Worth a Look: The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy
This book examines and evaluates various private initiatives to enforce fair labor standards within global supply chains. Using unique data (internal audit reports, and access to more than 120 supply chain factories and 700 interviews in 14 countries) from several major global brands, including NIKE, HP, and the International Labor Organization’s Factory Improvement Programme in Vietnam, this book examines both the promise and the limitations of different approaches to actually improve working conditions, wages, and working hours for the millions of workers employed in today’s global supply chains. Through a careful, empirically grounded analysis of these programs, this book illustrates the mix of private and public regulation needed to address these complex issues in a global economy.
A forum on corporate responsibility for factory workers
Boston Review, 21 May 2013
Phi Beta Iota: There is no such thing as reliable or authentic private voluntary compliance. Fair trade (a far cry from the “free trade” that is the rallying cry of predatory US capitalism) is only possible when three conditions are met: a) full transparency of true cost of goods at point of sale; b) integrity on the part of each participant in the supply chain; and governments committed to the public interest instead of special interests. This is an important book, and its conclusion (use Amazon’s “Inside the Book” feature) appears to point toward hybrid public governance that is fully informed.