Super brands, Globalization, and Neoliberalism

To make the products for Nike and superbrands to put their logo on, the free-trade or EPZs, such as that in China described above, emerged (Klein, 2000). Life stops inside these zones: it is a place of pure work and a tax-free economy zone. While China has 18 million workers in 124 zones, in the world, there are over 1000 EPZs in 70 countries with 27 million workers: $200-250 billion worth of trade flow within these zones. The similarity of the workers lives within the EPZs are striking: long workdays (12-16 hours); young women workers working for sub/contractors from Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong; contractors filling orders for companies in US, UK, Japan or Germany; harsh management; abusive supervisors, below-subsistence wage; unstable contracts; low-skill monotonous work; and migrant workers.

Furthermore, industries like Nike have led to and are typical examples of the deskilling of production: “the migration of shoe assembly jobs from one Asian nation to the next is only possible if the work of making shoes is deskilled” (Goldman & Papson, 1998, p12).


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