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the sweetshop problem

Red_Dave

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As you may have guessed from my frequents rantings i feel that the actions of western multinationals need to be brought under control due to the lack of workers rights and concern for the enviroment these companys demonstate. What action [if any] do you feel is needed. I think

>removing the v.a.t on ethically produced products

and/or

> Putting a tax on good produced unethically

reforming the w.t.o would be helpful to


and/or forceing multinationals to produce reports on the enviromental, econominc and social effects of there actions overseas. Would be a good place to start as it would place and economic insentive for multinationals to be ethical.
 
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128shot

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I think we should reform WTO, so governments have to meet x criteria in order to be in.



Consumers should take stand for what they think is ethical otherwise-taxing isn't going to do crap but hurt all of us. Its a consumer choice first. Vote with your dollars.
 

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128shot said:
I think we should reform WTO, so governments have to meet x criteria in order to be in.



Consumers should take stand for what they think is ethical otherwise-taxing isn't going to do crap but hurt all of us. Its a consumer choice first. Vote with your dollars.
agree on the w.t.o [now theres a first]. It needs to be made more democratic as well.

Problem with consumer choice is that often there is no way of working out where a product comes from when buying it. All you tend to get is the country it came from. I buy from online buissnesses that specialise in fairly traded products but when it comes to things like shoes you dont know whether they will fit so cant buy them online. cigarates are a bitch as well. This means that consumers are left with little choice bit to buy unethically. Therefore by implementing tax policys that help the ethical compaines you are giving them more choice. Tax is no bad thing in my view anyway as it means more money for public services. i imagine a tax on unethical companies wouldnt be to damageing to the economy because the growth in unethical companys would make up for it. That said if cutting taxes is beneficial than surely cutting the vat on ethical products would be a good thing
 
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oldreliable67

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I think we should reform WTO, so governments have to meet x criteria in order to be in.
There are already pages and pages of criteria, actions, etc, that a country must take or meet in order to join the WTO. What new ones would you propose?
 

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"ethically" produced goods...

Who gets to define "ethically"??
 

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and/or forceing multinationals to produce reports on the enviromental, econominc and social effects of there actions overseas.
There is a growing movement to do this, and it looks like it has a good chance to gain some momentum. A major impetus is coming from pension funds who make major investments in the equities of large corporations. These large funds, at the urging of their constituencies, are demanding accountability or 'green' statements from those companies in whom they invest millions of $s. This is shareholder responsibility insisting on corporate awareness and basic good citizenship. A good thing - as long as it doesn't go overboard and become extreme in the other direction!
 

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oldreliable67 said:
"ethically" produced goods...

Who gets to define "ethically"??
Well to implement such a tax or cut remove you would have to pass a bill through the legislature of whatever country your in defining a criteria a company must fufill to be defined as ethical . If the government passing it is democratic that would be fully legitimate in my view
 

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Okay, here's my solution. Never gonna happen, but none the less...

All companies must pay their workers living wages. That's it. Not the American minimum wage, just what is needed to support yourself and a family in your country. This would allow a couple things. First, children would be able to go to school instead of being sent to work to help support the family. I don't think I need to explain the benefits of that. Second, if both parents worked, the extra money (still probably not a lot in US terms) could be used to improve their living conditions, or to save up to send their kids to college. Living wages in addition to safe working conditions. Not too much to ask in my opinion.

If a country will not do these things, they are not allowed to trade in or with the US. As simple as that. The US accounts for such a large percentage of world trade, that every company would reform. In addition, I'd be willing to bet that Western Europe would climb on board with the demands.

A committee would be set up to determine both the living wage in the country and if the companies are following the rules. I realize this calls for additional bureaucracy, but I don't think it would be that bad, considering how much bureaucracy we already have.
 

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Actually Kelzie, if we got rid of the labor manipulation problems in places like China, things would change fast,


BTW that's the idea of new things on WTO law...
 

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128shot said:
Actually Kelzie, if we got rid of the labor manipulation problems in places like China, things would change fast,


BTW that's the idea of new things on WTO law...
Yeah I know. It's just easier to implement change in our country than it is in a non-government organization.
 

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Another point i missed out about consumer choice that i missed out about consumer choice is that if your in a suitiation where one company has ended up with a monopoly there is no consumer choice attal. A good example of this is microsoft, if i want to buy ethically produced computer drives im stuffed cause the only choice ive got is between microsoft and apple, both of which are likely to be made in unsatisfactory conditions.
 

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Oops...saw the thread title and thought it'd be a debate about candy.....:mrgreen:
 

128shot

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Red_Dave said:
Another point i missed out about consumer choice that i missed out about consumer choice is that if your in a suitiation where one company has ended up with a monopoly there is no consumer choice attal. A good example of this is microsoft, if i want to buy ethically produced computer drives im stuffed cause the only choice ive got is between microsoft and apple, both of which are likely to be made in unsatisfactory conditions.

