Slave Labor By Te U.S. Essay, Research Paper
Nike is an over-hyped shoe company whose commercials show Michael Jordan soaring five-hundred feet off the ground, jamming the ball through the rim, second making us believe we could fly if we had their shoes. Nike gets its money by pricing their so-called, top of the line athletic shoes for $125 and up. (Yamada, Masako.np.) Millions of kids in the U.S. buy these shoes because they are endorsed by some of the greatest athletes on earth, such as Griffey Jr., Johnson, and Hardaway. Nike uses our jealousy, envy, and our dreams to get the childrens’ money.
The shoes are inviting and comfortable to wear, but we must think about who makes these shoes. Nike goes out of the U.S. to find cheap labor to produce these shoes. Many of the places they go to are mainly poverty-stricken, third-world countries, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, or the Philippines. Most of us may think this is okay, until we read about how much their employees are being paid, and how they are abused sexually and physically. Nike’s factories in Vietnam are treating women like slaves by only paying them $1.60 a day; most of them are only making twenty cents an hour.(Yamada, Masako. np.) Congress should pass a law that any American company doing business in other countries, must pay its employees at least seventy-five percent of the American minimum wage. Sure, this would lessen Nike’s profits, but this would bring more prosperity to the families in these third-world countries. This would better the economy in these countries, as well as pay the employees a better wage. Many would start to wonder why a company, whose profits were $237 million, would pay a worker $1.60 a day.(Nike protest: Boycott Nike. np.) This is just plain greed. Nike can certainly afford to pay workers the money they deserve.
Most of us know this company produces a shoe that costs about $10 to make, but increases the price to $120, making an outrageous profit. Nike only cares about how much money they earn and how much they can save by using slave labor, paying each employee less than $2 a day. Sure, they say, they are sorry, but they seem to never take any actions to stop this from happening in the future, especially in third-world countries that do not have laws prohibiting corporal punishment of employees. A few years ago in Vietnam, fifty-six women did not wear the proper shoes to work and were forced to run laps around the factory until twelve of them fainted. Most would think that a company that has the most commercialized shoe in the world would be a bit more caring. If they can afford to pay people like Jordan or Woods million dollar contracts, they should be able to pay these people the proper wage. (Yamada, Masako .np.)
Nike says they launch campaigns to check on working conditions in their factories and try to correct the problems. What they are doing is not enough. They should have surprise inspections four to five times a month and interview every fourth or fifth employee to find out if they think working conditions are satisfactory. Another solution would be to have a resident supervisor from the states to supervise work in the Nike plants. It seems that human rights activists are suing the athletes because they believe that all of these athletes’ shoes are being made by children in sweatshops earning twenty cents an hour. (Wilson, Coral . np.) It is not the athletes’ fault, it is the company’s fault. I remember a few years ago when a group was trying to sue Michael Jordan, he is just the person Nike is marketing. Do not sue the athlete, sue the company. Nike is the company that produces the shoes and determines the price.
Then, after Nike treats these people poorly, they ship the products to the U.S. Many kids see Nike’s commercials on the television screen and think,”If I can only own a pair of his/her shoes then I’ll be just like them.” Nike makes these shoes look glamorous, as if they are the ideal shoe. Kids will just start saving up their money, and when the shoe is released, cut school and spend their hard earned money on shoes ranging from $95 to $160. Many of us are blind to Nike’s scheme to intice us to buy their shoes. With every new shoe that comes out every year, Nike inflates the price another five to ten dollars. Soon kids will be paying $250 for a pair of shoes that will be considered out-of-style in the next three months.
Worst of all, Nike experiments with different materials on shoes. One shoe may last longer than the other because they try to make the shoes as cheaply as possible. Stores should boycott Nike until they make shoes with the proper materials, so that the shoes won’t fall apart after the consumer purchases them. Nike knows most kids won’t even care as long as they have the shoe. (Raval, Tania RE: Nike Sweatshops cheap labor .np.)
It seems that television has greatly increased Nike’s sales. Kids see Michael Jordan dunk on someone in his new shoes. Some young, unknowing kid may think he can jump higher if he/she has these shoes. Of greatest concern are kids who cannot afford these shoes they may find a way to get them, even if it means killing someone to get those new Michael Jordan XII’s. Kids who do these things are throwing away their lives because they assaulted, killed, or have stolen a pair of the Nikes that they wanted so bad. Kids in elementary school buy these shoes because they think the shoes can make them cool. Many of them skip school just to go and get these shoes. If their parents knew that their children were skipping school just for some shoes, the parents would punish them. Many of these kids would give up their money, education, and life just to own a pair of Nike shoes.
Truly smart parents would not spend $140 on a pair of shoes for a child whose brain is not worth a dime. Parents should sign a petition against Nike to stop Nike from using the kids’ imaginations and dreams to make them want to buy Nike’s shoes. The retail value of Nike’s shoes is just too high. If some people would stop buying these expensive shoes, Nike would be forced to drop the price to one more affordable. Then this company, that has become so big, would have to submit to the consumer’s desires.
A solution that would work the most is an act of Congress to pass a law that all American companies in foreign countries should pay the workers at least seventy-five percent of the American minimum wage. Effects of this new legislature is a better economy for the foreign countries and also promote self esteem for its people. This should be done now matter what the cost it may be. It will stop the abuse of being under paid for all people in the world.