You could say the human rights slogan that came out of Seattle last year was “Just Do It”. The message from all those WTO protesters to the corporate sweatshop world was that it pays to take care of your workers – it pays to give them fair wages, reasonable working hours, a safe environment, and the right to unionize.
During this presidential campaign season, Ralph Nader is using populist rhetoric that reflects a kind of growing anti-corporate vogue, a fear of what increasingly unregulated global markets are doing to factory workers from China to Bolivia. Demonstrations and media blitzes against the Nike’s, Starbucks’, and Gap’s of the world seem to be catching the attention of shareholders and CEOs, but the real question is: can the companies taking their manufacturing overseas uphold labor standards and their own profits at the same time? Human Rights and Bottom Lines are this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Charlie Derber, Boston College Professor