to disturb everyones peaceful rosey cloud. This is making the rounds, today on
German TV and in the press:
The Associated press has obtained material from Nike and conducted interviews with workers which lead to the
assumption that sneakers are still produced under slavery conditions in Asia.
But what really makes me angry is, that there is no general improvements to be seen against reports that are
10 ! years old now. Makes one think, if the social agenda (that Nike implemented in the meantime) isn’t only a
large white washing marketing attempt.
I feel deeply ashamed, that I once as a teen bought a pair of original Chucks for the princely sum of 75 DM.
Around 25 Dollars in 1980ies money.
IME Indonesia was not a good place to do business. Pou Chen is a big, well known manufacturing group and I know them well. But am I surprised? Not at all, this is the ugly side of capitalism. We don’t pay the true cost of the goods that we buy.
As an employee, a company I worked for pulled out of manufacturing in that country because we had difficulty persuading the factories to do things our way. This was over 15 years ago.
It was also a dangerous country to visit as an employee, there was a risk of kidnap, so I don’t think my employer was happy sending any of us out there either. There were riots and forced overtime and the army would be called in to force some order. Unbelievable. Perhaps it hasn’t changed much out there since I went.
Ethics is a very complex issue. The responsibility lies with the companies that use these factories as the Governments in these countries don’t care. Really, it should be the governments responsibility.
Take China, for instance, there are factories working for foreign companies where standards are really high, then in the same town there will be a factory making something for the domestic market that is anything but. Everytime I’ve been to China I’ve read horror stories in the local paper - I won’t forget the furniture factory that stuffed its couches with used surgical wadding from the local hospital. There are riots all the time in Chinese factories, but you never hear about them as the press is state controlled.
As a brand manufacturing you can only try so much, once you are not there how do you know what is really going on? It’s also more than contradictory to tell them to set a minimum wage, ban overtime then constantly ask for lower prices.
The retail prices of many of the classic sneakers has been the same since I’ve been in the shoe trade (over 20 years), that margin has got to take a hit from somewhere.