Thursday, June 2, 2011

Notre Dame University's Quixotic Fight

San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that Notre Dame alone among schools on China goods ban:
Notre Dame's campus bookstore sells "Fighting Irish" lettermen jackets, "ND" license plate frames and stadium cups picturing the school's leprechaun mascot. Not for sale: anything made in China. 

Ten years after adopting the policy, Notre Dame remains the only major U.S. university that forbids license holders such as Adidas to put the school logo on any product from China, according to groups that track college merchandising.

Notre Dame prohibits the goods because China, the top source of U.S. imports, doesn't permit independent labor unions, according to a college policy document. The ban is attracting fresh attention from Washington lawmakers who say China has begun a renewed crackdown on dissidents.

"What Notre Dame is doing is very, very important," Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. and chairman of the Appropriations Committee panel that oversees trade, said in an interview. "China is a particularly bad place to do outsourcing, and the American people are totally opposed to it."

While laudable, Notre Dame's policy may not do much to change a country's practices, according to Susan Aaronson, a professor of international trade at George Washington University in Washington. By staking out its own approach, Notre Dame loses the impact of many universities putting collective pressure on suppliers, she said.

"You have to have enough demanders of good labor protections," Aaronson, who writes about China and labor rights, said in an interview. Notre Dame's ban, she said, "is not a mistake, but it is likely to have little impact on behavior in China."

Sadly, I had agree that Notre Dame's ban itself, might not do much alone.  However, it should be an example for people to follow.  Anyone who uses an iPhone or an iPad ought to know the miserable working conditions the assembling line workers in Foxconn in China.

US and Americans are proud of our idealism and it will be up to every single one of us to demand our profit seeking companies to ensure the humane working conditions in factories working for our benefits.

Eternity - Four Seasons / 永恆 - 四季 / Ewigkeit - vier Jahreszeiten
Eternity - Four Seasons © Matthew Felix Sun

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