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1.3.5 Corporate connections

As I mentioned in Section 2, what was happening in the factories of overseas contractors was said to have appeared remote to most, if not all, the chief executive officers of the clothing multinationals in the 1980s. Overseas contractors were selected on the basis of market price, quality and reliability, not on whether forced or child labour happened to be employed to stitch the product together. However, all that changed in the early 1990s when the geographical ties between the big retailer
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1.3.3 Bringing remote sweatshops within reach continued

There are, to my knowledge, at least two ways in which this challenge has been mounted. The first, which I have already touched upon, gathered momentum in the 1990s when, to great effect, different elements within the growing antisweatshop movement sidestepped the tangled arrangements of the market by targeting the most visible icons of global trade, the big retail ‘brands’: Adidas, Nike, Gap, Umbro, Puma, Reebok, Fila, French Connection, Mattel, Disney, and so on. The antiswe
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1.2.10 Summary

  • The shift of the world's manufacturing base from developed to developing economies in the 1970s heralded the beginning of a new global division of labour and the rise of global factories to produce for Western markets. The search for ever-cheaper labour sources undertaken by multinational firms established a new geography of low-cost manufacturing operations which, to this day, remains controversial.

  • The rise of subcontracting as the most flex
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1.2.9 In praise of cheap offshore labour? continued

Significantly, no one from the pro-market lobby is actually denying that sweatshops exist, or trying to cover up the fact that workers in such places have to endure bad working conditions. But, as the subtitle of Krugman's (1997) article suggests: ‘bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all’. Low as the wages are in the offshore T-shirt or microwave factories compared with those in more developed economies, they tend to be higher than those of other workers around them. The
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1.2.5 Offshore fragments of industry: a pro-market standpoint

From a pro-market standpoint, global market forces and the competitive pressures that they generate leave businesses with no choice but to take advantage of lower labour costs elsewhere. In the textile business or the toy business, lower wage costs are the key to profitability; if your competitors find a cheaper labour source, you either follow their example or go out of business. It is not, so the argument runs, because managers lack integrity or compassion that there are now more manufactur
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1.2.3 Activity 2

Before you read on, I would like you to dwell for just a moment on the significance of this shift from direct investment by Western firms to the establishment of subcontracting ties with overseas partners. Aside from outside firms being able to pass on to the subcontractor t
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1.1.2 Activity 1

1.1.1 Introduction

Many of the smaller branded goods on sale to consumers in Europe and North America – the latest in clothing and footwear or the smart toys and electronic gadgets on offer – are made in factory ‘sweatshops’. Found in the backstreets of modern, Western cities, but more often than not a feature of the poorer parts of the world, factory sweatshops are an integral part of today's global economy. Increasingly, as you can see from Author(s): No creator set

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit you should be able to:

  • explain the main characteristics of ‘sweatshops’, and their presence in today's system of globalised production;

  • set out the arguments for and against overseas sweatshop exploitation;

  • consider how far the consumption of cheap branded goods makes consumers responsible for the conditions under which they are made;

  • show how consumers are distanced from overseas sweatshop exploita
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Introduction

Sweatshops and the exploitation of workers are often linked to the globalised production of ‘big brand’ labels. This unit examines how campaigners have successfully closed the distance between the brands and the sweatshops, while others argue that such production ‘kick starts’ economies into growth benefiting whole communities.

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course Author(s): No creator set

Acknowledgements

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The material acknowledged below is contained in: Ordering the International: History, Change and Transformation (eds William B
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Supporting Collaboration and Harnessing of OER Within the Policy Framework of KNUST

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Supporting Collaboration and Harnessing of OER Within the Policy Framework of KNUST: Report Prepared by OER Africa on Behalf of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). As part of a broader process of stimulating collabo
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Caesarean Section

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Caesarean Section
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SI 645 / SI 745 - Information Use in Communities

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SI 645

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Patients and Populations: Medical Genetics

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Patients Pop-Genetics
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • understand the different interpretations of internationally recognised notions of rights and justice;

  • give examples of implementing justice in an international sphere;

  • investigate questions in international studies;

  • analyse the different agencies of change in the international system.

Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material within this book.

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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand how the world is in the process of ‘being made’, right down to the earth beneath our feet;

  • consider how islands are shaped by a dynamic relationship between territories and flows;

  • show how human life is entangled with non-human forces and processes in the making of today's globalised world.

Introduction

The unit uses the example of climate change to highlight the dynamic and volatile character of the planet, and how globalisation links together, in often unequal ways, people and places across the world. The unit focuses on the potentially momentous impact of global environmental change on Pacific Islands like Tuvalu. It introduces students to geographical ways of thinking about the world.

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
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The material below appears in: Understanding Environmental Issues (2003) (eds) Steve Hinchliffe, Andrew Blowers and Joanna Freeland
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