-quality goods, is resulting in new plants in third-world nations, or outsourcing to companies who can provide less expensive goods because of inexpensive labor costs.
Ethically, the challenge for companies is to hold its employees, subcontractors and contractors in other nations to the standards the company has established in its home nation. Most companies have established a Code of Ethics, and companies seeking to establish plants abroad struggle to maintain their standards and uphold their ethical principles. In the textile industry, for example, this struggle has been visible for many years. Companies such as Russell Corporation, Gap, Wal-Mart, and others have plants around the world – in Honduras, India, China, and other less-developed or less wealthy nations. When companies establish these plants, they are best served when they establish a method of educating the workforce about their ethical principles, and enforcing those principles. The failure to have a method of checks and balances in other nations can be catastrophic to companies. Public... [continues]
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