Wal-Mart’s Unethical Behavior
Current scandals on American corporations such as the unchecked expansion and corrupt practices of Enron, Xerox and WorldCom are gifts of capitalist system (Jones 2002). The picture of contemporary capitalism that emerges from the Economist is of a deregulated world economy dominated by multinational companies and continually reshaped by the pressures of international finance. Interestingly, none of the recent problems on American corporation is accidental. They are all ultimately products of a capitalist system that count on the exploitation of the working majority by a tiny money grubbing minority in order to maximize profits.
However, such exploitation in turn will generate massive inequalities between rich and poor, men and women, whites and blacks, rich countries and poor countries. Concerning the situation, we will discuss the child labor issue by a giant retailer, Wal-Mart, one of richest company in the U. S. the issue of child labor has found in third countries due to current financial situation that requires every member of a family to strive for their live. In addition, we will also discuss Wal-Mart’s ethical issues regarding promoting the usage child labor, and depriving employees of sufficient wages.
II. Exploitation of Child Workers Currently, countries in two continents -Africa and Asia- together account for over 90 percent of total child employment. Interestingly, while children do not receive fair compensation, they still become major contributors to family income in developing countries (Siddiqi & Patrinos). The situation gets complicated as multinational companies like Nike, Wal-Mart, GAP, and other apparel companies realize the low wage structure in poor countries and quickly move their plants.
In Indonesia, for example, Nike only pays as low as $96 a month. Based on the fact, Department of Labor (DOL) classifies a number of hazardous occupation orders for child workers in three age ranges: below the age of 14 years, between 14-16 years of age, and between 16 and 18 years of age (Broadwater 2005). II. Child Labor in the US and Abroad II. 1 Matter of Efficiency Within the past few decades, Wal-Mart has become the largest retailer in the world. The company records profits in the billions each year and has a sizeable percentage of the market.
However, some ethical issues face the company as it relates to the use of child labor and depriving employees of sufficient wages. Like many other corporations, Wal-Mart has resorted to the use of child labor as a means of cutting costs. The objective of using child labor is that the company can pay much less for abundant works and ultimately increase their profit margins. According to an article found in the journal Social Work, “Child labor is the norm in the sweatshops of the Global South.
According to an International Labor Organization report (1996), by the mid-1990s there were 250 million children between ages five and 14 working in factories and other arrangements related to the global economy around the world. The National Labor Committee, quoting factory owners in the FTZs of Central America, reported the “preferred” garment worker is a 16-year-old girl because “at that age, hand/eye coordination is at its peek, and young girls are less likely to know their rights and cause trouble” (Polack 281)