MS's software is still made in America...



or you could always use linux...

and buy intel machines that are made in Britain
 

Red_Dave

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ngdawg said:
Oops...saw the thread title and thought it'd be a debate about candy.....:mrgreen:
dam my spelling:doh
 

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Red_Dave said:
agree on the w.t.o [now theres a first]. It needs to be made more democratic as well.

Problem with consumer choice is that often there is no way of working out where a product comes from when buying it. All you tend to get is the country it came from. I buy from online buissnesses that specialise in fairly traded products but when it comes to things like shoes you dont know whether they will fit so cant buy them online. cigarates are a bitch as well. This means that consumers are left with little choice bit to buy unethically. Therefore by implementing tax policys that help the ethical compaines you are giving them more choice. Tax is no bad thing in my view anyway as it means more money for public services. i imagine a tax on unethical companies wouldnt be to damageing to the economy because the growth in unethical companys would make up for it. That said if cutting taxes is beneficial than surely cutting the vat on ethical products would be a good thing

tariffs should be really low, like 1-2% max, and if countries behave well, like cambodia, have it nixed all together. If they Behave bad, like China, increased. Right now though, Cambodia is suffering, and (the americans) should suppot dropping the tariffs on SE Asian LDCs

Form or partake in consumer advocacy groups that make people aware of humn rights abuses by companies and countries.

The LONG TERM method of gaining very good workers rights and ethical practices, DEVELOPMENT.
 

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Red_Dave said:
Another point i missed out about consumer choice that i missed out about consumer choice is that if your in a suitiation where one company has ended up with a monopoly there is no consumer choice attal. A good example of this is microsoft, if i want to buy ethically produced computer drives im stuffed cause the only choice ive got is between microsoft and apple, both of which are likely to be made in unsatisfactory conditions.
You mean operating systems? naw there are way more than that, some doing well, others not. Microsoft only makes software, not much PC hardware. there are tons of PC hardware makers out there also. and significant amount Software and OS makers. Various Linux (some one which are free and publically supported, thus all labor voluntary), FreeBSD, BeOS (i think that's still around), IBM, to name a few.

The problem is, Microsoft and Apple are very popular, and other Software makers base their software around their systems. Which means, maybe you can't play games or use some programs. If you want to type and use the web, you needn't pay a penny for software.
 
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Kelzie said:
Okay, here's my solution. Never gonna happen, but none the less...

All companies must pay their workers living wages. That's it. Not the American minimum wage, just what is needed to support yourself and a family in your country. This would allow a couple things. First, children would be able to go to school instead of being sent to work to help support the family. I don't think I need to explain the benefits of that. Second, if both parents worked, the extra money (still probably not a lot in US terms) could be used to improve their living conditions, or to save up to send their kids to college. Living wages in addition to safe working conditions. Not too much to ask in my opinion.

If a country will not do these things, they are not allowed to trade in or with the US. As simple as that. The US accounts for such a large percentage of world trade, that every company would reform. In addition, I'd be willing to bet that Western Europe would climb on board with the demands.

A committee would be set up to determine both the living wage in the country and if the companies are following the rules. I realize this calls for additional bureaucracy, but I don't think it would be that bad, considering how much bureaucracy we already have.

Whenever the wages get higher for the majority of people, the prices get higher because the capitalists are like the Hungry Hungry Hippos and the more money they see thats in the atmosphere the more they are going to try to gobble up, and your rent will go up and your gas will go up, and the price of your everything will just go up.
 

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Employee_of_the_Month said:
Whenever the wages get higher for the majority of people, the prices get higher because the capitalists are like the Hungry Hungry Hippos and the more money they see thats in the atmosphere the more they are going to try to gobble up, and your rent will go up and your gas will go up, and the price of your everything will just go up.
I doubt wages in the industrialized countries will go up. It might not be pleasant, but you can live off the minimum wage here. I'm talking about making sure people every where can live off of what they earn at work.
 

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Red_Dave said:
Well to implement such a tax or cut remove you would have to pass a bill through the legislature of whatever country your in defining a criteria a company must fufill to be defined as ethical . If the government passing it is democratic that would be fully legitimate in my view
So easy to say. So impossible to do.
 

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Kelzie said:
I doubt wages in the industrialized countries will go up. It might not be pleasant, but you can live off the minimum wage here. I'm talking about making sure people every where can live off of what they earn at work.
One would have to repeal econ 101 for both wages and the general price level to not go up. You're suggesting adding a whole new layer of bureacracy in every country that produces goods for export. Plus a whole new level of cost in every company that manufactures goods. A very large upward shift in the cost curve.

