Monday, February 1, 2010

Cambodia, sweatshops, and the cost of a cheap T-shirt

Good article in the January issue of Harper's Magazine about the human costs of sweatshop apparel manufacture in Cambodia (link is to a blurb about the article; full article available through university library's e-journals). Posing as a representative of a U.S. apparel manufacturer, Ken Silverstein does a nice job of highlighting the problematic incentive structures facing the ILO (as a monitoring organization), the individual sweatshops, and of course apparel workers.

It is worth noting that this is not an issue that affects only poor countries such as Cambodia. The challenges are not so different from those facing migrant workers (and those who employ them) in the U.S. See, for example, the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers.