This course is an introduction to issues that arise when pressures of globalization collide with principles of equitable treatment and environmental and social sustainability. Globalization has resulted in growth in developing countries and lower prices in richer countries, but the environmental, human rights, and social costs to developing countries can be high: factories, mining, large-scale agricultural production, the desire to develop scarce resources—minerals for laptops and cell phones, or land to produce beef, palm oil, or paper —may easily take priority over equitable treatment and sustainability. For example, we can eat chocolate made from cacao, grown on deforested plantations in West Africa and perhaps harvested by child slaves (who have never tasted chocolate): justice and sustainability here have little importance. Topics include the roles of the UN, other global political governance organizations, NGOs, and populist movements; pressure on international corporations regarding human rights, sustainable practices, transparency, and ethical supply chains; physical, economic, and social damage from climate change; corruption; xenophobia, gender, ethnic, class, religious, and racial discrimination; labor exploitation, slavery, and human trafficking; land ownership and poverty; globalization-created conflict zones; global justice/human rights principles; and relevant national, customary, and international norms and law. We also will look at programs and policies that respect rights and promote sustainability. This course will rely on case studies from port countries.
Field ClassCountry: Việt Nam
Date: February 13, 2019
The class will begin the day by visiting with Adidas executives at their Vietnam headquarters. We will learn about the globalization and sustainability strategies associated with marketing and producing shoes sent all over the world by a large factory. We will have the opportunity to ask about workers’ employment, benefits, and upward mobility opportunities for men and women. Next, we will visit the Pou Yuen Vietnam Shoe Factory. Pou Yuen and its parent company is the largest shoe manufacturer in the world. Here we will gain a behind-the-scenes view of workers’ jobs, the international supply chain, manufacturing, and production processes required to make Adidas shoes. Learning Objectives
- Learn how a large global company creates and executes its marketing strategy, while also addressing the important need for sustainability, fair working conditions, wages, and supply chain protections for workers.
- Gain a deeper understanding of the behind-the-scenes processes (product design, materials sourcing, manufacturing) required to bring products to a global market.
- Learn more about local and national economic development goals, sustainability, and the other impacts of a large factory on the local region and on Vietnam generally.