Remember the experience with wage and price controls under Nixon? Not good. What you're proposing would be even worse, IMO.
 

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oldreliable67 said:
One would have to repeal econ 101 for both wages and the general price level to not go up. You're suggesting adding a whole new layer of bureacracy in every country that produces goods for export. Plus a whole new level of cost in every company that manufactures goods. A very large upward shift in the cost curve.

Remember the experience with wage and price controls under Nixon? Not good. What you're proposing would be even worse, IMO.
Hold on now. I never said prices wouldn't go up. Surely they would. I said that wages in industrialized countries wouldn't increase because people can already live off them.

And you're right, I am. I really don't think the additional bureaucracy is a problem. My mom works for the government. They've already got lots of bureaucracy. Couple thousand more isn't even a drop in the ocean. And the companies will definitely be paying more, although no more than they already should be paying.

I look at it this way. Labor laws evolved in this country because we finally decided people shouldn't have to live like that. We've simply exported the problem. Why should people in other countries watch their children starve to death and face injury every time they go to work when we wouldn't stand for it here? A person's a person. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, eh?
 

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128shot said:
Consumers should take stand for what they think is ethical otherwise-taxing isn't going to do crap but hurt all of us. Its a consumer choice first. Vote with your dollars.
On the right track - consumer choice first and foremost. Here is the track, from beginning (individual shareholder) to end (corporate governance)...

> Today, most consumers are employees (or have an employee in the immediate family).

> Most employees have either their own investments or a 401(k) through their employer and may also have an interest in a pension fund.

> Many, many of these investments, whether owned individually or as part of a 401(k) or pension fund, consist of equities in large corporations.

> Every year, equity shareholders get a chance to vote on matters of importance at those large corporations in whom they own an interest. Pension fund managements, 401(k) managers, and individual investors all have a voice in the management policies of the companies in whom they have invested.

> If you feel strongly about "ethically" produces goods or the environment or whatever issue is relevant to both you and the companie(s) in which you have invested, then get with the program and make your objections/wishes/whatever known to company management/your pension fund manager/your 401(k) manager.

Its basic shareholder activism. If you want to learn more about it and how to impact corporate management, just google "shareholder activism" and you'll find lots of good info.

Very important: do not think for a minute that nobody listens to shareholder activists. If you do google it and peruse the results, you'll see that it is a growing phenom and one that can be very effective - just take a look at Calpers for an example.
 

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kelzie said:
Why should people in other countries watch their children starve to death and face injury every time they go to work when we wouldn't stand for it here?
They shouldn't. But saying that they do is quite a large assumption and a huge generalization. In fact, in many of the so-called sweat shops, the folks working there are experiencing quite a nice increase in their standard of living - the fact is that for many of them, they've gone from nothing to something, even if that something ain't much by US standards. Are we to deny them that opportunty?

BTW, its after 1:00 a.m. here in DC. Why are you still up and about? Oops, wait, just remembered...Colorado, is it?
 

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oldreliable67 said:
They shouldn't. But saying that they do is quite a large assumption and a huge generalization. In fact, in many of the so-called sweat shops, the folks working there are experiencing quite a nice increase in their standard of living - the fact is that for many of them, they've gone from nothing to something, even if that something ain't much by US standards. Are we to deny them that opportunty?

BTW, its after 1:00 a.m. here in DC. Why are you still up and about? Oops, wait, just remembered...Colorado, is it?
Why yes it is. :mrgreen: It's only 11 here. I believe the question should be why are you still up and about?

Seriously, if the people working in sweatshops are already making enough to support themselves and their families like you suggest, then it should be no big deal to pass the law, right? However, after doing a report on sweatshops in Latin America, I can tell you the picture is not as rosy as you are painting it. Most of the families that work suffer from malnutrition, and the whole family works, something I do not think should have to happen. Kids should get a chance to go to school. Not have to work so they don't starve to death.

I'm not saying pay them the US minimum wage. I'm saying pay them a living wage. Why is that so horrible?
 

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kelzie said:
Why should people in other countries watch their children starve to death and face injury every time they go to work when we wouldn't stand for it here?
They shoudn't. Obviously. But there are right ways and wrong ways to go about redressing these conditions. First, as you can see from my previous posts, I'm a big advocate of using the power of ownership to push for corporate responsibility.

Second, any solutions should meet the test of econ 101. The preferable solutions are those that encourage corporations to recognize that it is in their best interests to act responsibly. Typically, adding layers of bureacracy do nothing much except add jobs for bureacrats. (Admittedly, not a bad thing if you - or someone in your family ;) is a bureacrat.) Again, reference all previous experience with wage and price controls, attempts to fix exchange rates, etc.

Bottom line: we seem to agree on the need for reform/socially responsible policies, but differ on how to go about achieving same.
 
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